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

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 Digitisation Programme

The Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) is a project whose partners are the National Archives of Scotland (NAS), the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU). The project has begun the digitisation and indexing of Scottish historical records on a huge scale in order to preserve the original records and to make digital surrogates more widely available.

Between 2000 and 2004 SCAN digitised all 520,000 surviving wills and testaments registered in Scottish commissary courts and sheriff courts between 1500 and 1901: in total more than 2 million images. These have been linked to a single index compiled by SCAN using earlier incomplete indexes and partly from scratch. The index can be searched for free and the images viewed for free at the National Archives of Scotland. In addition the index can be searched for free on the ScotlandsPeople website at, where images can also be purchased by credit card.

From 2004 onwards SCAN is concentrating on the digitisation of Scotland's kirk session and presbytery records: church court records from every parish in Scotland. The digitisation alone will require more than 4 years' work.

SCANhas also digitised a variety of records from many of its 52 participating archives. Some are used in exhibitions and transcription projects by the archives themselves, while others are gradually being added to SCAN's
Digital Archive.

Managing quality

It was important that the digitisation project paid due regard to preservation concerns. For more information about the SCAN project's methods of selection and assessment of material, preparation and pagination, handling training for camera operators, image capture and quality, data back up, and image resilience see our page on Managing Quality. You can also read our conservation report and our digital imaging standards report.