Report to Heritage Lottery Fund

November 1999     

Report No 9





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.)  Mr Cadell is now to take the matter up directly with the HLF.


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 however now been filled by Mr Low 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




Top Level Finding Aids Project

The third and final recruit to the project joined the staff on 1 November, in the person of Jo Peattie.  She received induction training spread through the month, 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 her with the format for entries and the standards to be adopted.  All being well these draft entries, and those compiled by John MacKenzie and Rachael Third, will be available for the SCAN prototype web-site.  It was agreed that Jo would be responsible for the creation of the Perth and Kinross Council Archive TLFA; John for the Falkirk History Research Centre one; and Rachael for the Angus Archives one.  Work on all three TLFAs was started during the month, preceded by the assessment visit, which produced the required assessment report showing the scope of the work in each archive.  The first general participating archive meeting (attended by about 45 people) was held at Thomas Thomson House on 15 November.  Alan Borthwick gave a presentation about the work of the TLFA project, showing the draft template for use by the project staff when capturing data for the 12 or so elements of ISAD(G) which will be used by SCAN.  There was discussion during the day about the elements being used and related issues.  After the second meeting, arranged for 9 December in Aberdeen, a summary of the presentations and discussion will be issued to all the participating archives.



Special Archive Services Project

Robin Urquhart and Joanna Baird agreed on a format for Knowledge Base entries (main topic page leading to FAQ’s) and Robin began adding entries to a database.  Robin has also begun research for the exhibition on the Highland Railway and has created some specimen examples for the palaeography feature of the Scottish Archive Network prototype web-site.


Robin attended the National Archives of Scotland induction day on Wednesday 3 November.  Joanna and Robin had a tour of West Register House on Friday 26 November.  Robin attended the Scottish Records Association conference on Friday 12 November and Joanna and Robin both attended a conference on ‘Creating Scholarly Resources in the Digital Age’ held at the Royal Society in Edinburgh on Thursday 18 November.  Joanna Baird gave a presentation on the Special Archive Services project at the participating archives meeting held on 15 November.  Joanna Baird had a meeting with staff from the Publications and Education department of the National Archives of Scotland regarding co-ordination with their web-site on Tuesday 23 November.  Joanna gave a brief demonstration of the prototype web-site to Professor Alex Murdoch and students from the Scottish History department, University of Edinburgh on Monday 29 November.


The tender for the web-site designer was completed and approved and sent out to 6 companies on Monday 29 November.


Changes to the computer system and the network during the course of both October and November 1999 have affected the work that could be carried out by the Special Archive Services team. The lack of IT staff (see Issue 99/6 above) has caused considerable delays to the development of the prototype web-site.  It has not been possible to integrate databases or to make the existing databases fully relational.


Although the digital camera is still undergoing repair in Germany the scanner and hand-held camera have enabled the Special Archive Services team to produce limited amounts of images for both the virtual tour feature and for exhibitions (they cannot be used for original material which limits their usefulness in an archival context).


Testaments Project

 The first two GSU volunteers, Mr Robert and Mrs LouAnn Blakely, arrived at the end of the month and started work on paginating and indexing 19th century registers of inventories for Aberdeen (SC1/36). They have received induction training at TTH, but will receive their NAS induction training early next year, once they are joined by more of their GSU colleagues.


On 15th November a notice of the phased withdrawal of the Edinburgh Testaments registers (CC8/8) from January to May 2000 was issued in the NAS search rooms, in accordance with agreed procedure between NAS and SCAN.


The text for the conservator post advertisement was agreed with the Scottish Executive personnel team, ready for publication in the Society of Archivists Newsletter and the Paper Conservation News on 1st December. It is hoped to recruit the conservator in January 2000. 


During the month the invitations to tender for data capture of the testaments indexes were issued and a supplier chosen. A test re-keying project is now under way and the whole exercise is scheduled for completion in April 2000. A tender evaluation report has been written.


Invitations to tender for the digital cameras were also issued (the specification having been approved by Seamus Ross), for which the closing date is 6th December.


Hazel Anderson gave a presentation on the Testaments Project at the meeting for participating archives held at TTH on 15th November.


 The Testaments Project board held meetings on 10th and 29th November to monitor progress on the October and November work plans.


Throughput Reports





Invoices to the value of £27628.09 were submitted for drawdown on 29 November.






Total Staff Employed at 30 November 1999


New Appointments











q       office equipment for SCAN staff (see cost spreadsheet for details)

In Progress

q       data capture of testaments index

q       purchase of digital cameras


Participating Archives


No of Participating Archives at month end


Changes since last report




Statistics on Use of Network Facilities


Nothing to report




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



Project Board


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





20 December 1999