The University of Edinburgh Longitudinal Study Centre – Scotland (LSCS) received funding from the ESRC to create a multidisciplinary research database from historical vital events records. The Digitising Scotland (DS) project has digitised around 24 million Scottish vital events record images (births, marriages and deaths) since 1856. This will allow research access to individual-level information on some 18 million individuals – a large proportion of those who have lived in Scotland since 1856.

Prior to the Digitising Scotland Project these records were kept as indexed images accessible from Scotland’s People, but this meant that to extract data for research projects a researcher would first search for an individual record by name, and then manually transcribe the information they needed themselves (eg cause of death, occupation, etc). This made any large-scale research project impossible – a situation that the Digitising Scotland project has changed.

Digitising Scotland is a collaboration between the Universities of Edinburgh, St Andrews and Queens University Belfast. The project is supported by the National Records of Scotland and UKRI.

Work Packages

The project contains 4 work packages:

  1. Digitising birth, marriages and death vital events records from 1856 to 1973.
  2. Standardising and coding occupation descriptions to the Historical International Standard Classification of Occupations (HISCO).
  3. Standardising and coding all deaths to International Classification of Disease – 10 (ICD-10).
  4. Linking address information to consistent geographies through time.

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