Hello, it’s been a while! We cannot believe how quickly our time here at RCAHMS is passing. Last month we finished a four week placement with Scran the online service for culture, heritage and learning. Scran provides access to over 480,000 digital resources. With resources from archives, media, museums and galleries- including images, text, videos and audio clips-Scran provide a service that is widely used by Scottish schools, colleges and universities.
Our time with Scran focused on The Scotsman Publications content; working with an image archive that holds a staggering 66,348 records. First published in 1817, The Scotsman is one of Scotland’s oldest newspapers, however the majority of records available through Scran date from the 1950s onwards. The original glass plate negatives were digitised in 1999 in preparation for The Scotsman’s move to a new headquarters. The digital records are available via Scran, and the actual negatives are housed in the Scottish Life Archive at the National Museums of Scotland.
We were fortunate to visit the Scottish Life Archive, located in the newly opened NMS Collection Centre at Granton in Edinburgh. It was interesting to see the tangible Scotsman image archive housed at the store, highlighting the vastness of the collection and giving context to our task.
We had three tasks to complete during our placement. The first was to select and enhance between 50 and 100 image records each, ensuring that these were eye-catching and also iconic. This proved a lot more difficult than anticipated and it is hard to believe that we only skimmed the surface of the Scotsman collection! We were given a list of suggested social history themes to help us navigate the collection and to help us form themes and topics for research.
Although working on the same task, the selection and research process differed for each of us. By the end of the second week we had collected a variety of images between us. Fiona M chose a number of images of Highland Travellers, photos from the Gaelic Mòds and images of the Western Isles. Chris collected a number of images on the features of Edinburgh and the Common Ridings while I focused on iconic images of Glasgow and of various annual festivities and celebrations. Our research into the topics equipped us for the task of editing the individual records themselves and for the image pitch to members of the Scran team. All 156 of all our Scotsman images will be featured in a digital exhibition at the Commission from September.
Here are some of our favourite images:
The final task was to choose 52 of the most visually appealing Scotsman images which will be shared from the Scran twitter account throughout the year .Our tweets will go live from the beginning of August, so keep an eye on the Scran twitter here.
Reflecting on our time with Scran, we have gained a lot of invaluable knowledge and experience, applicable not just to the rest of our traineeship but to our future careers within the heritage sector. We have a better understanding of social media tools such as Twitter and Tweetdeck, and now recognise the role they play in the promotion of educational materials. Working with the Scran team gave us the chance to appreciate the work they do behind the scenes and also the importance of their website as an educational resource.
We are currently working on our newsletter, so keep your eyes peeled!