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Exploring Scottish History: A Directory of Resource Centres for Scottish Local and National History in Scotland edited by Michael Cox. Published by the Scottish Library Association, Motherwell Business Centre, Coursington Road, Motherwell ML1 1PW, Scotland. 1992. Softcover 161 pp. £6.95.

The book is a joint collaboration between the Scottish Library Association, the Scottish Records Association and the Scottish Museums Federation. As a result the breadth of collections included is large, covering 238 institutions. The information provided includes: reference number, name of organization, address, telephone and fax numbers, title or name of person to contact, brief general description of the collection, terms of use, hours of opening, description of location, listing of primary source material, publications and reprographics. The institution listings are in alphabetical order, with an index of geographic locations.

If you are looking for specific material in Scotland or need ideas for your research, this is an ideal place to look. You will learn about the large O'Dell collection of Scottish railway materials at Aberdeen University, trade records from 1622-1938 for different occupations at the Angus District Library in Montrose, and photographs of ships operating to and from Scottish waters at the Scottish Maritime Museum. If you are looking for information about a particular occupation then you may need to cover a large area. If you are looking for the records of a particular notable family then information is given on how to contact the National Registry of Archives for information to ascertain if material exists in a public or private collection.

This book is a great resource; however, since its publication there has been a major reorganization of the local governments in Scotland. This means that some material may have been moved to another institution. The warning is given in the book but is worth repeating here that if you are planning on going to Scotland to visit a particular collection, write ahead of time to make sure it is still there and it is what you are looking for. Many of these institutions will also respond by mail to specific inquiries.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.5, 1996