Event: Business history and digital records


Please accept our apologies for any cross-posting.

How will business histories be written from digital records?


Organized by:
Tim Gollins and Michael Moss

Free Event

The National Records of Scotland, in collaboration with the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Business History in Scotland (CBHS), is hosting a one day conference on the theme of using digital records for business history research. The conference will be held in Edinburgh on Monday 9th May 2016, and is an exciting opportunity for archivists, historians and technical experts with an interest in business records to meet and discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by the shift of records from the physical to the digital.

This one day conference will bring together interested parties from a variety of backgrounds, including businesses, archives, academics and technology. Speakers will present short papers aimed to provoke debate and discussion from panel members and delegates. The day will be an opportunity for collaboration and idea sharing and we anticipate some lively discussion! We hope that the event will produce a new network of professionals across a variety of disciplines, who will be persuaded to bid for funds to conduct further research.

Although the day will focus primarily on business records, the hope is that lessons learned from the business archive community will be used to inform wider debate about the issues surrounding use of digital records for research.

There will be four segments to the day, as follows:

Business archives: two archivists’ perspective

  • the paper world
  • the digital world
  • panel discussion

Business history: two historians’ perspectives

  • the paper world
  • the digital world
  • panel discussion

Digital technology: two experts from the field

  • insights and innovation
  • panel discussion

Conclusions: consortium speed dating exercise and funding streams.

The event is free to attend and tea/coffee and lunch will be provided. Places are limited so please book your ticket via Eventbrite soon.

WHEN: Monday, 9 May 2016 from 09:30 to 17:00 (BST)

WHERE: New Register House – 3 West Register Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YT, United Kingdom


Tim Gollins is Head of Digital Archiving at The National Records of Scotland and as programme director leads their Digital Preservation Programme. Prior to joining the NRS Tim was Head of Digital Preservation at the National Archives, where he led work on digital preservation and cataloguing. Tim was also a Director of the Digital Preservation Coalition for 6 years and is a member of the University of Sheffield I-School’s Advisory Panal.

Michael Moss has been a professor of archival science at Northumbria University since 2013 and holds a fellowship at the University of Melbourne’s e-Scholarship Research Centre. Michael was archivist of the University of Glasgow from 1974 until 2001, and research professor of archival science at the University of Glasgow between 2001 and 2013. He also has a long standing interest in business archives.

Please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-will-business-histories-be-written-from-digital-records-tickets-24394826583

Please contact Jo Dixon at Josephine.Dixon@nrscotland.gov.uk for further information.


Report on the Digitisation of Cultural Heritage

Love it or loathe it, digitisation and digital humanities are becoming and increasingly important area for anyone interested in historical research on organizations. Yet the report by eNumerate, formerly an EU funded project aimed at creating statistical data about the digitization, of cultural heritage in Europe, shows that there is still a long way to go for most archives:

“On average 23% of European collections have been digitised, with Museums leading the way with the highest proportion (31%) up from 24% in the 2014 survey (Core Survey 2- CS2). However at the other end of the scale, only 13% of record office/archive collections and 19% of library collections have been digitised. This is possibly down to the vast amount of records these institutions hold, which could result in a longer digitisation process.”

As this infographic shows, digitisation remains a major area that the UK government and the EU are investing in. Yet the impact this is likely to have on research practices or the availability of documents from private organization archives remains unclear.

Infographic: Digitisation landscape in 2015 from eNumerate

You can read the summary and the full report here: eNumerate Digitisation in Cultural Heritage 2015 : Key findings | TownsWeb Archiving.