As part of the implementation plan for the Schools’ Folklore Collection, a guide book for teachers was published in 1937. It set out 55 subject areas about which pupils could write, such as ‘Local Poets’, ‘Holy Wells’ etc. (see here). When the scheme was completed and staff of the Irish Folklore Commission had sorted the material by school and by county, they generated a subject index based on the content of the children’s essays. While the index closely follows the recommended subject headings, it includes a number of other topics that feature in the children’s essays – historical and local tradition such as the 1798 Rebellion, customs and practices, and more besides. As a result, c.1,700 topics were accumulated from the entire Schools’ Collection. This work is called the Schools’ Collection Subject List.
In consultation with the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI), an attempt was made to structure the set of topics found in the Subject List and to arrange them according to MoTIF (Pilot Thesaurus of Irish Folklore). For various reasons, all of the topics that appear in the Subject List could not be included in this topic search.
The dúchas.ie team have used both the Schools' Collection Subject List and MoTIF to create a thematic browsing facility for users of the site. This is a work in progress and data checking is ongoing. The facility will gradually be improved by the addition of topics to certain stories and by the creation of subtopics in the case of topics that include a large number of stories. Topics are linked to stories based on page number as listed in the Schools' Collection Subject List. This has led to some stories being incorrectly linked to a topic due to their sharing a page with another story in which that topic is found. The editorial team is working on correcting these cases on an ongoing basis. Feedback is welcome and any errors brought to our attention will be corrected.