Friday, 3 July 2015

County Surveys of Great Britain project developments

I've been kindly contacted by Nicola Osborne of the EDINA project at the University of Edinburgh to be informed of two major developments with her project. Here they are in Nicola's own words:

Last week we launched our County Surveys Online Bibliographic Tool. This is part of the final outputs from our County Surveys pilot project, which has been looking at "Considered Digitisation" - an approach to identify what has been digitised already and where there there are particularly gaps to target new digitisation work.

The Bibliographic tool is a bibliography of the 1793-1817 County Surveys of Great Britain and it also includes facilities to search for County Surveys from a variety of digitised text providers (e.g. Hathi, NLS, Google Books etc). You can identify what has been digitised and made available, and you can click through to access those digitised copies where available.

There's a blog post about this here:

And you can access the tool here:

There are also some County Survey volumes being digitised as part of this work which will come later on in the project, along with some reporting and recommendations around digitisation practices.

It would be great to help get word out about this resource as we think that that ability to quickly identify and locate copies is likely to be of particular interest to genealogists and local historians. Because this is a demonstrator/pilot tool we are really keen to hear all comments, feedback etc. So if you (or any of your readers/clients/etc) have any questions or feedback on the tool or the project my colleague, Lisa Otty (cc'd), is the best person to speak to.

Nicola has also informed me that there will also be another Statistical Accounts of Scotland show at The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas at this year's Fringe Festival! For further details visit The show will be based around the Second Accounts (1834-45) and will draw parallels between some of the social circumstances now and then, from library provision/staffing to schools to disability benefit. Again, from Nicola:

There are some really interesting and challenging issues around what existed then, what cuts and policy changes mean for our current/recent services, and what that might mean we end up with. So I'm wanting to provoke discussion on the role of the state - and communities and others - to support individuals, and to get some discussion going on how we might get "back to the future" in the sense of moving on from 1845 style social policies...

The show is on Wednesday 26th August at The Stand in the Square. Sounds fascinating!

(With thanks to Nicola!)


The latest British GENES podcast is available at For details on my latest book Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, and my other genealogy guide books, please visit

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