Since the advent of printing in the 15th century printed books in all the main European languages have flowed into Scotland. These works contain the history, literature, philosophy, science and medicine of all the main European countries. They were used in schoolroom, University lecture theatre, seminary, and drawing room to enlighten the minds of generations of Scots eager to learn about the wider world. In the 18th century that accumulated collection of riches helped nourish the Scottish Enlightenment, the greatest intellectual contribution a small European country has ever made.
Today many of these books are largely unknown albeit having been carefully looked after by libraries throughout the country, but by modern standards are inadequately catalogued on cards, or not at all. Nowhere is this more evident than in the books printed between 1701 and 1800, the period which is the initial focus of the 'The Scotland in Europe' project.
'The Scotland in Europe' project, therefore, seeks to reveal the hidden riches of continental books held in Scottish Libraries which were printed in the 18th century. The main project goals are:
- To make available to everyone the hidden heritage of continental books held in partner libraries.
- To reveal the history of the influx of this material by recording provenances.
- To use these resources to raise awareness of Scotland's rich European inheritance and its role in the nation's intellectual history, and to promote a wide understanding of languages, through the creation of a suite of online learning modules and interpretative web pages. To reflect the European nature of the project, the learning materials and the website will be produced in more than one language.
- To create high-quality electronic catalogue records for 18th century works and contribute them to a Scottish Continental Books union catalogue (constructed on a 'one edition, one record' basis) from which they would be made available to all contributors for their own catalogues, following the highly-successful ESTC model.
- To make these records available nationally and internationally through a web OPAC.
- To contribute to the further awareness and development of these resources by offering the records free for the enhancement of the CERL (Consortium of European Research Libraries) Heritage of the Printed Book database.
If you require further information or have any questions, please contact one of the under-mentioned:
John Scally and Brian Hillyard
30 July 2007