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Caithness News Bulletins April 2003

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Web Access To Scotland’s Past As North Highland Archive Joins Major Internet Project
18 March 2003

The North Highland Archive in Wick has become the most recent recipient of a computer system granted by the Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) project.  North Highland Archivist Phil Astley, said: “Following on from the success of our recent stock-check which has enabled us to provide a higher quality of public service by making the records in our care more accessible, I am delighted that we can now also offer our users free access to the wealth of historical information which is available via the world-wide-web to assist them with their research”.

The Scottish Archive Network aims to widen access to archive material in Scotland by ensuring that each of its 52 participating archives are equipped with a state-of-the-art Internet-ready PC, which will provide visitors to Scottish archives with access to a wide range of Scottish and historical information via the project’s website, which can be found at www.scan.org.uk . Officially launched on 30 November 2000, the website also grants users free access to a knowledge base of Scottish history covering such diverse topics as shipbuilding, witchcraft and emigration.

Everyone from professors of history to school pupils and family historians are now able to tap into the expertise of over 100 contributing archivists and experienced researchers. The SCAN website has already proved popular with users interested in exploring the rich written heritage of Scotland attracting over a quarter of a million visitors each year since its launch.

Provision of the necessary equipment for participating archives has always been seen by the project as one it its main aims. SCAN’s Managing Director, Rob Mildren stated, “The vision of this project was to take the dust out of archives and to provide a modern and vibrant information resource capable of meeting the 21st Century demands of an information-driven society. Providing each participating archive with a PC will help the project achieve what it has set out to do.”

The high specification computer equipment provided by the project will also enable participating archives to use pre-installed software to upgrade both their catalogues and general information services, resulting in a radical improvement to public access across their holdings.

The Scottish Archive Network has already assisted North Highland Archive by creating and hosting their website at www.northhighlandarchive.org  The site has had nearly 1000 visitors from around the world since the beginning of 2003 alone.

North Highland Archive, Wick reopens next Tuesday - (22nd April 2003)  following a three-week stock-check.

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