Graphic mashup featuring screenshot from the Stevensons' maps website and detail of J. M W. Turner's watercolour, "Bell Rock Lighthouse" (1819).
credit
Detail of the Stevensons' maps website courtesy of the National Library of Scotland; detail of Turner's watercolour courtesy of the Scottish National Gallery
The Stevenson Maps and Plans of Scotland (NLS)

There are over 2000 maps and plans in the archive of the Stevenson engineering firm that relate to projects undertaken in Scotland in the eighteenth to early-twentieth centuries. The plans range in subject from river surveys to technical drawings of machinery, and in scale from individual buildings to the whole of Scotland. Prior to the current project, finding aids describing the collection had to be physically consulted in the Maps Reading Room at the National Library of Scotland. The project involved reformatting the metadata describing the maps and plans using an online map-based tool to increase the accessibility of the collection and enable the public to search easily, flexibly and remotely.

This talk will present the process of developing a digital, map-based finding aid to enable the public to search the Stevenson collection of maps and plans held at the National Library of Scotland. PhD researcher Rachel Dishington will discuss the process of creating the resource, the difficulties of working with a non-standard and complex dataset, and further steps that could improve the accessibility of these historical engineering drawings, maps and plans.

Rachel Dishington is a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD student at the University of Edinburgh and National Library of Scotland. Rachel's work uses the records of the Stevenson firm to investigate the history of engineering in nineteenth-century Scotland. In the summer of 2019, Rachel collaborated with the Maps Department at the National Library of Scotland to develop an online resource for their Stevenson archive.