Project Workshop – 14 Feb 2014

Connections: Digitisation and Digital Research in Scotland


The first project workshop, held on 14th February 2014, brought together digital humanists, academics, archivists, librarians and curators from across Scotland with varying degrees of expertise and experience. The range of participants represented many different roles in higher education institutions, national collections, and libraries from many regions of the country, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Aberdeen, the Shetland Islands, and others. Participants were invited to introduce their own digital/digitization projects, practices and ambitions, as well as proposing topics for discussion by the group as a whole. Together we aimed to explore the requirements, potential benefits and potential challenges of digital research resources and methods, forge new relationships, explore and capture collaborative ideas for digital humanities projects, and reflect on the particular challenges and opportunities of doing this kind of work within Scotland.

Two guest speakers delivered presentations about established digital research projects. The keynote speaker, Professor Andrew Prescott of King’s College London, shared some of his projects and discussed access, which is at the heart of the dialogue around digitisation, and argued for the necessity of open access materials to new types of scholarly research. Matt Ramirez of the University of Manchester spoke about the SCARLET project (Special Collections using Augmented Reality for Learning and Teaching), and showed us the many ways that augmented reality can enhance pedagogy, particularly in the context of increasing mobile technology use.

Nineteen participants also volunteered to give short flash presentations about digital projects and plans in their institutions. As the presentations progressed, common themes began to emerge, such as challenges with funding and balancing knowledge exchange with institutional demands for revenue. We heard about all kinds of great initiatives, including websites, multi-media archives, MOOC’s, social media strategies, digital interfaces in galleries, and digital analysis of manuscripts and objects. We then held facilitated discussions on a variety of topics chosen by participants. Participants were able to spend time at three of the four discussion tables, to debate and share about each of the topics and to meet a wide variety of other participants.

The day was reported to be a great success. Researchers, archivists, and curators from across Scotland had the opportunity to meet, to share their work, and to share strategies for digitisation, outreach, and overcoming challenges in their digital programmes. We wrapped up the day with an announcement that a network of digital researchers across Scotland will be established, and invited all to join.


Event Programme


Digitisation and Digital Research in Scotland

Date: Friday 14th of February 2014
Times: 9.30 am – 4.30 pm
Location: St Trinneans Room, Pollock Halls, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh


9.30 – Coffee and Registration

9.45 – Welcome

9.50 – Keynote Speaker: Professor Andrew Prescott (King’s College London)
Chaired by Professor James Loxley, University of Edinburgh

10.45 – Coffee

11.00 – Participant Presentations
Chaired by Tara Thomson, University of Edinburgh

12.45 – Lunch

13.30 – Facilitated Discussion: Identifying Shared Challenges & Shared Agendas

15.00 – Coffee

15.15 – Presentation: Matt Ramirez, SCARLET
Chaired by Kerry Watson, National Galleries of Scotland

16.00 – Discussion: Identifying Shared Agendas
Chaired by Lisa Otty

16.25 – Digital Research Network (Padmini Ray Murray, University of Stirling)

16.30 – Closing Remarks

About the speakers


Invited Speakers

Professor Andrew Prescott (King’s College, London) will give an opening lecture. Formerly a curator in the Department of Manuscripts at the British Library, where he acted as British Library co-ordinator for a number of digital projects, Andrew Prescott has over 20 years experience in digitization and digital research. He has served on the advisory boards of many digital humanities projects in Britain and America and is currently Chair of the Network of Expert Centres, a federation of digital humanities centres in the UK, and Leadership Fellow for the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Digital Transformations theme.

The SCARLET project team, who are pioneering the use of Augmented Reality (AR) technology in learning and teaching, will also present their work. The original SCARLET project worked with The University of Manchester Library to enhance access to special collections materials such as papyri and ancient editions of Dante’s Inferno, creating ways to access these materials through the use of AR. SCARLET evolved into an award-winning service, creating AR applications to bring innovation to education. More details, including a showcase of completed projects, are available on the project website:


Invited speakers:

Professor Andrew Prescott, King’s College London: ‘The Purpose and Value of Digitisation’


Matt Ramirez, University of Manchester: ‘A Study in SCARLET’


Slides from participant flash presentations:

Malcolm Chapman, The Hunterian Gallery and University of Glasgow Collections

Damien McGlynn, National Galleries of Scotland

Brian Aitken, University of Glasgow

Dr Bea Alex, University of Edinburgh

Dr Marc Alexander, University of Glasgow

Dr Susan Rennie, University of Glasgow

Susannah Waters, Glasgow School of Art

Gill Hamilton, National Library of Scotland


John Ferry, Glasgow Museums


Norman Rodger, University of Edinburgh Library and Special Collections

Robin Chesters, Almond Valley Shale Oil Museum
Almond Valley Shale Oil Museum website