Tom Gibson started collating and binding copies of the Scots Independent as far back as the 1940s, we believe (please feel free to correct me if this is inaccurate).
When Ian Hamilton became the Business Manager, Kenneth (Ken) Fee was the keeper of the archive collection. At some point Ken suggested that Ian take over this role. We made the trip to Glasgow and transferred the archive to our house. With the help of subscribers, and the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, Ian was able to track down many of the missing issues
As younger members joined the board of directors, thoughts turned to more things digital than we had done to date. The editor, Grant Thoms, was doing tutoring at Stirling University and had been chatting with the team that worked on the Scottish Political archive. Some of you may have used this facility which archives political literature from all the parties in Scotland. Peter Lynch (son of previous editor Jim Lynch) had played a part in getting this going.
Grant brought to the board, in 2019, an outline on how we could get the newspaper digitalised with the assistance of this team. While we could see the immense benefit, it could not be done at Stirling University. We would have to arrange for it to be couriered south.
We all know what happened early 2020. Our project was just one of many things that had to be put on hold. Then some excellent news was passed on. The archive team had been awarded a grant to purchase state of the arc scanning equipment. In July 2021 we took the bulk of the newspaper archive to Stirling where a post grad student has been working one day a week on digitally recording the newspaper. We had agreed to assist with funding to employ him full time for a set period and this begins in March.
This week Ian and I dropped off the remaining archive which he had been using for his column. Sarah met us to receive the newspapers and tell us how things were going. First of all she had to show us the equipment and took us to the room where Chris will be working. The scanner is so high spec that when she records works of art they no longer need to be taken out of their frames.
She has high hopes of our newspaper being done by late summer. The archive will eventually be for use by the public to do research. It’s going to be so much easier for anyone to find an issue or an article.