Wednesday, September 1, 2010
National Archive of Scotland
Our guide for this institution was Margaret McBride, education coordinator. The National Archives of Scotland is an agency of the Scottish government headed by the Keeper of the Records of Scotland, and answerable to the Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Parliament. Their mission statement is to preserve, protect and promote records. The organization has 3 buildings, 140 staff members and 8 websites. There are 2 basic divisions: Record Services which deals with government records, court and legal documents and collection development, and Corporate Services which handles accommodation services, finance/administration and information and communication. The archive has been open to inquires from the public since 1843.
The holdings of the NAS include 70 kilometers of shelving, from the 12th century onward including state and Parliament papers, the register of deeds and sasines, church records, wills and testaments, taxation records and much more. On the digital front, they have recently created an OPAC online catalog and created "virtual volumes" in-house, allowing patrons to access Scottish wills from 1500-1901. They also recently instituted a historical research room which deals with inquires, 80% to 90% of which are email based. They receive 10-12,000 inquires a year, most of them dealing with research on family history.