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  About the SCAN Online Catalogue

What does the online catalogue contain?

Information to help you to find whether or not a Scottish Archive holds records to help you in your search for information.

Searching the Online Catalogue will allow you to find out:

  • What archives are held in Scotland
  • Where they are held

Specific information about collections, including:

  • A brief summary of the contents of the collection
  • Information about the people/organisations who created them
  • Links to contributing archives' search rooms to find out more

The catalogue summaries the contents of collections of historical records and tells you where to go to see them. Each entry in the catalogue contains:

  • Reference code: The reference that you will quote to the archive. This is a unique code, allocated by SCAN in conjunction with the archive holding the collection, used to distinguish one archive collection from another.

  • Title: The name of the collection.

  • Dates: The covering dates for material contained in the collection.

  • Level of description: The level at which the collection has been described. Most of our descriptions are at the most general level, the collection. A collection is the archive material created by, or collected by an organisation or individual. For example: the records created or inherited by a local authority, the papers of a landed family. Sometimes we have described the records in more detail, this is where a very general description only would not cover the collection in sufficient depth.

  • Extent: This gives you an idea about how big the collection is, obviously a collection occupying 80m of shelving is going to contain a lot more records and information than one of 1cm.

  • Name of creator: The name of the person/s or organisation/s responsible for the creation or collection of the material.

  • Administrative History or Biographical History: To give you background information on the person or organisation responsible for the creation of the records.

  • Scope and content: Will summarise the main records within the collection and pick out particular items thought to be important. It does not include every item but aims to give a general overview of the types of records to be found.

  • Conditions governing access: If the archive has restrictions on access to the collection we will tell you.

  • Language: Most records are in English but sometimes the records are in Latin, Scots or other languages.

  • Finding aids: Whether the archive holding the collection has finding aids on paper, on computer or has placed copies elsewhere, for example, the National Register of Archives for Scotland.

  • Related material: Sometimes the records of a family, individual or business end up in more than one archive or in more than one collection, we will supply cross references to them where practicable.

To see SCAN's own cataloguing standard (in PDF format) click here.