Report to Heritage Lottery Fund

October 1999          

Report No 8





Issues Not Resolved


Issue 99/3 Cashflow

This remains unsolved, currently awaiting response from HLF (see minutes of meeting of 11 August 1.1.b.)  This is now a third “nag.”


Issue  99/6

Delays in appointing staff.

There is still a delay in appointing the IT staff, resulting from cumbersome procedures in the Scottish Executive.  The revised documentation has just been received from personnel  and the posts are to be advertised shortly.  The administrator post has been filled by an individual found on a civil service wide trawl;  he will take up post at the beginning of January.. 


Issue 99/7 Drawdown Process

There are still delays in the drawdown process.  The second request was sent first class, posted at the main Edinburgh sorting office on 9 September. Payment of the drawdown reached the bank account on 25 October. 


The staff cost information we are receiving from Scottish Executive personnel section is very slow to arrive; internal efforts are being made to speed this up.




Top Level Finding Aids Project

The first two recruits to the project joined the staff on 11 October, in the person of John MacKenzie and Rachael Third.  Both received induction training largely concentrated into their first two weeks, mostly supplied by Alan Borthwick, but some arranged by NAS Training staff.  After the formal induction time was spent on drafting typical TLFA entries for NAS records, to familiarise all the staff with the format for entries and the standards to be adopted.  All being well these draft entries will be available for the SCAN prototype web-site.  A preliminary visit was paid to Stirling Council Archives on 26 October, to introduce the new staff to the contents of a typical local authority archive.  Arrangements were made for the first general participating archive meeting, to be held at Thomas Thomson House on 15 November.  In the continued absence of a project administrator the arrangements for the meeting are being mostly handled by TLFA staff.





Special Archive Services Project


Joanna Baird completed a draft tender for a web-site designer.  We are still awaiting confirmation of the necessary tendering process before submitting the tender. Work continued on the development and refinement of the Scottish Archive Network prototype web-site. The development of the site and the integration of databases cannot get underway until the IT staff have been recruited.


The first recruit to the project, Robin Urquhart, joined the staff on 28 October. Robin began work on creating entries for the Knowledge Base feature of the web-site. The digital camera is still undergoing repair in Germany but is expected to be returned in early-mid November.  Consequently, no images were made during the course of October.  However, the acquisition of a scanner and hand-held digital camera right at the end of October has meant that it should be possible to create some images for features and exhibitions during the course of November.


Joanna Baird joined Hazel Anderson on a visit to the Public Record Office on October 7 to see a demonstration of the British Record Association’s programme of digitising seals. Joanna also attended the  ‘Digitisation of European Cultural Heritage’ conference in Utrecht from 21-23 October.


Testaments Project


Curatorial recruits, Jane Hill and Margaret Fox, joined the project on 18 and 25 October respectively. Each will be working part-time. Jane is currently checking warrants of testaments to establish how many are unregistered. Margaret is working on the testaments pages of the SCAN website.

During the month a preliminary schedule was sent out to suppliers who had expressed an interest in the digitising equipment specification published in the EU journal last April. The detailed specification, written by Rob Mildren, was approved by Seamus Ross and was issued on 28 October.

The data-capture specification for re-keying the testaments indexes was also written, ready for issue at the beginning of November.

Hazel Anderson visited the Public Record Office with Joanna Baird on 7 October to see the BRA’s seals digitisation programme. She also chaired a training session on digitisation for the Society of Archivists Scottish region at Perth on 22 October.


Throughput Reports


Full conservation of 11 volumes.  Further information on conservation output should be available from the database in future.




Invoices to the value of £59,748.31 were submitted for drawdown on 24 October.



As requested at the last evaluation meeting, a spreadsheet showing actual expenditure against the project budget has been produced.  This was initially sent to Dr Smethurst for comment.  Once the format is agreed, this will be added to future reports.




Total Staff Employed at 30 September 1999


New Appointments

4 full-time equivalents

Posts backfilled









Software licenses for Office 2000 for project staff;

4 notebook PCs for TLFA team

hand held digital camera

flatbed scanner (for non archival material)


In Progress

Digital Cameras (9) 

Deadline for return of tenders for these cameras is 6 December;

Website design .

q       specification completed


Participating Archives


No of Participating Archives at month end


Changes since last report



The Waterways Trust, which is carrying out a survey and cataloguing project on all canal records in Scotland (as part of a wider UK initiative) joined the project during October.



Statistics on Use of Network Facilities


Nothing to report




Recruitment of members continues, and the first meeting will be held early in 2000.



Project Board


The board met on 10 November. The minutes of the meeting will be tabled at the Monitoring Meeting on 11 November.



11 November  1999