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Archival storage shelfs at University of Edinburgh holding Session Papers

The SCOS team is delighted to announce, in partnership with The Centre for Research Collections at the University of Edinburgh (CRC), that it is a 2021 recipient of the Omohundro Institute’s Digital Collections Fellowship. This fellowship provides an opportunity to advance the SCOS project in significant ways. First, our project team will work with our collaborators at the Centre for Research Collections (CRC) at the University of Edinburgh to digitize Session Papers held in Edinburgh that focus on early America. These materials will be processed through optical character recognition software to enable full-text search and made available on SCOS as well as the CRC’s own digital collections site, thus providing multiple access points to the documents. In so doing, the SCOS project will continue to provide access to valuable but heretofore seemingly unlikely sources that will provide important new perspectives on America’s colonial and early national periods. Secondly, the materials digitized as part of this effort will serve as the basis for transatlantic internship experience involving students from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Virginia, and the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies at Iona College in Spring 2021. The interns will work to correct transcription models in order to improve character recognition and data extraction derived using the University of Edinburgh’s EDITOR tool, the ground-breaking technology used by the CRC and SCOS project to make Session Papers accessible.

Additionally, digital access to the CRC’s Session Papers will advance James Ambuske’s current book project on Scottish emigration to North America in the era of the American Revolution and an in-development project on American Loyalists who appeared before the Court of Session. CRC’s holdings include cases that illuminate the social and economic dislocation in Scotland and the British Atlantic that compelled Scots to emigrate to North America before the revolution, and the transatlantic legal controversies involving Loyalists who struggled to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the War of Independence.