The National Library of Scotland is set to start the process of digitising a third of its archive, putting the collection online over the next ten years. It is currently the biggest programme of its kind in Europe, and will make the history of Scotland accessible to a worldwide audience.
The library already has quite a strong online presence, with many items already digitised and shared online such as the first atlas of Scotland, photographs from the First World War, the first books printed in the country in the 16th century and the last letter of Mary Queen of Scots.
In addition to rare and old historical items, the library’s archive also includes films on life in Scotland and memorabilia and accounts of last year’s independence referendum. The digital archive will act as a gateway to hundreds of years of Scotland’s history and culture.
National librarian Dr John Scally said, “The internet has created a revolution in how people expect to be able to access information.”
We want people to be able to connect to our collections from wherever they are, rather than having to consult material in the library as has been the case for most of our existence.
Many libraries and cultural centres all over the world are making their archives digital and sharing their contents outside of the physical building. This is connecting communities across nations, across borders – The National Library of Scotland has recorded an increase in traffic to its website over the last five years, doubling to three million visits a year.
It will be a long and difficult road to digitise one third of the library’s 24 million items – especially as the archive does not just contain books and documents. Journals, rare and precious books, maps, sound recordings and manuscripts will all have to be handled with care during the archive digitisation process.
Want to find out more about the process of making an entire archive digital? Contact us and we’ll talk you through it and offer our expert advice.
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