Zoom Into Scotland

What is that building? Who is this street named after? Where do those gates lead? 

With most of us spending more time at and around our homes, we are noticing things we haven’t spotted before. Whether you have lived there for a short time or for years there is always something new to discover. Many of us live away from where we grew up – researching where you live can give you a sense belonging, and help you feel at home. Using the amazing resources of local studies collections you can find out more. 

Most local authority areas have free local studies libraries, archives and museums where you can find out about the area in which you live.  

As Scotland’s largest library, the National Library of Scotland also has a wealth of local studies material. Over the coming months we will issue a fortnightly blog looking at resources the Library holds for each local authority area. This is not a comprehensive listing of everything we hold about that area but a jumping-off point for further exploration. Staff from across the Library will choose resources they find interesting for each area. We will concentrate on the materials you can get free, online, at home. We will also point you towards your local collections where you will find many unique and fascinating documents and objects.  

There are a few collections which will be useful no matter where you live. 

The Library’s Map Images enable you to travel through time, charting the development of your local area. 


Historic Environment Scotland (HES) compiles and manages Canmore which contains more than 320,000 records and 1.3 million catalogue entries for archaeological sites, buildings, industry and maritime heritage across Scotland. Canmore contains information and collections from all HES’s survey and recording work, as well as from a wide range of other organisations, communities and individuals who are helping to enhance this national resource. 


Our sister organisation the National Records of Scotland (NRS) is of course another source of useful local information. 


Scotland’s Places brings together images from the Library, NRS and HES 


If you get hooked on local history you might consider joining the Scottish Local History Forum


Their freely accessible newsletter Clish-Clash contains lots if interesting and useful information. Special Issue 40 contains links to many organisations and collections you can access from home. 


They also maintain the Scottish Local History Directory. 


Zoom into the Orkney Islands soon!