The first building - the General Register House (the one we visited) - was built in the 1780s for the purpose of housing public records. The second, the West Register House, was purchased for the archives in 1971, and the third, Thomas Thompson House was purpose-built in 1995, and is therefore used for all conservation work, as well as storage, since it is the only one with the proper facilities for high-level conservation. Unlike the first two, the last has no public access.
The NAS is divided into two sections, the Records Services Division and the Corporate Services Division.
The Records Services Division is responsible for:
- Government records;
- Court/Legal records;
- Private records; and
- Outreach services;
- Accomodation services
- Finance and Administration
- Information Technology
- Reader services
Some of the other functions of the NAS are to offer any needed advice to owners and custodians of archival documents; be a leader in the development of archive and records management practice; and deploy resources effectively and efficiently.
The National Archives of Scotland holdings consist of more than 70km of records, dating from the 12th century, and including Parliamentary papers, register of deeds, church records, wills, taxation records, family and estate papers, court and legal documents, railway records, and photos. Access to these is provided through the OPAC, a paper catalogue, and the five websites:
- NAS www.nas.gov.uk
- SCAN www.scan.org.uk
- Scotland's People www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
Some of the interesting new developments in the works are the launch of a site called ScotlandImages.com, where people can order copies of images from the database, and the digitization of the records of the Church of Scotland.