Report to Heritage Lottery Fund

December 1999      

Report No 10





Issues Not Resolved


Issue 99/3 Cashflow

This remains unresolved. Mr Cadell has written to Dr Smethurst.


Issue  99/6

Delays in appointing staff.

The IT posts have now been advertised and applicants will be interviewed in February.


Issue 99/7 Drawdown Process

The delays remain.




Top Level Finding Aids Project

Each of John MacKenzie, Rachael Third and Jo Peattie spent several days undertaking the creation of TLFAs for respectively Falkirk Museum History Research Centre, Angus Archives and Perth and Kinross Council Archives, under the general guidance of Alan Borthwick and of the appropriate head of repository.  Good progress was made in the course of the month, despite the proximity of Christmas/New Year; and it is expected that at least one of these TLFAs will be more or less complete by the end of January.  In the absence of the SCAN IT complement, it was difficult to make much progress with data output consideration, and the TLFA project has therefore concentrated for now on creating TLFA entries which will be available for experimentation by the IT staff when they arrive.


Alan presented a paper (more or less identical to that given at the Edinburgh meeting in November) about the work of the TLFA project to the Participating Archives meeting held in Aberdeen on 9 December.  In the absence of the overall project administrator, Alan undertook the majority of the organization for the meeting. 


A sub-project board meeting, attended by Alan, Ishbel Barnes and Iain Flett, archivist of Dundee City Archives, was held on 13 December, at which the model for the TLFA creation and associated issues was discussed.  (Mr Flett was selected to be the outside representative on the sub-project board  as an experienced local authority archivist, whose knowledge might in particular assist with the present round of TLFA work.) 


Alan, Ishbel and Rob Mildren attended a meeting at the National Library of Scotland on 15 December to discuss the mechanics for the creation of the NLS TLFA, which is accepted as being one of the most difficult to compile.  (NLS is the second-largest archive holder amongst the SCAN participating archives.) 


Special Archive Services Project

Joanna Baird begun work on the layout of an internet exhibition containing images of trade cards and letterheads. Robin Urquhart worked on the structure of ‘person’, ‘subject’, and ‘family history’ Knowledge Base entries and compiled a plan of the SCAN family history facility. Robin also carried out some research for the exhibition on the Highland Railway to be held in conjunction with the National Railway Museum. Joanna repeated her presentation on the Special Archive Services Project to the participating archive meeting at Aberdeen on Thursday 9 December.  Robin Urquhart attended a two-day training course on designing web pages using ‘FrontPage ‘98’on 7 and 8 December.


Joanna liaised with Margaret Fox on developing the ‘Scottish Wills’ part of the prototype web-site before integrating Margaret’s work into the prototype site. 


Joanna compiled a revised project plan for work to be done with the Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network (SCRAN) and submitted it to them on 22 December.  Some further changes were required and a finalised project plan was agreed on 23 December.


The prototype website will be available for the HLF monitors to see during their next visit.



Testaments Project

 The advertisement for the vacant conservator post appeared on 1 December, with a closing date of 15 December for applicants. Two applications were received. Interviews will take place in the last week of January, to suit the requirements of Scottish Executive Personnel staff.


Four tenders for the digital cameras were received on the due date of 6 December. As a result, three demonstrations were arranged – two on-site at Thomas Thomson House and one in Germany, at the Jenoptik factory near Munich (attended by Hazel Anderson). It was decided to visit the supplier in order to avoid delaying the evaluation process, as Jenoptik would have been unable to stage an on-site demonstration until the week beginning 17 January. Longer trials of the three cameras should take place on-site at the beginning of February.


An initial version of the Wills pages for the SCAN prototype website was completed by Margaret Fox for the SCAN directors meeting on 14 December.


Jane Hill began checking, selecting and numbering the pre-1824 warrants series of Aberdeen testaments (CC1/6).


 Mr and Mrs Blakely (GSU volunteers) continued their work of paginating and indexing post-1824 Aberdeen testaments registers.


Hazel Anderson gave a presentation on the Testaments project at a SCAN participating archives meeting held in Aberdeen on 9 December.



Throughput Reports




Warrants (CC1/6) checked, selected and numbered:

16 bundles; 3906 items numbered.

Testaments registers (SC1/36) paginated and indexed:

15 volumes; 2000 index entries


Volumes assessed: 0

Folios cleaned: 2,850

Volumes paginated: 5,699

Folios conserved: 349

Volumes re-bound: 0

Volumes completed: 10


Special Archive Services

Draft Entries added to topic and FAQ pages of Knowledge Database:

10 topic pages and 21 FAQ’s

Completed Entries added to topic and FAQ pages of Knowledge Database:




TLFA entries drafted: 450

TLFA entries completed: 0




Unchanged. We are waiting for comments on November drawdown




Total Staff Employed at 31 December 1999


New Appointments









In Progress

Data capture of testaments index

Digital cameras

Website design


Participating Archives


No of Participating Archives at month end


Changes since last report




Statistics on Use of Network Facilities

None available



A list of names of the members of the users group will be sent with the January report.



Project Board

The Board met on 12 January. The minutes are appended to this report.




Ishbel Barnes

18 January 2000


























Notes of Project Board Meeting

12 January 2000


Present: Ishbel Barnes, Rob Mildren, Stuart Low


1.   Review of December work plans and agreement on January work plans:


1. 1      Testaments sub-Project


1.1.1    It was noted that there had been some slippage due to delays in

acquiring digital cameras and in the recruitment of conservation staff.

1.1.2    Two conservators have applied for the conservator post and interviews should take place on 26/01/00.

1.1.3    The audit trail is now complete.

            1.1.4    Representatives of the GSU will be visiting SCAN w/c 17/01/00.

1.1.5    Work on the Edinburgh testaments is about to begin.

1.1.6    Digital cameras are due to be delivered in February for 1 week, on-site, trials.


The sub-Project work plan for February was approved. 


2.2       Top Level Finding Aids sub-Project


2.2.1    It was noted that there were still some difficulties associated with the creation of Name Authority files. Ishbel Barnes is meeting Dick Sargent on 20/01/00 to resolve any remaining difficulties.

2.2.2    It was noted that the work on biographic/administrative histories was not proceeding as quickly as planned. It was suggested that the situation be reviewed in August to allow a benchmark checking time to be established.


The sub-Project work plan for February was approved.

2.3       Special Archive Services sub-Project


2.3.1    Web site tendering – see item 4.

2.3.2    The prototype web site should be available on the intranet to all NAS staff by the end of January.


The sub-Project work plan for February was approved. 


3          Staffing


4.1              The project administrator took up post on 10/01/00.

4.2              The two IT vacancies have now been advertised and interviews will take place in February.

4.3              Interviews for the remaining conservator post will take place in January.

4.4              It was agreed that the recruitment process for one of the Digital Imaging posts should start now.

4.5              It was agreed that a monthly statement of salaries must be obtained from the Scottish Executive even though they are at present only able to provide them quarterly.

4.6              An invoicing system needs to be set up for GSU staff in order to draw down nominated funding from HLF. An invoice is initially required for the period November to December 1999.


4.                  Tenders


4.1              Three tenders for the web site are currently being considered.

4.2       It was agreed to discuss the financial implications of choosing the more expensive tender options with the HLF.


5.         Finance


5.1       Rob Mildren and Stuart Low will meet with Jim Grady on 14/01/2000.



The next Project Board meeting will be held on 16 February at 10.00 in Thomas Thomson House, Bankhead Crossway North, Edinburgh.



12 January 2000