Professor Geraldine Sheridan and Michael Griffin, UL and Jan O'Sullivan TD., Minister of State, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade with responsibility for Trade & Development.
A Limerick science and literary magazine entitled 'Magazine of Magazines' which was produced in the city between 1751 and 1769 has been digitized and is now fully searchable as a result of a project undertaken by members of the Eighteenth Century Research Group at the University of Limerick and Mary Immaculate College Limerick.
The official launch of 'Creating access: the digitalised version of Limerick's Magazine of Magazines, an eighteenth-century publication' took place this weekend at the Georgian House, 2 Pery Square, Limerick.
"In the middle of the eighteenth century, Limerick was a lively city in which trade in goods and services generated increased wealth, and with that a new demand for literary, scientific and cultural knowledge. The Magazine of Magazines, a fascinating and varied miscellany of new literary material and scientific information, was produced by local publisher Andrew Welsh to meet that demand. Previously thought to be a simple copy of a London publication, our research has now revealed that this was, for most of its life, an original Limerick production. It was probably the most significant publishing project undertaken outside of Dublin in the period of the Enlightenment, and puts Limerick on the map as a centre from which knowledge was distributed to the region and the country, "said Professor Geraldine Sheridan, Director, Eighteenth Century Research Group.
As a result of the work by the Research Group, funded by the HEA PRTLI4 programme for research and subsequently by the National Digital Learning Resource (NDLR), the digitized versions of the Magazine of Magazines are now available to members of the public free of charge, and fully searchable. The launch event on 21 April 2011 is the culmination of one strand of the group's researches into the long-neglected beginnings of print culture in North Munster. In making available to the public a fascinating aspect of the city's literary and print culture in this period, the group has revealed an important dimension of the literary, social and economic history of the city and its environs.
"The Magazine drew its material from a wide range of sources, including publications in the French and German and Latin languages, it was up-to-the-minute in publishing materials from the international scientific societies as well as extracts from the major literary texts of the European Enlightenment. such as Voltaire's Candide (1759), or controversial texts like the same author's 'Critical Catalogue of Eminent Free-thinkers' (1768). Indeed the Magazine of Magazines has the distinction of accommodating the first publication outside of London of Thomas Gray's great classic of English poetry, the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751)," continued Professor Sheridan. It also contains news of local concern, from accounts of the Courts of Assize and local executions to Birth, Marriage and Death announcements.
These digitisation projects are bringing the Magazine of Magazines online, for national and international audiences, enabling all interested parties to search the eighteenth-century text, and to document national and international events of the period 1751-1761, social, political, and cultural. The National Library of Ireland has now become a partner in this project, and with their help it is hoped that the final phase of digitalization, making available the volumes from the period 1762-1768, can soon be completed. These quality and innovative reusable learning resources are now available for lifelong learning and are easily sharable online. For a preview of these projects please go to: http://www.ul.ie/ecrg/digitisation-magazine-of-magazines