Digitisation of the Scottish Archival Collection & Research Library | College of Arts

Digitisation of the Scottish Archival Collection & Research Library

About the Project

As part of a major renovation project currently underway in the McLaughlin Library, the Scottish Studies Foundation has undertaken to contribute $150,000 towards the cost of establishing a digitisation facility in Archival and Special Collections.

Once completed, this facility will support the digitisation of materials held in the Scottish Archival Collection: unique historic manuscript and printed papers, books and records from medieval and modern Scotland that run to several thousands of items. This collection is now the largest archive of Scottish records outside of the United Kingdom. It is also rich in items which document the lives of Scots who emigrated to Canada. Once digitised, images of these items may be made openly available and accessible online to researchers and other users all across the world. The facility will also be used to digitise other collections held in Archival and Special Collections.

Digitisation is not just a trendy reflex of an increasingly digital age. By making records easier to study and handle, we can stimulate research and the advancement of knowledge. It reduces the amount of physical wear-and-tear on precious, often fragile, relics of the past and aids the preservation of irreplaceable items in the event of catastrophic damage or loss. For many reasons, it is the right thing to do with an archive as special as the Scottish Archival Collection.

Through fundraising efforts, the Scottish Studies Foundation has been successful in raising about half of the target figure of $150,000. Individuals or groups who would like to support the Digital Archive Initiative, and would like to be able to visit the Scottish Archival Collection from their desktop or mobile device, are urged to visit the project page on the Foundation website, where procedures and options for making a contribution are described.

Scottish Chapbooks

With input from the Centre, Archival and Special Collections has completed the digitisation of its Scottish chapbook collection and has made images freely and openly accessible through a website dedicated to the project. This magnificent resource serves as a brilliant example of what can be achieved by digitising the remainder of the Scottish Archival Collection.

Scottish Historical Club Publications

Also with input from the Centre, Archival and Special Collections has participated in a project to digitise a portion of the important and iconic publications by the Scottish historical clubs of the nineteenth century: the tip of the iceberg, so far as the rare Scottish books in the Collection are concerned. The digitised collection is available freely in a variety of downloadable formats from the Internet Archive. Here again, the results of this limited project show what can be achieved once the Scottish Studies Foundation Digitisation Facility is up and running.