Description:  This project uncovers and reinterprets the history of reading in Scotland from 1750 to 1830, reshaping our understanding of a key period in Scotland’s past. By photographing, transcribing, analysing and publishing a very extensive corpus of around 150,000 historic library borrowing records drawn from thirteen diverse libraries across Scotland, this project will create a valuable new resource for studying the histories of reading and the dissemination of ideas.

Project website:  Useful project information:

PI: Katie Halsey.  Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature at the University of Stirling, and Co-Director of its centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Co-investigator: Matthew Sangster.  Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Material Culture at the University of Glasgow.

Project dates: started June 2020, ends May 2023

Funding: AHRC


What UoE have committed to do:

  1. Digitise 36 volumes (10,800 images) of the Library Borrowing Registers, from the University Archives. EUA IN1/ADS/LIB/3/Da.2.2-37

On the project’s original schedule digitisation was scheduled within the first 6 months.

Progress: as of May 2021 Image capture, mounting of images on Luna and delivery to the project is completed for all available volumes.  

One volume of the registers requires serious and time-consuming conservation, and is currently unsuitable for digitisation.  A treatment proposal has been received, but arrangements to carry out the work are not yet finalised.

  1. We promised to host a second iteration of a creative writing workshop being run initially at another location, during the Festival season 2020.  This will probably be rescheduled, but there is no update as yet, and our participation depends on our having a reasonably normal festival summer with a wider programme of events this can be part of.
  2. Binks Wall exhibition.  The timing of this within the project was never confirmed.  The Project agreed to pay materials and equipment costs, but we were to provide the staff time and support.  This is no longer achievable, due to changes in the CRC Exhibitions programme; following discussions wth the project team, the physical exhibition will be replaced with an online one.
  3. Member of staff to attend and give a paper at one of the conferences/meetings/workshops being held during the project.  Again, no update on this.  This is likely achievable, as these events could be held online.


Project Milestones

  • May 2022: Exhibition Resource Planning Meeting
  • May 2022: Fourth Project Progress Review
  • August 2022: Complete Commissioning for Exhibition Resources
  • September 2022: Complete Exhibition Content Planning/Storyboarding
  • October 2022: Database User Testing Begins (if it's OK, it would be great to get your input on this)
  • November 2022: Fifth Project Progress Review
  • December 2022: Complete Final Exhibition Narrative Production
  • January 2023: Exhibition Content Upload
  • February 2023: User Interface Design Finalised
  • March 2023: Exhibition Final Review
  • April 2023: Edinburgh Exhibition Opens
  • April 2023: Project Conference (at Stirling)
  • May 2023: Final Database Launch

Current project status

Report Date RAG Budget Effort Completed Effort to complete
September 2022 GREEN 0.0 days 0.0 days 0.0

Project Info

Books and Borrowing 1750-1830: An Analysis of Scottish Borrowers’ Registers
Library & Collections - Centre for Research Collections (LUCCRC)
Management Office
Project Manager
Elizabeth Lawrence
Project Sponsor
Daryl Green
Current Stage
In Progress
Start Date
Planning Date
Delivery Date
Close Date
Overall Priority


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