Sunday, 18 November 2012

Scotsman Digital Archive - public site offline

Ruth Blair has blogged at that the Scotsman Digital Archive ( is no longer accessible by the public via subscription based access. Ruth describes it as a "sad day for people researching their Scottish ancestry".

To a point. If you live in Scotland, it is actually very easy to subscribe to the site completely free - simply sign up to the National Library of Scotland's Licensed Digital Collections at If outside Scotland, you can still sign up if you can provide a Scottish address for the library to post details to help confirm your registration. You can sign up instantly - but if you don't verify the account within a few days you will lose access to this and many other collections.

I am surprised at this development - not long ago I spoke to someone at a fair promoting the site who raised the possibility of the coverage extending beyond the current 1817-1950 period available.

(With thanks to Ruth Blair)

UPDATE:Please see the comment below from an anonymous contributor - all is not quite as it seems.


Scotland 1750-1850 - 5 weeks online Pharos course, £45.99, taught by Chris Paton from 2 NOV 2012 - see
New book: It's Perthshire 1866 - there's been a murder... (from June 12th 2012)


  1. I read the other blog but I don't see any definitive information on there - just "a little research online" The Scotsman has been on Proquest for several years and as far as I know that is not the explanation.

    I have a subscription and have been in correspondence with the site since it went down in May - the plan is/was to move to a new platform but deadlines have been pushed back continually. The last contact I had was end October when I was informed "I have been informed that the new Digital Archive site will be available next week but you will understand my reluctance to make this promise to subscribers given the length of downtime we have already suffered"

    I think it would be worth checking on the actual situation, rather than assuming the site will not be back.

  2. I'm not actually assuming anything, hence why I stated I was surprised at this. Merely pointing out that there is currently a problem, and that it can be overcome - at least for some - in the meantime by registering with the NLS. I haven't actually used the pay site for about 2 years, so many thanks for your update - very useful!


  3. Sorry - didn't mean to imply the assumption was yours :) I can't see anything definite on the web on whether the site is gone completely, or still just in limbo. I'm sure most people are using other means to access as there has been very little talk about the aid site going off line. I do also use the Proquest version but don't like the interface as much - and since I had a 2 year subscription, I still had the luxury of using the original site.

    I did find it interesting that if I now go to my old link for the paid site I get asked for a password with the reference Brightsolid. Of course this could just mean they are hosting the site, but maybe closer links are planned with one of the other Brightsolid sites?

  4. Out of interest, if you do a search for The Scotsman archives through Google (which I just did) then the first link takes you to the British Newspapers site (run by, guess who, Brightsolid) - but there is no Scotsman available there yet. Looks like the plan though? - GE (different Anonymous :-))

  5. It's up and running again but administered by the British Newspaper Archive as a stand-alone site. I had a problem with Google Chrome not showing the zoom, scrolling and grab tools and they can't find anything wrong but Google Product Forums indicates that Google Chrome does have a problem in this general area. The technical "fix" sounds complicated. Anyone else experience this? Internet Explorer works fine.

  6. Thanks Don - I've actually taken this and used it as a basis for a new post - thanks for the update! (see