The Scotsman Digital Archive

The Scotsman first appeared on 25 January 1817 in Edinburgh and was published once a week. It upset the city establishment. Some people began surreptitiously obtaining copies so that they were not seen purchasing it and it was read behind closed doors. It was a liberal publication with rising readership. You can find a more detailed history of The Scotsman on their website.

The home page says “Here you can search every newspaper published between 1817 and 1950.” You can find a timeline on the home page that shows all the events covered in The Scotsman from 1817-2005. You can go into the timeline and read the articles that are mentioned on it.

It is free to search the digital archives but to view a page you will need to subscribe. The rates are quite reasonable starting at £7.95 for 24 hour access to £159.95 for a full year pass. You can view a sample page for free on the home page.

When you do your search you get a small clip of the page that really does not provide much information. You also get a relevance percentage which may help. On the side you get the date, section, page and word count. The first three items will help you create your citation for anything you find.

When you have found an article you want to view you have a couple of choices. You can show the full page or open the article. You can “add to clippings” to save the image on the website. You will still need to pay to see the clipping. When you use this option the article is clipped with information that reminds you why you clipped it, the date you clipped it and relevant information about the edition the clipping came from originally. They are stored in the Members Centre and can be accessed from anywhere. You also have the option of saving the article in PDF format.

One thing to remember while you are doing your search is the frequency of publishing. The Scotsman was published weekly from 25 Jan 1817 – 28 Dec 1822, twice weekly from 1 Jan 1823 – 29 Dec 1858 and daily from 1 Jan 1859 onwards. It has never been published on a Sunday.

They have a good search tips section so go in and read it ahead of time.

If you have nothing to do on a rainy afternoon why not go in and spend some time searching the Scotsman database. The cost for 24 hours access in Canadian dollars on today’s exchange rate is $13.00 not bad for an afternoon’s entertainment.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

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