National Library and University agree programme of greater collaboration

Published: 14 November 2018

The two research bodies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding

The National Library of Scotland and the University of Glasgow have officially agreed to deliver a programme of greater collaboration following a period of increased activity between the two institutions.

Representatives from both research bodies signed a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure they continue to deliver innovative partnerships in the areas of research, teaching, access to collections, knowledge exchange, public engagement and outreach.NLS MoU large group

l-r: Dr Maria Economou, Senior Lecturer, Information Studies (joint appointment with The Hunterian and University);  Dr Ralph McLean, Curator of 18th Century Manuscripts, NLS; Robin Smith, National Library's Associate Director of Collections and Research; Professor Murray Pittock, UofG's Pro Vice-Principal; Dr John Scally, National Librarian; Professor Sir Kenneth Calman, NLS Chair (and UofG Chancellor); Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli; Ann Cameron, Curator of NLS's Moving Image Archive; Susan Ashworth, UofG Executive Director Of Information Services; Professor Gerry Carruthers, Francis Hutcheson Chair of Scottish Literature; and Dr David Duncan, Chief Operationg Officer, UofG.

National Librarian Dr John Scally said: “We already have many exciting projects under way with the University of Glasgow. The sheer breadth of activity is what is most impressive and it’s vital that we maintain momentum. In the last year, we held the 2018 Muriel Spark International Symposium, and earlier this month we co-hosted a symposium on the correspondence of Robert Burns.

“It is two years since we opened at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall, which houses our moving image and sound collections, as well as providing public access to our vast digital collections. Since then, we have partnered with the University to deliver a number of public and educational lectures and screenings. At the moment, our collaborative doctoral partnerships are looking at the areas of public health, the industrial revolution, and artificial intelligence. Today’s signing ensures our dynamic partnership continues to benefit not only the research community, but people throughout the west of Scotland.”

The University's Principal, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, said: “This agreement grows out of our longstanding co-operation with the National Library of Scotland, including our 2016 research concordat. The Library currently has more research collaborations with the University of Glasgow than any other higher education institution in Scotland and I fully expect our joint working to go from strength to strength.”

Professor Murray Pittock, Pro Vice-Principal, added: “As digital heritage, curation and content become increasingly important to the creative and cultural industries and to research, the National Library of Scotland is an ideal partner for the University of Glasgow. The Library has a cutting-edge digital strategy and a wealth of expertise in related areas; by combining our talents and skills, both the University and the Library will make a real impact in these fields in the coming years.”

He added: "The National Library of Scotland at Kelvin Hall offers full access to the copyright digital collections and is the only national library in the UK to do so outside its headquarter building. As we move towards an open access publishing environment, digital resources will increasingly dominate and I would encourage our staff to use the incredible facilities at NLS Kelvin Hall as much as possible as part of the expanding research under our MoU."

Existing and future areas of collaboration include:

  • The Library’s contribution of expertise to the CREATe copyright research centre hosted by the University
  • A collaborative research project on the complete works of Allan Ramsay 
  • The provision of student placements and internships in both institutions
  • Skills exchange in archiving and cataloguing
  • A collaborative research project on text and data mining 
  • The Library’s digitisation of oral history tapes from the University’s archives as part of the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project.‌‌‌‌‌NLS MoU signing 650

The signing took place at the National Library of Scotland at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. Signatories were: National Librarian Dr John Scally; Principal of the University of Glasgow, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli; the National Library’s Associate Director of Collections and Research, Robin Smith; and University Secretary and Chief Operating Officer Dr David Duncan.

First published: 14 November 2018