Monday, July 16, 2012

The National Records of Scotland

Our tour guide discusses the merits of wooden ladders.
The National Records of Scotland (NRS) is housed in an absolutely beautiful, historic, Neoclassical building, but the organization that is based inside is the real national treasure.

The NRS hold the records of the old Scottish government as far back as the 1140s. The collection includes Scottish court records, both civil and criminal, contracts, deeds, parliamentary proceedings, and selected church records. Research is free for academics and there is a small daily fee for genealogical research. Legal researchers pay the highest rate.

Some local archives are in possession of their local records, and the NRS offers information on preservation and conservation. Non-historic criminal records are accessible, but only with permission of the court.

The rotunda at the National
Records of Scotland.
I shamelessly take a photo of myself
with the pretty books.
The NRS has made great strides in the area of digitization with the help of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Because the process is so expensive, it is necessary to charge for access. The public doesn't seem to mind paying a small amount to access the records, and thanks to the work the NRS has put into digitization, the process is a good deal more convenient.

The NRS is also the maintainers of The Scottish Register of Tartan, where users can search for tartans by name, designer, keyword, color, and copyright status. They can also register and compare their designs to others.

The NRS facility is amazing and I greatly admire the energy and dedication that everyone we spoke to projected about the importance of user access. I hope that my genealogical research brings me here or somewhere equally well run.

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