Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2009-12 > 1260350826
From: "Edward Andrews" <>
Subject: Re: [S-I] 1641 Depositions
Date: Wed, 9 Dec 2009 09:27:06 -0000
I tried to send this a few days ago and it hasn't arrived so here it is
According to the October 09 edition of "Trinity Today", the Alumni magazine,
which I believe can be got on the College Website, "In Trinity, we are
embarked on a very special ground-breaking project to unleash the power of
the 18th century Long Room Library with all its hidden treasures, by the use
of technology and digitisation. The Book of Kells is but the tip of the
iceberg. Our plan is to define Trinity and its partner universities, and
Ireland, as an international hub of scholarship in advancing the
understanding of the human condition, drawing on these unique capabilities.
One specific project is extremely interesting. In 1641, the outbreak of a
rebellion by the Catholic Irish is alleged to have begun with a general
massacre of Protestant settlers. This allegation has been the cause of much
bitter historical controversy ever since. The 1641 Depositions are the
witness testimonies of the Protestant settlers (men and women of all
classes) gathered by Government appointed commissioners after the Rising.
All 19,000 pages have been in the Trinity Library since 1741. Our goal, with
funding from the IRCHSS, is to digitise these unique testimonies and make
them available to scholars all over the world for analysis. IBM is intensely
involved with the project.
You might ask why IBM would be interested in such an event in the distant
past? The reason is that the documents are difficult - being handwritten,
with little grammatical structure, and in which the same word is often spelt
differently on the same page. The most advanced digitising technology is not
able to interpret such complex information - only the human brain can. IBM
would like to understand the mental process involved and simulate it with
entirely new innovative technology. Here is a situation that you might not
predict - the Humanities and human curiosity having the ability to transform
technology. My point is that breakthroughs can come from the most unlikely
quarters. The Humanities meeting the technologies can spark the most
extraordinary developments and the University is an ideal meeting place for
Even if you get some of the 19,000 pages, you will have considerable
difficulties with some as the script is difficult.
PS I just want to add on the basis of Dr Montgomery's letter that I attended
a lecture by Aidan Clarke in the late 1960s in which he touched on the
Depositions. ISTR that they were apparently fiendishly difficult to find
your way round. I once saw (but didn't handle) a volume. I wish anyone
working with them luck
We can hope that the IBM contribution quite literally sheds light on them.
Can we have a reference to the Clarke article please?