University of St Andrews

University Library Special Collections


Digital records

Images of analogue media records

The institutional archive is full of all sorts of information, recorded in all sorts of ways, in all sorts of media and formats. Information used to be recorded on parchment with quill and ink, in bound volumes and ledgers, typed, duplicated or photostatically copied. Now it’s created through the computer keyboard, database or computer programme, in multiple digital formats.

Any of the information which is produced today by the University in the course of its daily business could eventually end up in Muniments, if it is decided that it is worth keeping or if it is needed. This poses great challenges for the archivist whose duty is to preserve this recorded information and make it accessible. So we are actively engaged in conversations with data creators and are working to catalogue and make available the first ‘born-digital’ generation of material within the muniment collection.

Since the institutional archive cannot become a museum of the purely analogue, we need to establish systems where proper review processes can be embedded into current administrative systems to ensure that, when the time is right, an appropriate selection of material is preserved for posterity and transferred to Muniments or made accessible through Muniments. This will become the institutional memory of our time. We also have to establish mechanisms to be sure that this information is kept in a format which is always accessible and provide a means of accessing it for researchers of the future.

Manuscript or muniment?

Not quite sure what the difference is? Learn about how to distinguish between our different archival collections.

Collection development policy

Discover how the Special Collections Division makes decisions on the development of its manuscript and muniment collections.

Current projects

Read about the exciting projects the Archive team is currently working on, and those that have been completed recently.