Scottish Court of Session Papers: digitisation pilot

The University of Edinburgh’s Digital Imaging Unit has undertaken a pilot project to digitise the collection of Scottish Court of Session Papers held across The Advocates Library, The Signet Library and The University of Edinburgh.

Comprising some 6,500 volumes, the collection spans 300 years as well as various sizes, condition and the occasional surprise thrown in. The pilot project has taken an evaluative sample of these volumes to establish the best methods to resolve potential difficulties a larger project will encounter.

To find out more about this project, and see photographs detailing a few of the challenges ahead for the Unit, please read this excellent blog post by the Unit:

Scottish Court of Session Papers: Digitisation Pilot (March 3rd, 2017)

Our group will certainly be following with great excitement in how the project progresses.

For a little more information about Session Papers:

Session Papers are documents used in the presentation of cases in the Court of Session, Scotland’s supreme civil court. They are the written pleadings of contested cases, plus associated documents… The papers often include non-legal documentary exhibits such as drawings, plans and maps.

(Advocates Library, Session Papers Collections)

Session papers are of great interest and use to law practitioners, law academics and researchers as well historians and sociologists. The collection has been referred by the Historiographer Royal in Scotland as “the most valuable unstudied source for Scottish history … in existence” (Faculty of Advocates, Session papers collections).


Echoes from the vault: a blog from the Special Collections of the University of St Andrews and its 2015 project

Echoes from the Vault, the Special Collections blog of the University of St Andrews, is undertaking 52 weeks of reading in 2015.

The idea behind the year of blog posts is to commit to the oft wrongly cited notion that Librarians spend their days reading books – tossing those pesky reports and user enquiries to one side – and actually spend time reading parts of the collection.

It is a great idea and one, considering the collection involved, full of interest not just to those doing the reading.

The blog explains in the introduction for the project how the contributors will select a book and be allowed some time with the original but then be given either a photocopy or electronic copy to read after hours. So no getting away from the reports and hard work after all.

The weekly posts already show the year ahead is going to be an eclectic list, ranging from a book of floral biology to The 39 Steps to family letters sent to Lt. Thomas Harrott during the Napoleonic Wars. The posts include a personal account of the reading as well as historical insights and each is copiously illustrated from the book.

To view all the posts uploaded as the year goes on, go to the blog and click on the blog tag ‘Reading the collections’.

If not quite the same as reading books all day, the blog is a delightful compromise to spend a little time if you are a librarian.