Dalzell House, Motherwell© Glasgow City Libraries, Information and Learning. Licensor http://www.scran.ac.uk.

Dalzell House from the rear. This view isn’t seen often because the area is now overgrown. Thumbnail images like these can now be embedded into a WordPress or Blogger blog from SCRAN. Clicking on the image links to the original record which can be seen in full if you log in.

Back in August I visited a local history fair where I blethered for a while with some lovely folks at the RCAHMS stand about CANMORE, Scotlands Places and SCRAN and how these resources were used in school.

SCRAN stands for Scottish Cultural Resources and Archive Network, a collection of material on anything connected with Scotland and beyond from a myriad of locations. Having so much archive material readily available in one place is quite phenomenal, especially when you consider that Scottish schools have automatic access (paid for by the Scottish Government).

As a result of this conversation I went along to RCAHMS today to be part of a focus group about SCRAN as an educational tool.

Decontaminating the parkDecontaminating the park, Rutherglen, World War II
© South Lanarkshire Council. Licensor http://www.scran.ac.uk.

Much of the conversation covered how SCRAN was used day to day, but also what could be improved, who was using it and how often; we discussed keywording, lateral thinking, the pathfinders, images, copyright, online use and curation; we compared SCRAN with other online tools, and circumstances when you would use one and not another; and we explored SCRAN in the light of Glow and Curriculum for Excellence (flexibility, interdisciplinary studies etc).

Along the way, I mentioned (and demonstrated) our school website, our variety of investigations (including Added Value Units, blogging, textile mills and Scotland History/Mystery), information literacy and new courses, like Scottish Studies.

This sort of analysis is incredibly useful, although I’m aware that enthusiasm took over at times and I just blethered on. At the same time, I learned a great deal about how RCAHMS think SCRAN could and should be used, about new possibilities (like the embedding of images on blogs) and the possibilities for further training – I’ve already spoken to colleagues about having SCRAN staff come for a visit and a joint mission during the summer.

Priory Row in 1948. A row of miners' cottages backed by coal bingsPriory Row, Blantyre in 1948.
A row of miners’ cottages backed by coal bings

© Newsquest (Herald & Times). Licensor http://www.scran.ac.uk.

And best of all, I got a brief guided tour of the archives, where I could happily have stayed all day – but that’s a different blog 🙂