Our History:About

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Project team

Project Officer: Paul Barnaby, Assistant Librarian

Project Manager: Grant Buttars, Deputy University Archivist

Other contributions: Jill Forrest, Museums Support Officer

Volunteers: Ellie Williams, Fiona M. Donaldson

Technical Support: Ianthe Sutherland (for Library Digital Development team)

Contact Us

Contact us via the Centre for Research Collections is-crc@ed.ac.uk

Rationale and Methodology

Since its inception in 1582, the university as it was and as it is today, is linked by one continual thread – people. Our success, achievements and development are a result of successive generations of students, academics and other staff who have come together in a myriad of combinations. Some of these people are well-known, some less so; others are now completely obscured to us. The history of the University is their story.

Understanding these people requires them to be placed in context, the context of their time and those with whom they were interacting. While events alone can appear abstract, contextualising them by surfacing information on the people involved allows for engagement with a wide and diverse audience, both in the historical period and the present.

Using the same methodology as Wikipedia, this project will both create pages of content and also a wish list of pages to be created in the future. It is hoped to extend content creators beyond the dedicated project team at a later date.

The project is in its initial 6 month phase. We hope to secure further funding to allow it to continue beyond this. Over and above project created content, this resource will be added to by a wider group of staff who interact with our collections as part of other core and project work.

Is this a comprehensive history?

Not at this stage. Our intention in this initial phase is to get breadth. With only 6 months at our disposal (for now) we have had to sacrifice more in-depth exploration in order to include a decent variety of material that reflects the 400 plus years of University life. We also want to focus on the people as much as possible, placing them in context as far as we can and reflecting all different types of people who have studied, worked, supported or otherwise contributed to the University.

If we secure funding for a more in-depth project, we will be looking to expand this resource both in terms of coverage and quantity of content.

Why are there red links, linking to pages that don't exist?

Every page, and the research that goes into creating it, throws up potential for new pages. We can't create them all just now but creating the links allows us to flag up our intentions to users and also monitor our wish-list for new pages. We have chosen the Wikipedia model for this very reason (amongst others).

How is the content being selected?

We have started with 50 key milestones onto which we will 'hang' information about the individuals involved. Other pages will be created to contextualise as required.

We also have a lot of pre-existing information in our own reference files, as answers to current and previous enquiries, created as part of numerous projects and other research. Information from the Gallery of Benefactors on the old Library website is also being incorporated. These will all be reviewed and augmented as required as they are moved over.

Can other people contribute?

At this stage we are limiting the number of people directly creating content. However we are always interested in hearing suggestions for new pages or in getting additional information, so please contact us. Once we have refined our methodology and editorial conventions, we hope to increase the number of content creators, so watch for follow-up projects where we can incorporate this.