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Reconstructing Irish science : the library of the Royal College of Science (1867-1926)
2010, McCorristine, Shane, Layden, Dervila
This paper reports on research into the history and library of the Royal College of Science for Ireland which was conducted as part of the UCD Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive (IVRLA) series of demonstrator research projects. The Royal College of Science for Ireland (RCScI) was established in 1867, a time when science was developing rapidly in Ireland and elsewhere, and remained in existence until 1926 when it was amalgamated with UCD; during this time it counted among its deans and professors some of the most illustrious names of the day (Sir Robert Kane, William Fletcher Barrett, Robert Galloway, and Walter Noel Hartley). This research project considers the history of the RCScI, concentrating how an examination of the book and journal collections that constituted the RCScI library can contribute to an understanding of scientific and technological education in Ireland. The key objective of this project was to examine and research the extant RCScI collection remaining in storage as well as making preliminary observations about the extent of RCScI material which had been transferred to the UCD library; this has been done by presenting select lists of RCScI books and journals. The project’s online collection includes sample material from the eleven subjects taught in the RCScI and the full text of the 1872 RCScI library catalogue; along with the lists of books and journals and figures of RCScI enrolment also provided, this represents a significant resource. This resource was supplemented by a public exhibition on the project as well as two externally published outputs. The paper reports on the stages of the project and the issues encountered, while also providing further historical information in its appendices and suggesting directions for further research.