RESEARCHERS have completed the first phase of the world's most extensive digital archive of Gaelic texts, with 10 million words in the language being put up online.

The database, compiled by academics at Glasgow University, brings together works dating from the 12th century to the present day, with the earliest example including notes written in Gaelic to the Book of Deer. It also includes Bishop John Carswell's translation into Gaelic of the Book of Common Order, or "Knox's Liturgy", which was published in the middle of the 16th century.

Researchers expect the finished database to include 30 million words.

Meanwhile a "Fieldwork Archive", also completed as part of the Digital Archive of Scottish Gaelic (DASG) project, contains over 22,000 words taken from speech recorded in Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland and Nova Scotia during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

It describes traditional Gaelic life and society and includes many hand-drawn illustrations.

Rob Ó Maolalaigh, professor of Gaelic at the University of Glasgow and director of DASG, said the digital archive would transform the way research is carried out on Gaelic language, literature and culture.

"Having access to a large database like this will enable us to see new patterns in the way the language has been used over the centuries and how it continues to be used to this day," he said.