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The best place to find out about our main activities and projects ongoing for this year is in the Business Plan. We also post the most up-to-date information on the website. However, below is a brief summary of what we have been up to over the past few months.

Opening Up Scotland’s Archives (Skills for the Future)

SCA has received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) under its Skills for the Future programme for the ‘Opening Up Scotland’s Archives’ project. The project aims to improve skills and service delivery within the Scottish archives sector through the provision of 18 traineeships between 2014 and 2017.

Cohort Two

Cohort Two’s traineeships will come to an end in August, with a Farewell Event in New Register House. The trainees continue to fully engage in the sector, attending training and conferences. Through a programme of Cohort Days, all trainees also visit each host’s service, with the resident trainee guiding their colleagues through the collection. Most recently Naomi Harvey welcomed the rest of the Cohort to Midlothian Archives in May, and Michael MacKinnon explored Culture NL’s collection in June.

Olivia Howarth (Digital Preservation trainee, University of Glasgow) also attended the Copyright and Cultural Memory Conference in June. You can find out more about all the Trainees and what they have been getting up to here.

Cohort Three

Recruitment for the third, and final, cohort launched in April 2016 and closed in May 2016. We received over 507 applications, and the recruitment was very competitive. The successful trainees are as follows:

  • Sally Chalmers (Education & Outreach Traineeship at Midlothian Archives)
  • Catherine Hollebrandse (Traditional Skills and Collection Management at University of St Andrews)
  • Jennifer Lightbody (Joint Traineeship Outreach and Engagement at Glasgow City Archives & The Glasgow School of Art)
  • Ruth Marr (Local Authority Capacity Planning for Digital Preservation Traineeship at NRS)
  • Shona MacLellan (Traditional Skills and Gaelic at Tasglann nan Eilean)
  • Penny Wright (Local Authority Digital Preservation Guidance Traineeship ay NRS)
  • Samar Ziadat (Collection Development and Outreach and Community Engagement at Lothian Health Services Archive)

Cohort Two and Cohort Three will have the opportunity to meet and discuss the traineeships at the Farewell Event.

Education – Strategy

The SCA Education Committee draws together the expertise of archivists and educators. It is charged with identifying how to deliver high quality, relevant and exciting archive-based resources to teachers, pupils and members of the wider educational community. This broad and challenging remit reflects SCA’s determination to have a significant and lasting impact on education. Specifically, areas where deprivation presents particular challenges must be met with new thinking and close work with communities.

In 2012, the SCA Education Committee commissioned a three-year National Plan for Learning, Many Stories, One Scotland, 2012 -2015. The Plan provided a solid strategic framework for the work of the committee, not least by highlighting the enormous educational potential of archive material, particularly in relation to the Curriculum for Excellence.

Concluding in 2015, the three-year plan set out to achieve three key objectives:

  1. to raise awareness of the potential for archive materials and archivists to make valuable contributions to education in Scotland
  2. to facilitate and deliver the training required to allow archivists to develop and deliver relevant educational activities and resources
  3. to facilitate the necessary partnerships and foster communication between individuals and organisations to both build on and expand the existing good practice within archive services and to open up opportunities to those with limited experience of delivering education and outreach to their local schools and communities.

Douglas Robertson, the Council’s Education officer, is currently drafting a review of this plan and an executive summary will be published soon. He is also developing further workshops for the autumn.


In June, the Preservation Committee organised a very successful event to Meet the Funders. Linda Ramsay, convenor of the committee, organised a panel of expert speakers from both those who fund, and those who have received funding for conservation projects.

Speakers from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust and the Wellcome Trust gave sound advice and actively encouraged Scottish collections to apply for funds. Ruaraidh Wishart, from Aberdeen City Archives, detailed the impact NMCT funding has had on their work. A full account of the event, and the speakers’ presentations can be found here.


SCA is continuing our partnership with CREATe at the University of Glasgow to provide further practical guidance and training. Building on the success of workshops delivered in 2014 and earlier in the year, we co-ordinated two additional events (27 May 2016 in Edinburgh and 17 June 2016 in Perth) focussed on copyright duration. These latest events will focus on the way in which the duration of copyright protection impacts the work of the archivist: a notoriously complicated area of the law. In addition to providing attendees with an introduction to the different terms of protection that can affect material in archive collections, the workshops included group exercises based on real collections to demonstrate the impact and application of the legislation. The related concepts of authorship and ownership were also explored in detail. The topic of duration was selected for these workshops based on feedback gathered from previous attendees, and both workshops were at capacity.

Our Copyright Policy Adviser, Victoria Stobo, continues to monitor and participate in debate concerning changes to copyright law, both in the UK as a member of the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) and also as the SCA representative at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) in Geneva. You can read all of our WIPO SCCR reports here.

Leadership Development Workshops

The workshop was specifically designed to enable archive sector leaders in Scotland to improve and sustain organisational and personal resilience through a proactive approach to influencing and advocacy. The workshop proved extremely popular, with both the Edinburgh and Glasgow events fully booked, and we have received some very encouraging feedback, including this glowing assessment from the National Galleries of Scotland archivist:

Firstly, I wanted to thank you and Graham for yesterday's advocacy and influencing workshop - I found it very helpful indeed, and I feel that both the practical exercises and the information in the resource pack will really make a difference to the way I work. Also, it was enjoyable, which is more than can be said for most training sessions!

The SCA have asked STAR CIC, the trainers, to further develop some of the ideas and processes raised in the workshop base don’t he feedback and areas of interest from delegates. We hope to have a proposal soon, with follow up workshops in the autumn.

SCA Records Retention Schedules (SCARRS)

SCARRS is a tool that maps the typical records generated in support of the business activities of Scottish local authorities. It identifies statutory and regulatory retention periods for those records where these exist and suggests typical retention periods based on common practice and/or business requirements where statutory and regulatory periods do not exist.

We work regularly to ensure that SCARRS provides the most up-to-date information. In addition to monitoring both Scottish and UK-wide legislative developments, we also listen directly to the sector. If you have been using SCARRS and noted any errors, required amendments or additions, we want to hear from you. Please submit your feedback via email to If you are commenting on an existing record series, please provide the reference number from the schedule.

The latest review of SCARRS was undertaken in June 2016 and published at The changes were minor and included:

  • Added 1.002.001 and 1.002.002 to Schedule 01 Adult Care Services
  • Added note on Historical Child Abuse Inquiry Scotland to Schedule 02 Child & Family Services
  • Added series 10.001.003 to 10.001.007 to Schedule 10 Education & Skills
  • Added function 12.008 to Schedule 12 Finance
  • Series 17.004.005 and 6 and 7 amended. Series 17.004.009 added to schedule 17 Information management

Fundraising for Archives

Fundraising for Archives is a development programme from The National Archives (TNA) offering training for archivists and archive organisations to help them enhance their skills and capacity and become confident fundraisers. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Catalyst programme. The National Archives received a grant of £477,000 and aims to reach 188 archive organisations across the UK. We are working in partnership with The Scottish Council on Archives, Public Records Office for Northern Ireland (PRONI), Museums Archives and Libraries Division Wales (MALD), and the Archives and Records Association (ARA).

Fundraising for Archives organised two workshops in Scotland this Spring, Developing a Fundraising Plan (Glasgow) and Measuring Outcomes and Evaluation (Edinburgh). Both workshops were very well received and attended. We hope to deliver a further workshop in the autumn on Writing a Bid.

Patrick Cadell Memorial Bursary

Following last year’s relaunch of the Patrick Cadell Memorial Bursary, we opened applications for awards in April 2016. We have already received three applications:

  • Two volunteer archivists at the University of Glasgow’s Sub City Radio will be attending an introductory skills course on better practice
  • A volunteer at Hopetoun House will have attendance at a palaeography course.

Archive Service Accreditation

In partnership with the National Records of Scotland (NRS), SCA acts as the assessor body for Archive Service Accreditation in Scotland.

In June 2016, the panel met to reassess Falkirk Community trust, and confirm its Archive Service Accreditation award.

The number of Scottish services expressing interest in the scheme continues to grow with 10 considering submitting an application before 2018. The Assessment Team in Scotland will be accepting six applications annually. The three-month review periods for each application are aligned with the Accreditation Panel meeting dates and are assigned on a first-come first-served basis. If you are considering an application, please email and visit for more details. 

Towards Sharing Collecting Policies

A self-driven group co-ordinated by the Scottish Council on Archives to bring together representatives of institutions and bodies with a shared interest in collecting and making archival material available.

Following on from meetings in 2015, a survey has been issued to services across Scotland, asking for input on institutional collecting policies. The survey will remain open until October 2016, though the deadline may be extended to match uptake. Already, a dozen or so services have completed the survey, and we have also received notes of interest from the developer of a similar initiative in Ontario, Canada. The survey can be found here, if you would like to add your details.