The Importance of Scottish Higher Education Collections
Higher Education Institution records are the primary resources for Scotlands educational, intellectual and cultural history. Scottish Institutions of Higher Education have made a vital contribution to the learning and culture of the British Isles, and the records that they have generated over the last half millennium attract attention from researchers not only from Scotlands own academic community but also from around the world. Researchers from those countries on which Scotlands intellectual tradition played such an important role are particularly keen to exploit these resources. Historians of all disciplines, educationalists and social scientists find these resources of immense value to their research interests.
The greatest strength of these records is their chronological breadth. The earliest records of the ten partner institutions date back to 1215. With such breadth there are, for example, long runs of information about wages, salaries and prices prized by economic and social historians. Such Scottish sources are not easily found, especially for the early modern period, but they do exist in the records of Higher Education Institutions.
The collections hold material on a diverse range of broad subjects such as war studies, religion, sport, architecture, art and design, migration, politics, feminism, urban and rural land use, employment, health, diet, immigrants and emigrants, the international market for learning, corporate management and administration, elites and professional and vocational education.
Educationalists and sociologists will find these resources of immense value. Topics which Professor Maria Slowey (formerly Vice Dean (Research), Faculty of Education, University of Glasgow) has highlighted for exploration in these collections are: school to work transitions; non-traditional students; access to higher education; social change; boundaries between academic disciplines; development of occupational and educational aspirations; peer pressure; student drop transfer of knowledge; student society; education, community and industry; entrance profiles and standards; curriculum development; student health; local and national government education policy, overseas development.
Research themes common to the records held by all or many of the partner Higher Education Institutions include town and gown relationships, civic development, gender studies, social provision, professional, technical and vocational education, international linkages, architecture, the impact of the Enlightenment on the Scottish intellectual tradition, minority groups, reading habits, development of academic disciplines.