Uni collections now online

A £250,000 project to ‘unlock’ the secrets of some of Scotland’s greatest museum treasures has gone ‘live’.

Over two years, nine Scottish universities, led by the University of Aberdeen, have collaborated on the ‘Revealing the Hidden Collections’ project to digitally catalogue more than 1.8 million objects in some of the nation’s most important collections.

For the first time these can now be searched through a dedicated website (www.umis.ac.uk/revealing) and through internet search engines.

Scottish universities hold a high proportion of Scotland’s nationally important collections – more than 1.8 million items, holding 32% of the country’s materials on the history of science, 31% of the nation’s coins and medals, 24% of its fine art, 20% of natural science collections and 18% of its world culture collections. Collections in four universities, including the entire holdings of the Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow, have recently been recognised as nationally important.

Users will find over 2000 records that categorise groups of objects by a common theme, such as subject, geographical association, donor, or object type. There are also over 170,000 individual object entries providing information such as physical descriptions and provenance, while 1000 images are being made available for selected objects.

Neil Curtis, Head of Museums at the University of Aberdeen and project manager said: “The collections are of exceptional importance to the nation but before the project less than eight per cent of collections could be viewed online. “The internet is now an important research tool, for school children, academics and those with an interest in a particular subject.

“This has been a remarkably successful project.”