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Documents of Ireland
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Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Q. 1 How do I get a complete list of titles in the CELT system?
A. To see which texts have been scanned and are to be published, see our captured texts. This webpage also tells you which editions we are using. The published files can be viewed according to the languages in which they are. A full list is given on the Published page. By 28 September 2017 there are 1286 texts available directly on this page. Some other documents, such as Bardic Poetry (264 texts), and writings by Pádraig Pearse (56 texts), are available on the Published page through links, and some texts in pdf format are avalaible directly on the News page.

Q. 2 I love history and literature and have some free time. How can I volunteer?
A. Ni hannsa (not difficult). Just get in touch with us.

Q. 3 How many texts have you in total?
A. By 28 September 2017 there are 1614 texts available, totalling over 18.4 million words. 682 source texts were written in Irish (or Scottish Gaelic), and 690 in English. 27 were written in Latin, and seven in French. One source text was written in Spanish, one in Catalan, one in Occitan, two in Italian, and five in German. There are 171 English, 17 German, and four French translations, and two from Italian. We now also have two translations from Old Irish into Modern. Usually original and translation are kept in different files, but some text files contain an English translation, e.g. L100015A, G100041, G100061, G102003, G102004, G105007, G203001A, G402575, G600010, G600030, G602001, G602002, G600013, G600014, G600015, G301004.

Q. 4 Why are Míchéal Ó Cléirigh and his Associates not mentioned as authors in the Annals of the Four Masters?
A. Míchéal Ó Cléirigh and his associates, Cú Choigcriche Ó Cléirigh, Cú Choigcriche Ó Duibhgheannain and Fearfeasa Ó Maoil Chonaire, were commissioned by Feargal Ó Gadhra to compile the Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland, and they have always been known as the compilers of this great work. For further reading, we recommend O'Donnell histories: Donegal and the Annals of the Four Masters by Bernadette Cunningham, Rathmullan & District Local Historical Society; Rathmullan 2007.

Q. 5 I am a publisher and want to publish a book about X. Is it OK if I use your texts since they seem to be in the free domain?
A. No, it is not ok. Many of the texts we have are offered under license agreements with the copyright holders of the print edition. Furthermore, XML encoding, which has been translated into HTML encoding and formatting, occasional added footnotes and explanatory material, corrections of typographical errors, standardisation of names, normalisation of spelling, and bibliographical and content information added in the header, as well as any other original content are copyright of the Corpus of Electronic Texts. Our texts may not be used for commercial gain unless you get in touch with us and receive express written permission to do so. By using our website you agree to this.

Q. 6 Will you have more literary and historical texts in English available?
A. We have been publishing Anglo-Irish texts, including literary works, from the 18th to early 20th centuries in 2006 to early 2009, in the sub-project Writers of Ireland, which was funded by the UCC President's Strategic Fund, and by the Arts Faculty Development Funds. This project was finished in June 2009. Nevertheless, we hope to add to our collection occasionally. Above all, we would like to thank our volunteer proofreaders who freely give of their time and help us publish more texts. Without them, we would not be able to work on many of the texts offered to you, because there are just too many. We also welcome any collaboration with other projects in this area.

Q. 7 Will you have more English translations?
A. Yes, we will. In line with our primary aim to publish the original texts to the Internet in a scholarly project, we will be publishing more English translations. A translation is the translator's intellectual property, and so copyright, which expires 70 years after the writer's death, has to be cleared before CELT may use the translation. In the meantime, English translations of some texts are also available on other Internet websites hosted in countries where copyright expires after 50 years.

Q. 8 I am interested in the Latin texts. What about them?
A. There are various collections of Latin texts covering Early Christian Literature available on CD-ROM; but we are aware these may be expensive commercial products and unavailable for consultation outside Research Libraries. We will publish more Latin source texts, such as Annals and Early Christian writings, from time to time, workload permitting. In this area, the collaboration of other scholars in the field is especially welcome.

Q. 9 Do you also have translations into other European languages?
A. Yes, there is a limited number of translations by Rudolf Thurneysen into German; and there are two texts with a French translation by Georges Dottin. We would like to hear your views. Would you like to have translations into other languages than English? Please bear in mind that we do not produce the translations ourselves, but use existing ones.

Q. 10 I am researching the family name XYZ. Do you have any information about XYZ?
A. Unfortunately we are not in a position to carry out genealogical inquiries on behalf of members of the public. If you would like to enlist professional help for family history or genealogy advice, please refer to the website of the National Library of Ireland. In Northern Ireland, you can find addresses on the website of the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland.

Q. 11 Some of the bibliographic information appears to be missing.
A. The bibliographies are intended to provide users with further reading, and do not claim to be complete. As we continue to publish more texts, we are busy creating bibliographies for them. For the most popular Anglo-Irish writers, often there are also comprehensive online bibliographies available. For those readers interested in obtaining more up-to-date bibliographical information, there are links to Celtic Journals, to the Dublin Institute's Bibliography (BILL), to the CSANA database, the Irish History Online Bibliography, and the very useful and up-to-date Bibliography of the Royal Historical Society in the UK. For Irish history, you can also browse CELT's sister Project, MultiText; its articles provide bibliographic references. All these links are provided on our Resources page.

Q. 12 There appear to be errors in the texts, or they do not display properly.
A. There are several reasons for this: there are errors in the original text: if we are not creating a new edition, then the errors of the original are retained. Sometimes what appears to be an error is not but could be, e.g., an archaic form or usage, or an idiosyncratic usage by the author. Each text is individual; each text is initially marked-up in XML/SGML; it is then converted to HTML for use in web browsers.

Of course, there could be an error we have overlooked, too. In this case, please contact us. Conversion will not always be perfect, at least not the first time. We endeavour to correct display errors as soon as possible. Some browsers do not display full character sets—different characters like f and f with an overdot, are both displayed as f in the HTML file. By going back to the XML/SGML file, you can always check the underlying character. Another reason for characters not being displayed properly could be a browser that is not configured correctly: see our test page to check how your browser displays accented characters.

Q. 13 Why don't you have X online ?
A. There might be several reasons for this. One reason is, that CELT only has one member of staff, and to put all Irish historical literature online would take a lifetime or two. Another reason is, that CELT started out as a project within Irish Medieval History to promote a better understanding of this period, based on providing reliable online sources of works that might be difficult to access, to scholars, students, and to the general public. This was before archive.org or G**gle Books were available. CELT then branched out into other areas relevant for understanding and evaluating knowledge about Ireland. Now we have a situation where much of what CELT has (and much else besides) is available in other textual projects in some form. This material is not necessarily scanned with optical character recognition (OCR), or good enough to be searchable without giving you a heart attack out of sheer frustration, but good enough to use for basic research. In recent years, many books which previously were out of print have been reprinted. (Beware, by the way, of publishers whose business model is reproducing bad scans found on the Internet, providing their 'editions' with nondescript pictures, charging high prices for the whole, and claiming on top of this to be 'passionate' about making mankind's cultural heritage available.) At the moment we are working to fill a number of gaps in our publications, and we will put in the work to prepare decent editions. In this we are helped by materials put online by ISOS, The Stichting Van Hamel, CDI, and other projects. We also receive a number of text donations from scholars, both for CELT itself, and for the ISO (Irish Sagas Online) Project initiated by Tom O'Donovan, and conducted in collaboration with UCC's Ranna na Gaeilge. Such donations are always welcome!

Q. 14 What are the technical requirements for the site?
A. To use framed texts, you need a frames capable browser such as the latest versions of MS Internet Explorer, Opera, or the very neat Firefox. However, surfers without frames capable browsers, can click on the link "The CELT edition as a single file". For SGML/XML versions of the texts, see the next question. The site works at all resolutions, but best at a resolution of at least 800x600 with 16 bit colour.

Q. 15 How can I access the SGML/XML texts?
SGML is for download via FTP. The procedure depends on the browser you use: If using IE or Opera, right-click on the SGML icon and choose Save Target as... IE and Opera will prompt you to download the file, and ask if you want to open it. Your designated program for SGML files will open the file. If you do not have one, any plaintext editor can display the text. Unfortunately Firefox and Mozilla try to open the SGML directly, as if it were HTML. Therefore, right-click on 'View page source' to see the full encoding. For more information on an SGML browser or plugin to display these files, see our FAQ for details.
To view XML files, click on them first. The HTML browser will then try to load them and display an error message. By right-clicking and selecting "View (Page) Source" or "Source" you can display the source code including all markup.

Q. 16 Can I view SGML/XML texts in a browser?
A. SGML and XML texts (with extension .sgm or .sgml, or .xml) are best viewed in an SGML/XML-enabled browser. A shareware SGML/XML-browser free for personal use, with no guarantees is DocZilla. SGML and XML texts can also be viewed using a plain-text editor. This lets you see the mark-up too. One powerful shareware plain-text editor is the very neat EditPadLite (available for Windows and Linux). WordPerfect 9 comes with a full SGML editor and thus can display SGML files with ease. Microsoft Word recognizes XML, but will only open perfect files. Open Office can display XML files with no problems.
If you want to view SGML/XML files and have difficulty in doing so, please email the Project Manager, Beatrix Färber (b.faerber(at)ucc.ie). For those users who do not want to view the XML/SGML master files with their sometimes complex encoding, texts are provided in HTML format.

There is a free XML browser available from Microsoft at this URL. It requires installation of .net framework 2.0 and the use of Internet Explorer as your browser.

Q. 17 Why do you use XML/SGML and not just HTML to encode texts?
A. HTML does not possess sufficient capability to represent adequately all the various nuances of mark-up which are encoded in the original copies. The Extensible Markup Language can be used in conjunction with TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) guidelines to mark-up complex texts (prosimetrum, critical apparatus, dictionaries, etc.) in various languages. HTML is just a posting-stage in browser technology whilst XML and SGML are heavily used by corporations and academic projects to encode large amounts of material. SGML has been adopted by the European Commission as the standard in which to store all its information.

Q. 18 How do you convert the SGML to HTML?
A. Using OmniMark, the texts are converted from SGML to HTML. For how SGML mark-up and diacritics are represented in HTML see our methodology page.

Q. 19 What about the copyright of CELT texts?
A. All the texts can be searched, read on screen, downloaded for later use, or printed out for *private* use, teaching, and research. If you use our texts in your research, please credit us in your published results (e.g. conference paper, journal article, on the web or in a monograph). Links can be made from other websites to CELT, but please do not download our texts and make them available on your server. We usually contact copyright holders of the texts we use and ask them for permission. If we have inadvertently published a text still in copyright, please contact us so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Q. 20 What stages are involved in a textual project?
A. The copyright status for materials in the CELT collection is checked and clearance sought. The files are scanned from the hardcopy or photocopies, proofed twice against the originals, and structurally encoded in XML. Content markup may be added, depending on the source language and kind of file. Usually, Irish language files contain more content markup than their English translations to avoid duplication of work. A bibliography is compiled for each text, the XML files are parsed converted to HTML and published to the Internet. They might finally be spot-checked for errors again as necessary. Click here to see how texts are made available. The methodology of the markup can be seen here

Any other questions? Please contact us and we will try to answer them.

Wordle: Annals of Ulster AD 691 Wordle: Tract on the Plague (1) Wordle: Fraech Wordle: Marco Polo on Tartars Book 36 Wordle: Proclamation 1607 Wordle: Travels Wordle: another blob Wordle: Rosa Anglica (on Fevers)

These images were created from texts online at CELT using Wordle which, in its turn, was created by Jonathan Feinberg.

celtic knot
University College Cork

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Email CELT: b.faerber(at)ucc.ie

University College Cork