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Sunday 23 November 2014
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News: Records of the Scottish Parliament launched

The records of the old Scottish Parliament have gone online. This new resource allows searching of a database of every act from 1235 up to the Union in 1707, and was created by a team from St Andrews University. The database supersedes the published edition of the 'Acts of the Scottish Parliaments', which was edited by Thomas Thomson, Deputy Clerk Register in Register House, and Cosmo Innes, between 1814 and 1844, and was followed by an index volume in 1875.

On 15 May 2008 the Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, launched the database at the Scottish Parliament, and warmly congratulated the team, led by Prof Keith Brown. It took the St Andrews team 11 years to create the online edition of 16.5 million words covering the acts, minutes of meetings and other papers. In order to create searchable transcriptions and modern translations the project researchers consulted the original records. Most of the documents are preserved in the National Archives of Scotland (NAS), but the team also unearthed records elsewhere which were unknown to the nineteenth century editors.

Launch of online project at the Scottish Parliament
Launching the online project at the Scottish Parliament: (l-r) Bruno Longmore (NAS), Prof Keith Brown (St Andrews University, project director), Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Deputy First Minister), Dr Gillian MacIntosh (St Andrews University, project manager), Alex Fergusson MSP (Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament), Dr Brian Lang, (Principal of St Andrews University).

The NAS carried out conservation work to facilitate access to the more fragile documents, advised the project, and acted as a channel for the majority of the funding by the Scottish Government (formerly the Scottish Executive). Given the NAS's historic links with the records, it has been fitting that, as Scotland's oldest national collection, NAS have supported a project by Scotland's oldest university.

Mr George MacKenzie, Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said 'We're delighted that the latest technology is being used to widen access to the invaluable historical material contained in the acts of the old Scottish Parliaments. The standard printed edition was produced in Register House in the 19th century, and the National Archives of Scotland are pleased to have been able to support the work of St Andrews University in creating the new online edition in the 21st century.'

The online resource gives worldwide access to a key part of Scotland's history, not just for the academic community, but for everyone with an interest in Scottish history.

  
 
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