History in the making as Church of Ireland Gazette archive goes online

A project to make all of the issues of the Church of Ireland Gazette dating back to 1913 available for free online is nearing completion.

Saturday, 5th September 2020, 8:00 am
Canon Ian M Ellis, who is a former editor of The Church of Ireland Gazette.

The Representative Church Body Library’s long-term project to digitize the church’s all-island newspaper will be fulfilled early next year.

The final additions to the existing online search engine will be the decades from 1950 to 2009.

The digital archive was originally started in 2013 with the upload of the 1913 editions when Canon Ian Ellis was editor.

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He said: “It was an exciting development which has relied on generous state, church and private funding, allowing people to research the paper remotely.

“I would pay tribute to the Church of Ireland Representative Church Body’s librarian and archivist, Dr Susan Hood, for her enthusiasm and dedication to the project.

“Established in 1856, the Gazette is a major resource for anyone studying both church and national history.

“There has always been a significant interplay between church and state affairs.

“So many people have contributed to the paper’s columns over the years, making the Gazette a unique insight into views on current events down through the years.

“During my time as editor, we did a survey of readers’ views as to their favourite parts of the paper and the winner by a long shot was the letters page.

“I was always especially thrilled when letters required more than one page – and only recently I was looking at a past issue from my time with three pages of letters.”

Dr Hood said: “We are indebted to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Simon Coveney TD, and the Reconciliation Fund, for such generous support especially at this difficult time when small institutions like ours must restrict physical access to keep the public safe.”

She commended service provider Informa who have delivered an “incredibly fast and accurate search engine which is highly-valued by researchers and contributors.”