Seamus Heaney Centre Digital Archive: Public Poetry Readings

Scope and Content

The SHCDA contains contemporary public poetry readings staged in Ireland, as well as readings overseas that involve Irish participants. It conserves prose and music as they occur at these readings, as well as accompanying speech acts -- such as introductions and Q&A sessions. Currently, there are over 2000 tracks within the archive

Metadata collected on each recording is displayed on individual Track File pages, complete with contextualizing performance memorabilia and photographs. Annotations on the event are also provided on the Track File pages, as well as a link to all tracks within the overall event.

In addition to user-initiated searches, browse categories will assist in locating materials. The categories include 'author', 'performer', genres of performance (poems, prose, introductions, etc.), as well as 'publisher', 'venue', 'event', 'language' and 'translator'. The browse category UTR (Uncollected at Time of Recording) will enable researchers to identify those compositions performed before inclusion in (or exclusion from) a single-author collection.

Please note: Transcriptions of performed works are not provided. This honours agreements with publishers and maintains an emphasis on the performative aspects of the creative compositions.

Administrative / Biographical History

Administered and maintained by the Special Collections Department of Queen's University Belfast. Established as part of a doctoral thesis undertaken at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen's University Belfast.


All file and track codes were determined by the archivist. A detailed breakdown of the explanation of the codes can be found on 'Track Files Explained' section of the archive.

Access Information

Users must agree to abide by the 'Terms of Use' as outlined on the website's Entry Page.

Acquisition Information

Virtually all recordings were generated specifically for inclusion within the SHCDA. There are, however, instances of donated recordings. These are identified in the archive.

Other Finding Aids

Materials can be searched by 1) user-generated search terms, 2) browse categories, including: performer, author, poem, prose, music, introductions, Q&A, talks, publisher, translator, language, venue, event, and uncollected in single-author work at time of recording (UTR).

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The SHCDA is hosted on the Queen's University Belfast Webserver, hosted by the Computer Mediated Communications Group within Information Services. A secondary back-up server is maintained off campus.

Archivist's Note

Recordings are best appreciated using headphones. There are, however, many recordings suitable for group teaching.

Conditions Governing Use

Recordings cannot be downloaded from the SHCDA and all copyright, recording and performance rights remain with Queen's University Belfast and the authors and performers of the recorded works.

Custodial History

All recordings are MP3 formatted. Metadata on recordings was compiled on an Excel Spreadsheet. Using custom PHP scripts, information from the spreadsheet was employed to create individual tracks within recorded events. The online archive was created using HTML, XSL and JavaScript.


Subject to funding, recordings made after Jan 1st 2009 are waiting to be collated and uploaded. (See the 'Recordings Pending' section of the Archive.) Recordings continue to be undertaken with the hope that the long-term future of the archive will be secured.

Related Material

All 'hard-copies' of recordings that are pending collation and upload onto the SHCDA can be accessed by contacting the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen's University Belfast. A list of these recordings can be viewed in the 'Recordings Pending' section of the archive.

Location of Originals

Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen's University Belfast.