The Scottish Place-Name Survey has several collections of place-names culled from oral and manuscript sources by staff, students and interested, well-informed members of the public.
These collections, covering various parts of Scotland, were made during the latter years of the twentieth century.The place-name tapes relating to the collections are housed in the Sound Archives, while the maps and paper records can be consulted in the Survey itself in 27 George Square.
More recently, a pilot study was undertaken on the digitisation of the unique field-name survey which is an important part of the archive collection. This pilot has produced an excellent model for future work of the same, or similar, type.
The focus is currently on supporting projects elsewhere in Scotland so that all the skill and knowledge built up by staff of the Scottish Place-Name Survey over the past fifty years is made available to the wider community. For instance, an honorary member of staff in the Survey is actively liaising with the Shetland Place Names Project where the Scottish Place-Name Database has been in use for some time. This excellent tool was originally developed by a postgraduate in the Scottish Place-Name Survey and has been further developed by the Shetland Place Names Project Officer.
Place-name information has also been excerpted from various published records, such as the Register of the Privy Seal and Edinburgh Burgh Records, and is available for consultation on a paper archive held in the Survey.
There is also an extensive collection of books on place-name topics, some of which are held in the Survey but many are in the School of Scottish Studies Library.
Onomastics courses have been part of the Scottish Ethnology teaching programme for many years and it is hoped that these will continue in future. During these classes students are given an introduction to Scottish topography and are encouraged to undertake case studies on place-names in their own home area or in parts of Scotland which are of interest to them. These projects are lodged in the archives and form an important body of student research. The emphasis has always been on collection of material from oral sources, in line with work being done by scholars and students in other parts of the department.
This article was published on Apr 24, 2012