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Thursday 23 March 2017

Working with the National Archives of Scotland

Based in Edinburgh, the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) plays an important role in Scotland's economic and cultural life.

In addition to advising Scottish Ministers on records and information policy, the NAS advises Scottish public authorities about the creation and management of their records, it advises public and private owners about their historical records and it provides a reference service to the public on all aspects of the national archives.

The NAS works with other bodies and projects in Scotland and beyond to preserve Scottish records and promote archives.
Informal tutorial on Scottish seals taking place in the NAS Conservation Unit

Job opportunities in the NAS

Opportunities for employment with the NAS are advertised on our vacancies page.

Training in archives

Before joining the archives profession, many individuals find work placements in archival institutions. The Society of Archivists website carries lists of placement opportunities in various archives, both paid and voluntary. They also produce a leaflet about a career in archives which lists institutions where professional archives training courses are run. In Scotland, courses are provided by the University of Glasgow and the University of Dundee.

Archives listservs, such as ARCHIVES-NRA, scotarch and RMS-Scotland, are a useful source of information about current archival issues, developments and events, and those interested in a possible archive career might consider subscribing to them.

Volunteering With NAS

Volunteers add value, support and diversity to the work of the National Archives of Scotland (NAS). Voluntary placements provide learning and citizenship opportunities and promote the NAS through engagement with the wider community. In addition, the NAS aims to support vocational volunteers wishing to pursue a career in archives and records management and professional development in general. We expect volunteers to possess qualifications or experience that enable them to make a successful contribution to the activities of the NAS.
NAS accommodates also some school work experience placements where these are arranged by schools.

The purpose of the NAS Volunteers policy is to define the relationship between the NAS and its volunteers. Volunteers are people who undertake agreed activities on behalf of the NAS without expectation of financial remuneration or a contract of employment. This policy is intended to provide volunteers, staff and other stakeholders with an understanding of voluntary placements, to clarify expectations and to ensure good practice, quality and fairness.

Download the NAS Volunteers Policy – Acrobat PDF, 24KB, new window

Special projects and partnerships

The NAS initiates - or is invited to join - projects and partnerships which improve access to the historical records of Scotland and the NAS Conservation Unit collaborates with other bodies to share expertise in conservation and preservation techniques, and to ensure the preservation and exhibition of Scotland's records in the best possible conditions. The NAS is (or has recently been) invloved with the following archival and related projects:
  • Scottish Archive Network (SCAN):
    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 provides a single electronic catalogue to the holdings of more than 50 Scottish archives and digitises original records on a huge scale.

  • Scottish Family History Service
    A joint project between NAS, the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) and the Lord Lyon to provide one point of access for genealogical data in Scotland.

  • Changing Collagen Hierarchies in Parchment
    A partnership between the National Archives of Scotland, the Conservation Research Section of The National Archives (at Kew) and the University of Cardiff to study the treatment of parchment artefacts.
    Download more details of the Collagen Hierarchies project - Acrobat PDF 23KB, new window

  • Charting the Nation
    A project describing the mapping of Scotland between 1550 and 1740, developed in conjunction with the Geography Department of the University of Edinburgh and now managed by Edinburgh University Library.

  • Displaying the Declaration of Arbroath
    A partnership between the Advanced Manufacturing Unit of Heriot Watt University, the Getty Conservation Institute and the National Archives of Scotland to make an exhibition case for the Declaration of Arbroath at the Scottish Parliament.
    Download more details of the Case construction- Acrobat PDF 2.65MB, new window

  • The Drawn Evidence
    Led by the University of Dundee, this project was set up to provide images of architectural drawings and related text from 1780 to date.

  • Finding the Right Clinical Notes
    An online database and website dedicated to promoting intellectual access to personal health records in Scotland between 1600 and 1994. This project was led by Lothian Health Services Archive.

  • Future of the Book conservation projects
    From 1 April 2006 onwards the NAS will be collaborating with the British Library, the Centre for Sustainable Heritage at University College London, the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde and six other archives and libraries in two projects researching the impact of environmental conditions on book preservation and the future of book storage and conservation. The first project will examine copies of the same books held by various libraries and compare how differences in their storage conditions and use have affected their state of preservation. The second project, scheduled to start in 2007, will analyse the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) given off by books. Both projects are funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, and will be managed by Dr Barry Knight, Head of Conservation Research in the Collection Care department of the British Library.


    Dr Lorraine Gibson
    Senior Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry
    Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry
    University of Strathclyde,
    G1 1XL
    Telephone:+44 141 548 2224

    Claire Robertson
    Analytical Section (R5-01)
    Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry
    University of Strathclyde
    G1 1XL
    Telephone: 0141 548 2139

    National Archives of Scotland
    Thomas Thomson House
    99 Bankhead Crossway North
    EH11 4DX

  • Heritage smells! – AHRC research project
    A newly launched research project, funded by the AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage Programme and led by Dr Lorraine T. Gibson of the University of Strathclyde, brings together leading scientists in the fields of chemistry, physics, statistics, heritage science and sensor technology to develop new diagnostic tools that will ‘sniff’ objects.  The aim is to evaluate collections in museums, archives, libraries or other heritage organisations to evaluate their environment, conservation history, composition, condition or stability – without touching the object.

    Read more about the Heritage smells! AHRC project – Acrobat PDF, 24.8KB, new window

  • Resources for Learning in Scotland
    An online resource providing digital content for lifelong learners about the social, cultural and industrial history of Scotland. It is led by the National Library of Scotland and its website is managed by Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network (SCRAN).

  • Scottish East Coast Fisheries project
    This project tells the story of fishing and maritime communities in the East of Scotland and their way of life. It was led by East Lothian Council Museums Service.

  • Scottish Canals Virtual Archive project
    This is an electronic catalogue of records relating to the major Scottish canals. It is part of the British Waterways' larger Virtual Archive Catalogue project.

  • The Statistical Accounts of Scotland project
    The publication of the first Statistical Account of Scotland dates from 1791-9, the second from 1845. The NAS is a member of the joint and editorial boards of this project, which is run by the EDINA national data centre at the University of Edinburgh and provides online digital access to the individual parish accounts of the local history, society and economy of Scotland.
  • Translational conservation: From Scientist to Conservator to Practitioner
    The purpose of the research cluster is to develop 'Translational Conservation', a term borrowed from Translational Medicine, which is a concept that incorporates a 'from bench to bedside' approach of continuity in information flow. The aim is to foster the growth and advancement of meaningful communication and collaboration between scientists, conservators and practitioners. The cluster will be based on discussion of needs, expectations and feasibility with specific reference to target topics such as a potential interdisciplinary collaborative project on 15th century Chaucer manuscripts. The cluster will highlight the importance of new and existing technologies and historical theories and methodologies to help inform conservation and literary historians using a science based approach. The cluster activities will cover a range of workshops, a symposium and a one-day conference entitled ‘The Sacrificial Sample, Beyond the Written Word, Representation of Data and Translational Conservation’. These activities, which are detailed later within the proposal, are seen as initial points which will promote additional exchange of ideas.

    Download more details on Translational conservation - Acrobat 44KB, new window.

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Page last updated: Tuesday 15 June 2010

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