Archives Accreditation Award: National Library of Scotland

Archives Accreditation Award: National Library of Scotland

We are delighted to announce that the latest service to be awarded Accredited Archive Status is the National Library of Scotland. Encompassing a traditional archive repository with many major collections, mostly dating from the late 17th to the 20th century, the National Library is also home to Scotland’s national collection of moving images, with almost 50,000 items, including film cans, videotapes and digital files.

John Murray Archive

National Library of Scotland becomes the ninth Scottish service to achieve Accredited Status. The Accreditation Panel which made the award noted:

The Panel congratulated the Library on its clear strategic approach. It was good to see the institution as a whole looking ahead to building audiences after the investment of recent years in systems and structures.

The Panel commended the open, outward-looking approach of the Library, particularly as demonstrated through the Kelvin Hall development which had transformed access to its Moving Image and Sound Collections, and its growing outreach activities across Scotland. With the Library looking towards its centenary there were opportunities to reframe the offer at George IV Bridge, and to continue to build audiences for the exceptionally significant archive collections.

John Murray Archive
Items from the John Murray Archive, photo by Torquil Cramer
















National Librarian Dr John Scally said:

“This is a very important industry standard to meet in the archives world. The process involves a thorough inspection of everything we do – from the cataloguing and conservation of our collections including manuscripts, archives, sound, moving image and digital content through to the provision of access.

The accreditation is a testament to the hard work we have done over the years to ensure our collections are protected to the highest standard, as well as our efforts to reach people throughout Scotland. We have expanded our physical presence beyond Edinburgh by opening a facility in Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, we have travelled the country delivering outreach programmes, and we are rapidly accelerating our digital offer to meet growing demand. We are therefore very pleased to gain this recognition.”

Based at the Library’s main building on George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, the Archives and Manuscripts Collections Division holdings’ include the papers of major politicians, military leaders, and other public figures of international significance, including writers, philosophers and historians, scientists, engineers, missionaries and explorers. Recent acquisitions of significance include the personal archives of Muriel Spark, and of Ian Rankin. It is also home to the largest collection of medieval Scottish Gaelic manuscripts in the world.

15th Century Gaelic medical manuscript, from the Library’s collection inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.


The Moving Image and Sound Collections, based at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, collects, preserves and promotes access to films capturing Scotland and its people, from the early days of film-making to the present day. With cutting-edge facilities for viewing films in a range of analogue and digital formats, this allows easy access to explore a rich and varied collection.

Keeper of the Records of Scotland Paul Lowe said:

“I want to congratulate the National Library of Scotland in achieving accredited archive status. Accredited Archive Services across the country ensure the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of our rich archive heritage. Accreditation is a rigorous process, assessed against a UK quality standard, which recognises excellent performance in all areas of archive service delivery. The accreditation approach fosters a culture of continuous improvement across Scottish archives. National Library of Scotland are the custodians of archive collections of national and international significance. They have achieved this standard through a continued commitment to their care of the treasured collections they hold, while ensuring they can be accessed by a broad audience.”


The following services across the UK have also been awarded Accredited Archive Status:

Brent Museum Archives

Historic England Archive

Modern Records Centre: Warwick University

Archive Service Accreditation is supported by a partnership of the Archives and Records Association (UK), Archives and Records Council Wales, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Scottish Council on Archives, The UK National Archives, and the Welsh Government through its Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales division. Scottish awards are co-assessed by representatives from National Records of Scotland and the Scottish Council on Archives.

For more information on Archives Accreditation visit: