Tuesday, 24 July 2012

National Records/Archives of Scotland

Front of the National Archives Building

This was an  interesting visit because it allowed me to compare archiving between Scotland and England.  The main difference is the huge strides that Scotland has taken to digitize as much as their collection as possible.  It is interesting to see the eagerness that the Scottish have in making their collections easily accessible online.  Even the United States seems to lack the eagerness the Scottish have.  It was very interesting to gain such insight.  

Inside the Archives building

Bits of Information
o   Available government records go as far back as medieval times; 1130 being the oldest document.
o   Overall payment for access to the records is required but in the 1840s access fees were waived for certain areas of research.
o   Record collections include death, birth and marriage certificates, court records and a huge range of parish church records.
o   There are about 3 million entries on the online catalog.
o   Wills and testaments can be accessed online.
o   They are close to adding about 400,000 more items that have been digitized.
o   They have received a lot of help from Mormon missionaries in helping them digitize the collections.
I wish that we could have spent more time viewing the digitization area. It was awesome to gain a peak at least because the machine is huge.  The way it operates was really awesome to see as I have never seen the actual digitization process before. I have learned that Scotland has made tremendous strides in the area of digitization. I applaud their efforts to blaze the trail of digitization in archives.  As our tour guide stated, many people access these records and if they can spare the cost of what could prove to be an expensive trip to Edinburgh (although a great city) would be a tremendous convenience to people everywhere.  

As I have already mentioned, their innovation and eagerness to keep up with the times and digitize is just incredible.  We should all look to the Scottish when it comes to digitization.  Bravo.  

Visit their website http://www.nas.gov.uk/ for more information.  They have and do so much more then I could ever properly convey!

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