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Projects Update

The best place to find out about our main activities and projects 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 One Trainees:

Our first cohort have completed their 12 month traineeships, focussing on areas ranging from digital preservation and collections development, to WW1 commemorations and community engagement. SCA hosted a farewell event on 16 September 2015 at New Register House, Edinburgh, where those responsible for their training and mentoring were invited to hear presentations. Each trainee delivered moving and inspiring reports on their time working within the sector.

In addition to adding capacity to Scottish archives and encouraging a new and diverse workforce, Opening Up Scotland’s Archives has the potential to delivery high-profile advocacy on behalf of the sector. This was witnessed during Archives Advocacy Week at the Scottish Parliament. The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, has offered support for the project and continues to express keen interest in the development of the trainees. It was wonderful, therefore, to have the Cabinet Secretary attend the farewell event and present certificates of achievement and a gift to each trainee. The certificates were signed by senior executives (University Principals, Local Authority Chief Executives and similar) from each of the host services’ parent bodies, alongside the partner organisations delivering the project. A gift to express thanks and well-wishes on behalf of the project and the hosts took the form of high-quality mounted images from each host service, selected by their mentors to bear special meaning for each trainee.

Cohort Two:

Recruitment for the second cohort launched in June 2015 and closed on 5 July 2015. We received over 600 applications. The successful trainees are as follows:

  • Catriona Doyle (Outreach at Glasgow City Archives & The Glasgow School of Art)
  • Anabel Farrell (Traditional Archive Skills at University of St Andrews)
  • Naomi Harvey (Digital Preservation & Outreach at Historic Environment Scotland – formerly RCAHMS – & Midlothian Archives)
  • Olivia Howarth (Digital Preservation at University of Glasgow Archive Services)
  • Michael MacKinnon (Outreach at North Lanarkshire Archives)
  • Gary Thomas (Archives Digitisation at Falkirk Archives)

Cohort two had an opportunity to meet our cohort one trainees and ask questions during a panel session at the farewell event. You can find out more about each trainee and follow their development at:


Key priority areas of focus across 2015-16 include:

  • Exploring with Education Scotland and other organisations joint production and delivery around Scotland of archives-based CPD resources for teachers.
  • Working towards professional recognition and accreditation of SCA as a CPD provider for teachers.
  • Building the teachers’ side of the SCA website and publicising to schools and teacher professional bodies, e.g. using material created with Education Scotland.
  • Devising and beginning to deliver a new programme of training workshops for archivists to assist them to work more effectively with schools and community groups.
  • Ongoing refresh of the SCA website with relevant materials and links, including a series of screencasts to complement web resources publicising the website and monitoring its use.

The new programme of workshops – Engaging Communities – will take place across October and November 2015. Designed as a three-part course (but just as useful as individual sessions) delegates will explore methods and opportunities to widen audience engagement and education work - specifically within local communities. The three workshops are as follows:

  • (A) Archives in the Community (22/10/2015 Edinburgh)
  • (B) Working Effectively with Community Groups (05/11/2015 Glasgow)
  • (C) Reaching Out a Bit Further (26/11/2015 Edinburgh)

We continue to add new online resource material. Recent additions include previous workshop slides, user guides and resource packs for ‘Active Learning’, ‘Creating Resources’ and ‘Enquiry Learning’:


The Preservation Committee analysed the results of Scotland’s preservation assessment survey report. This report has been published on the preservation pages of the website at: The report formed the basis of an action plan for the committee.

Earlier this year, the committee agreed to deliver a high-profile event focussed on disaster planning and mitigation. In light of the recent fire at The Glasgow School of Art, it was decided to theme the event around fire. Fire in the Archives took place on 30 September 2015 – coinciding with the Second Annual Members’ Meeting – in Edinburgh. Speaking to a capacity audience, our experts came together to share their experiences and highlight lessons learned. The speakers were:

  • Iwan Bryn James - Tân! Dealing with the aftermath of the National Library of Wales fire
  • Susannah Waters - Archives from the Ashes: Recovery after The Glasgow School of Art fire
  • Gavin Gray - Fire Safety is Everyone’s Business: Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

The committee will be discussing the key findings and feedback from the event and use these to inform future plans. SCA will also be developing a preservation survey to inform how we focus and direct our work in future.

The next edition of the SCA magazine, Broadsheet, will be preservation themed. We will feature a number of case studies of work underway around Scotland, alongside articles from as far afield as Japan.


In partnership with The Scotsman, SCA delivered a half-day conference on the topic of copyright and related issues Copyright and Cultural Heritage 2.0: Protecting Creators, Sharing Content. Sponsored by Sheppherd and Wedderburn, Solicitors it was held at the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh on 2 February 2015.

SCA is continuing our partnership with CREATe at the University of Glasgow to provide further practical guidance and training. Building on the success of two workshops delivered in 2014, we are planning additional sessions in 2015-16. Bookings have opened for the latest events which focus on the way in which new Orphan Works legislation impacts the work of the archivist. In addition to providing attendees with an introduction to the Orphan Works licensing scheme and exception, the workshop will include group exercises based on real archive collections to demonstrate the impact and application of the legislation.

We will also explore the relevance and limitations of adopting a risk-managed approach to copyright compliance when digitising archive material for online access.

There are two opportunities to attend this free workshop:

  • 13 November, 13:30-16:30 – Perth (AK Bell Library, York Place, Perth  PH2 8EP
  • 23 November 2015, 13:30-16:30 – Edinburgh (New Register House, West Register Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YT

Our Copyright Policy Adviser, Victoria Stobo, continues to monitor and participate in debate concerning changes to copyright law, both in the UK and also as the Council’s representative at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) in Geneva.

Most recently (June 2015) SCA was invited to join the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA), a group convened by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) to lobby in the UK and Europe about copyright and related rights on behalf of its member organisations and UK users of copyright works through library, archive and information services. More information about LACA can be found at:

Archive Service Accreditation:

In partnership with the National Records of Scotland (NRS), SCA acts as the assessor body for the Archive Service Accreditation scheme in Scotland. In December 2014, The National Records of Scotland (NRS) and Lothian Health Services Archive (LHSA) were awarded Archive Service Accreditation, showing they have reached national standards relating to the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of the nation's archive heritage. In March 2014 Falkirk Archive service was the first to achieve accredited status in Scotland. The University of Edinburgh, Centre for Research Collections was the most recently awarded service in July 2015.

The number of Scottish services expressing interest in the scheme continues to grow with 10 considering submitting an application between now and 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.