Scottish Distributed Digital Library

The Scottish Distributed Digital Library is a collection of texts, images, and sounds with Scottish themes that can be found throughout the internet. There are several areas on this website. The first is collections which are an alphabetical listing of holdings and you can either use the SCONE collections landscape or click on the highlighted title to take you to the link. There are 231 entries on this page.

The first one I clicked on was “John Thomson’s Atlas of Scotland, 1832” and it took me to the digital file at the National Library of Scotland. When I clicked on Renfrewshire I got a map that I was able to expand and look at in more detail. The boundaries are done in colour and there is some detail in the form of trees, loughs, mountains and roads but no homes except when in the towns where you can see the homes lined along the street in black blocks. There are town and parish names on the maps as well as reference names such as Barracks and chapel. There are a lot of names on the map and it can be difficult to find that place of interest.

What I like about the maps is the detail and the fact that at the borders they name the next county so you know what to look at next. You will also find an index for each county. The index includes references to find the place on the map. On the reference page for the index you will find a link to the map for that county.

When I clicked on the section for books there was a link to follow but it was broken. It mentioned Scotland’s Culture so I found that website. Here they show you how to search for many topics and to use “Worldcat… the largest network of library and content services.” On Worldcat you can do a search and it will tell you the closest library for your area where the book can be found. It will also provide you with a link to digital copies, if they are available, and you can view it online. I clicked on “Loyalty and Identity: Jacobites at Home and Abroad” by Murray Pittock, Paul Kleber Monod and D. Szechi. It was published in 2009 and a table of contents is shown on the page along with a brief summary. You are required to purchase this eBook.

So I tried another one. This time “Strongholds of the picts: the fortifications of dark age Scotland” by Angus Konstam and Peter Dennis. It was published in 2010. This took me to ebrary where I was able to read the book online for free. I found this process a bit hit and miss.

They also have a Metasearch and when I clicked on “select others” there was a display of all the available catalogues. Here I selected “check all” and I put in Scotland family history as my search term. I got hits for a few libraries. Some said “Source did not open”, “No matches found” and “Shortcut was not found.”

I chose the results from Glasgow Caledonian University Library catalogue which had ten results. None of the results were digital but they provided some reference material that I had not previously known. It would have been nice if there had been more of a description of the book available, but then I can search for it on Worldcat to find out more.

The last selection was Subjects. Here they provide a long alphabetical list of items. Under Glasgow (Scotland) – History I chose eBooks about Glasgow and got seven books on Glasgow. One of interest to those who might have professional ancestors from Glasgow was “Memoirs and portraits of one hundred Glasgow men who have died during the last thirty years and in their lives did much to make the city what it now is” by James MacLehose, 1886. There are biographies and pictures of the gentlemen.

Another one was “Glimpses of Old Glasgow” by Andrew Aird which was published in 1894. There are Contents and Indexes to choose from but the indexes are a little misleading as they index the topics discussed and then there is an index within that index. A lot of the biographies have to do with Ministers of the church and well to do citizens. One section of interest is Events which provides some background on things like “Electric Lighting, Inauguration of.”

Four of the books listed were published prior to 1900. Two were published in the first decade of the twentieth century and one is published in 2004.

The Scottish Distributed Digital Library is a good resource for finding more information about the times in which our ancestors lived and helping us to possibly find more details about our ancestors. There are some limits but I believe this is a work in progress.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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