Information Services

Scottish Place-Name Survey

The Scottish Place-Name Survey was established as part of the remit of the School of Scottish Studies when it was set up in 1951. It was to include the collection of place-names from both documentary and oral sources and the organisation of a place-name archive.

An old map of Edinburgh

In the early years, a project was undertaken to create a slip index of place-name forms extracted from historical documents and maps. Many of the original documents have now been digitised and made accessible online.


In the mid-1950s, fieldwork commenced with a focus on the Gaelic speaking areas, including the Western Isles, Inverness-shire and Argyle. Work was also undertaken in  the Northern Isles and the Borders. There are now over 500 audio recordings including pronunciation of place-names and associated information and lore, many with accompanying OS maps.


Additional resources include a Field Name Survey containing a record of field names from farmers during the 1970s and 80s with corresponding maps. This mainly took place in lowland Scotland including Galloway, the Borders, Dumfries, Galashiels, Midlothian.


The Place-Name Survey is undergoing appraisal and some of the textual material is not currently available for consultation. However, recordings and associated maps can be accessed in the Search Room.