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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-18157: Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 August 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to protect the National Records of Scotland.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 24 August 2018

National Records of Scotland (NRS) take forward a number of activities to protect the records in their care. This includes:

- The records are held in secure storage. Specialist conservators are employed to ensure that records are stored in the correct conditions and handled carefully to prevent damage to them, and to undertake conservation treatments where necessary

 - Specialist staff select, preserve and catalogue the records it holds. Archivists liaise with organisations and individuals depositing, or gifting records, or subject to the Public Records (Scotland) Act 2011, advising them on good record keeping, assessing and selecting records for permanent preservation and arranging their transfer to NRS

 - Many of the most popular records have been digitised and made available through the Scotlands People service, saving the original records from the wear and tear of frequent handling and ensuring that they can be passed on to future generations

 - There is a Historical Search Room service available for individuals requiring access to original records. Security is in place to protect the archive material

 - NRS has a range of protections in place to protect the more modern information in its care which includes personal information held secure and closed to public access

 - Increasingly, records are being created and kept in digital form, and NRS has a programme to ensure that it is able deal with the new challenges that this change in format brings, so that digital records of national significance can also be selected, preserved and made available to future generations.

In addition to the above protections, NRS is a member of the United Kingdom Archives Security Group which brings archive services together to exchange information on security issues, including techniques and methods to protect the integrity of archives. NRS holds accredited archive status under the UK Archive Service Standard, which defines good practice and agreed standards for archive services across the UK. The standard covers an organisation’s ability to develop, care for, and provide access to its collections, and those areas such as resources and planning which underpin those activities. Accreditation lasts for 6 years, with a mid-point health check and must then be re-applied for. NRS successfully passed a 3 year health check in November 2017.