The National Library of Scotland plans to put a third of its renowned collection of 24 million items online in the next 10 years in one of the biggest programmes of its kind anywhere in Europe.
As a companion to its George IV Bridge physical building in Edinburgh, centuries of knowledge and learning are to be made available online under major plans to turn Scotland’s premier library into a global digital destination.
It will be a gateway to information on Scottish culture and history that will allow millions of people to view unique documents including manuscripts of major Scottish writers such as Robert Burns and Walter Scott, fascinating official reports on many subjects, thousands of films on life in Scotland, and — bringing things up to date — memorabilia from last year’s referendum on Scottish independence, among many others.
Learn more in the video below, “The Way Forward: Library Strategy 2015-2020” explaining how the National Library of Scotland aims to be one of the best national libraries in Europe.
The Library is committed to making as much material digitally available as possible, subject to restrictions imposed by copyright or conditions set by publishers. This includes not only precious manuscripts, rare books, maps, sound archives, e-books and journals, but business information, databases and other content that will contribute to economic growth and social wellbeing.
“The internet has created a revolution in how people expect to be able to access information,’ said National Librarian Dr John Scally. ‘We want people to be able to connect to our collections from wherever they are, rather than having to consult material in the Library as has been the case for most of our existence. We are committed to removing as many barriers as possible that prevent people accessing our collections and services.
He added: “Our role is to be the guardian of the published and recorded memory of Scotland for current and future generations. Our aim is to make the knowledge held within our collections as widely available as possible.”
Although digital developments present many opportunities, Dr Scally stressed that the physical book and the Library as a physical destination will continue to play a central role in its plans. Supporting research and improving traditional library services will remain a key priority.