Sean McNamara

Sean McNamara

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Sean McNamara is Acting Director of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) in Scotland CILIP) in Scotland 

Libraries and digital preservation go hand in hand in Scotland. All across the country there are exciting initiatives ongoing in organisations such as the National Library of Scotland as well as Scotland’s thriving network of public and university libraries: ground-breaking projects only made possible because of the skills of Scotland’s library and information workforce.

With all the work that is going on we at CILIPS became aware that our own organisation did not have a strong digital history. Despite being over 100 years old (previously the Scottish Library Association) all our history was held in archives on site or with the National Library. With that in mind we decided to look at creating a digital archive via a timeline and highlighting notable people.

The archive was gathered together by our former Treasurer, Audrey Walker, who tirelessly went through existing past documents and pulled together the findings. We then asked placement student Heather Neill, of Strathclyde University, to create an online archive of the materials. The two did a fantastic job and the archive is now available on our website. We feel the organisation is far richer for it.

For example, our archive of Presidents takes us from our first ever President in 1908, City Librarian for Glasgow F.T Barrett, to the 60s where our President John B Purdie made the still-relevant point: “As we look around us in this age of sputniks, beatniks, rock and roll crooners, television, and similar attractions or distractions according to one’s point of view, it may seem extraordinary to some that the reading of books is still increasing.  There is nothing extraordinary about it.” It introduces us to our first female President Betty Liversidge (sadly not until 1974) and then up to our most recent President, the wonderful Margaret Menzies.

The archive also covers our many Honorary Members, Honorary Presidents and much more. Our latest addition has been enabled due to recent Honorary Member Ian McCracken carrying out research into librarians who were killed during the wars and we are keen to add more to this vital resource. On our Timeline you can see all the major events between our inception and the present day.

We now make sure all our campaigning activities and resources created are added to our online archives to ensure they are searchable and digitally preserved.

Our archive is just a starting point for our digital preservation and we want to do more. We are looking for it to grow and welcome suggestions from others for additions. We see our past, present and future as digital and we want our archives to reflect this. The values held by many in our archive were about preserving history and information for future generations, and therefore preserving it digitally is the logical next step. As former President William Beattie said in 1960, “Some new ideas turn out to be quite old after all.”

If you have suggested additions or changes to our archives then please get in touch with us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Happy World Digital Preservation Day everyone!

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