LITMUS Announcement (7/27/2017)

EUflag_yellow_highITMA is delighted to announce that it has been awarded funding of over € 187k to host one of the European Commission’s inaugural Marie Curie Society & Enterprise Fellowships. Dr. Lynnsey Weissenberger, a postdoctoral researcher in Library & Information Studies from Florida State University – and a practising Irish traditional musician – joined ITMA in July 2017 to lead the two-year LITMUS project.

LITMUS (Linked Irish Traditional Music) seeks to improve searching and access to web-based Irish traditional music, song and dance resources through the development of a Linked Data framework. The project will utilise ITMA’s extensive Irish traditional music collections as well as introducing Dr. Weissenberger to an international network of Irish traditional musicians and researchers. She will also be seconded for six months to the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway. While tailored to Irish traditional music, it is hoped that this EC Horizon 2020 project will provide a working model for other European and non-European traditional musics. Follow the project updates at

The highly competitive Society and Enterprise Individual Fellowship scheme awarded funding totalling € 8 million to almost fifty projects across Europe, including six in Ireland.

#Horizon2020 #MSCA #semanticweb #linkeddata #LODLAM #OpenGLAM

Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA)

ITMA is a national reference archive and resource centre for the traditional song, music and dance of Ireland. At its premises in Dublin and online it offers access, free of charge, to the largest multimedia collection in existence dedicated to contemporary and historical Irish traditional music. Visitors are welcome to listen, view and browse thousands of sound recordings, videos, books, images and manuscripts which have been collected and preserved by ITMA since 1987. It is funded primarily by the Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions are a European Commission Funding Programme which supports researchers at all stages of their careers, across all research disciplines and in all employment sectors. In 2017 almost 1,200 researchers were awarded grants totalling €218 million, including the new Society and Enterprise Fellowships. Advice for Irish applicants can be found at the Irish Marie Skłodowska-Curie Office in Dublin.


For further information please contact:

Maeve Gebruers | Printed Materials & PR Officer | ITMA
73 Merrion Sq. Dublin 2, D02 WK75, Ireland | +353 1 661 9699 | @ITMADublin |

Meet Lynnsey Weissenberger, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at ITMA (7/31/2017)
Lynnsey in Miltown. Photo by Maeve Gebruers.

I’m delighted to begin working with ITMA this month. It’s been quite a journey–from our discussions and application process last year around this time, to our current preparations to begin this 2-year project. Now, I find myself in Dublin and ready to get to work!

It is my hope that I can further ITMA’s valuable work through our LITMUS (Linked Irish Traditional MUSic) project. Our aim is to open up the collections even further using this tool of linked data, and eventually allow anyone across the world to explore topics, people, tunes, relationships, songs, helping them learn more about traditional Irish music and dance.

Although I’m tasked with something very technical, for me, it’s a calling that goes far beyond the computer. I can thank my teacher and friend James Kelly for making me keenly aware of the rich history, archival recordings, and influential musicians of the (distant and recent) past that help shape our approaches today. I remember learning about these musicians through James’ colorful stories, sometimes punctuated with tunes learned from the many visitors to his father’s house and shop on Capel Street here in Dublin. And, certainly we had many lively discussions on today’s music and musical approaches.

As I continue along my own musical journey, I cherish these stories, memories, and tunes, while also immersing myself in more academic questions of how to best represent Irish (and other) traditional music using information technology, and how to organize musical knowledge passed along primarily through oral transmission. It’s somewhat like chasing a moving train–we don’t stop making music, singing songs, dancing sets, or telling stories–nor do we continue to do so in quite the same way as those before us.

This is why I’m especially honored to join a “living archive,” one that maintains its connection to the present tradition and those involved in shaping it. As the tradition moves onward, so does the logistical task of enabling access to all kinds of materials (past and present) for those who practise it, research it, teach it, and appreciate it.

The fellowship with ITMA will be an intense period of great learning for me, along with the opportunity to build something that can have a lasting impact. Through the new ITMA website, and through social media (stay tuned!), I look forward to sharing our progress with you in the coming months.



LITMUS Update: September 2017 (9/28/2017)

LW_Presenting_ISKO_UK2017Lynnsey Weissenberger gave presentations about LITMUS during two international conferences this month. Both presentations focused on the challenges of constructing the linked data ontology for Irish traditional music and dance, both because of special considerations with the music and due to a lack of complete available resources for description.

The first presentation, titled Stories, Songs, Steps, and Tunes: A Linked Data Ontology for Irish Traditional Music and Dance was presented at the International Society for Knowledge Organization, UK chapter biennial conference in London on the 11th of September.

Next, Lynnsey presented on Constructing a Linked Data Ontology for Irish Traditional Music: Challenges and Opportunities at the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives conference in Berlin, Germany on the 18th of September.

Finally, in cooperation with Trinity College Dublin and Science Gallery Dublin, Lynnsey and other Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Fellows in Ireland gave a brief presentation on their research for European Researchers’ Night 2017: Probe at TCD. The event, titled “Café Curie” took place on the campus of Trinity College Dublin on the evening of the 29th of September.

For her “Café Curie” presentation, Lynnsey explained the importance of musical and personal relationships in Irish traditional music, playing an example of these relationships on the fiddle, and describing how LITMUS will make these connections come to light.

LITMUS Research Repository (10/23/2017)

Keep up with our research progress here at the Linked Irish Traditional Music (LITMUS) project.

zenodo-gradient-2500As the project progresses, all research outputs will be uploaded to our open-access research repository at Zenodo. If versions are updated, all versions of the publication will be made available.

The paper “Stories, Songs, Steps, and Tunes: A Linked Data Ontology for Irish Traditional Music and Dance” from Lynnsey Weissenberger’s September 2017 presentation at the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO), UK/Ireland chapter conference is now available full-text within the repository.

Introducing LITMUS [Video] (11/2/2017)

LITMUS is a 2-year Horizon2020 project at the Irish Traditional Music Archive working to build a linked data ontology to better express what occurs within oral transmission, focusing on Irish traditional music and dance.

Watch our introductory video to learn more – in plain language – about LITMUS:

November Update (11/21/2017)

Many new developments took place during October and November. After attending a workshop on Protégé (a free ontology authoring software) and OWL (Web Ontology Language) in October, Lynnsey has begun work on the higher-level LITMUS ontology.

A higher level ontology is one that tries to cover the over-arching aspects of a knowledge domain, such as Irish traditional music and dance. Without getting into too many levels of granularity, such as listing every dance tune in existence (good luck if you’d like a go at that!), a higher-level ontology tries to account for situational and contextual factors.

We developed and released a video about LITMUS, which has gotten a wonderful response. Many thanks to ITMA staff for helping with the video: Brian Doyle for recording and mastering Lynnsey’s narration and fiddle music, and Treasa Harkin for help with the rights and permissions for the images used. And, special thanks to photographers Danny Diamond and Tony Kearns, as well as the late Tom Munnelly, for the use of their brilliant images of musicians and dancers.

On the 6th of November, Lynnsey had the opportunity to present her paper “Documenting Irish Traditional Music and Dance” at the Documenting Performance symposium, held by City, University of London. In addition to discussing the LITMUS project, Lynnsey played a slow air version and one of the hornpipe versions of “The Blackbird” on the fiddle, and danced the Blackbird set dance.

In demonstrating these versions, she wanted to convey the complex relationships between the melodies (song air and dance tunes) along with the different interpretations of The Blackbird set dance choreography. The version Lynnsey danced was learned from old-style stepdancers Céline and Michael Tubridy (ITMA video found here).

Lynnsey presented an overview of the LITMUS project to students from the National University of Ireland at Galway (NUIG) Irish Studies MA programme visiting ITMA on 10th of November. In addition, she presented a paper at the British and Irish Sound Archives (BISA) conference held in Edinburgh at the National Library of Scotland on 17-18 of November.