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Scottish universities hold a disproportionately high percentage of Scotland's nationally important collections -more than 1.8 million items in total. Over 60% of these collections are uncatalogued, with information on just 7.5% available on the web. This represents an enormous barrier to use.

Collections in five of the universities, including the entire holdings of the Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow and select collections from the Glasgow School of Art, University of St Andrews, and University of Edinburgh have been designated as Recognised Collections by Museums Galleries Scotland.

Revealing the Hidden Collections is bringing the treasures held by university museums across Scotland into the light of the 21st century. It will record the entire collections of the universities of Dundee, St Andrews, Stirling, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Heriot-Watt, Robert Gordon, and the Glasgow School of Art. This marks a substantial step forward in improving the accessibility of the objects within these institutions via the internet.

University partners have created three types of records to assist the public in identifying collections of interest. Users will find:

  • Collection -level descriptions: Records that categorise groups of objects by a common theme, such as subject, geographical association, donor, or object type
  • Item-level records: Individual object entries providing information such as physical descriptions and provenance
  • Photographs: Images are being made available for select objects within the collections

Collections will be searchable through the UMIS search portal and individual university partner website portals, as well as the Culture Grid, which hosts the project data.

The Culture Grid is a key service being developed by the Collections Trust to support its mission to ensure that cultural collections are available for use and enjoyment by everyone, now and for the future. The service pulls together information from museum, archive and library websites and databases and makes it available to media partners such as Google and the BBC.

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