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Projects Update

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 Three

Cohort Three are reaching the mid-point of their traineeships. One of the Cohort, Jennifer Lightbody, has completed the first half of her posting, at Glasgow Life, and has now joined Glasgow School of Art for the remainder of her time.

March saw the final Edinburgh Base Camp, a three day event for all SCA trainees, and their TNA counterparts. Speakers included Laura Mitchell, Deputy Keeper of the National Records of Scotland, Jack Lattimer, of ARA Community Archives and Heritage Group, William Kilbride, of the Digital Preservation Coalition, and Kiara King of The Ballast Trust talking about business collections. The trainees were also fortunate to have a tour of General Register House by Dr Tristram Clark, and the NRS Conservation Studio at Thomas Thomson House from Linda Ramsay and her team. It was a very full three days, and very useful for all the trainees.

Following on from Base Camp, our two digital preservation trainees hosted by NRS, Penny Wright and Ruth Marr, hosted their cohort day. This included a ‘dragons’ den’ style workshop, exploring the challenges and solutions of digital preservation. This was a very well received project, and many creative proposals were presented.

Cohort visits continue to be very popular and a useful insight into the variety of collections. Shona MacLellan, trainee at Tasglann nan Eilean, The Hebridean Archive, will be hosting a cohort visit with a difference in June. A conference, generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and in partnership with Tasglann nan Eilean/ Hebridean Archives and the Archives and Records Association UK & Ireland, on community archives will be hosted at Lews Castle Museum and Archive in Stornoway.

Community archives encompass diverse organisations, collections and activities. They offer opportunities to inspire learning and enhance understanding, through the community’s active engagement with their own heritage.

This two-day conference is aimed at anyone with an interest in community archives and heritage, from professional archivists, librarians, curators and heritage workers to independent community groups.

Through a range of case studies and presentations, conference participants will consider how community archives and conventional archive organisations can collaborate and support one another to achieve common goals. Speakers will provide insights on: Registration will open in April.

You can find out more about each trainee and follow their development at:


The continued value and importance of the work of our Preservation committee has been emphasised by the demand for our recent workshops on disaster planning. The hands on practical workshop, Testing Your Disaster Plan, took place on 2 March, and we have had very positive feedback from participants.  The Disaster Plan training was delivered by Emma Dadson of Harwell, ably assisted by SCA trustee, and convenor of the Preservation committee, Linda Ramsay of NRS and her team at the NRS Conservation department


15 March saw the delivery of our latest copyright workshop by Victoria Stobo, of CreatE and SCA Trustee. The workshop introduced participants to the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015. By sharing case studies from institutions that have implemented the legislation, it provided participants the opportunity to start drafting a Statement of Public Task, and think about other relevant policy implications created by the regulations, including licensing and open approaches to re-use of images and data.

This training session was an ideal insight for those unfamiliar with the regulations, and proved very popular. This will be the first in a series of workshops on this subject Victoria will be exploring.

Archives and Records Management Service Quality Improvement Tool (ARMS)

ARMS is a flexible self-assessment tool specifically designed for archives and records management services and is jointly delivered by the Scottish Council on Archives and Quality Scotland. The ARMS framework offers support to any service wishing to continuously improve their service delivery, particularly organisations preparing to meet the requirements of the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011 and the Archives Accreditation Standard.

The ARMS tool puts you in control of the evaluation process. Users of the ARMS tool gather evidence and self-asses their organisation’s performance against four core competencies, reflected in seven quality indicators. The tool allows you to choose which, and how many, quality indicators to examine. This flexibility means that the tool is suitable for use by organisations of any size.

As part of our commitment to the framework, the SCA organised a three-part series of workshops, in conjunction with Quality Scotland, to support both current users of ARMS and those interested in undertaking the full cycle of the self-assessment process for the first time. The first and second workshops took place in November and January, respectively. They provided delegates with both detailed background to the benefits of the framework and practical experience of putting it to work. The final workshop takes place in February.

The workshops ensure that the most is got from the process, making improvements to your service, and building a good foundation for submission of a records management plan or an accreditation application.