The Archive researches Irish traditional music collections in Ireland and throughout the world with a view to having them copied for its collections.
Institutions visited outside Ireland include the British Library, the Bodleian Library, the BBC, the National Sound Archive of the British Library, the Welsh Folk Museum, the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Boston Public Library, and the Chicago Public Library.
Items 'repatriated' include book and sheet-music collections of Irish traditional music published in Britain and the USA, 18th–20th century.
The Archive is also cooperating with research projects of other bodies engaged in related activities in Ireland and in areas of Irish settlement abroad. It is a member of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, the Society for European Musicology, the International Council for Traditional Music, Society for Musicology in Ireland, Irish Museums Association, and other professional organisations.
While staff will assist callers in their researches, and advise academic and other researchers and field collectors, they are unable to undertake research on behalf of people.