Scottish Archive Network About Us - What is the Scottish Archive Network

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  What is SCAN?

The Scottish Archive Network was formed in August 1999 to improve access to Scotland's archives by utilising recent advances in computer and digital imaging technology, the Internet and the expertise of Scotland's professonal archivists.

The project has been funded (until Spring 2004) by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) and the National Archives of Scotland (NAS). From Spring 2004 onwards the project's websites, electronic catalogue and digital imaging projects will be maintained by the National Archives of Scotland.

The main achievements of the project have been:

  • a single electronic catalogue to more than 20,000 collections of historical records held by 52 Scottish archives

  • a website ( which makes the catalogue available online, as well as providing up-to-date contact details for Scottish archives, a suite of research tools for those studying Scottish history and genealogy, and a digital archive containing high-quality images of selected Scottish historical records

  • a long-term digitisation programme, making high-quality digital surrogates of historical records on a huge scale, linked to conservation treatment of fragile original records, resulting in vast improvements to the preservation and access of millions of pages of information

  • a single computerised index to the wills and testaments of Scots from 1500 to 1901, linked to digital images of the documents, and made available free of charge in the searchrooms of the National Archives of Scotland, and also online on an award-winning e-commerce site