Nov 122010

Extremely exciting news: today we are making a limited number of tickets available to our fantastic AddressingHistory Launch Event taking place next Wednesday (17th November).

We hope that you will be able to join us to celebrate not only the launch of our AddressingHistory online tool but also to celebrate the rich history and historical resources of Scotland. The programme for the event includes some fantastic speakers and will highlight some really fantastic resources and projects around local, family and Scottish history.

You can reserve your (free) place via our booking page ( and we recommend doing this as soon as possible as our venue has a strictly limited capacity and we anticipate significant interest from local historians, genealogists and academics.

If you cannot join us on the day (we know that you, our lovely readers, are both very busy and located all over the world!) we will also have various online celebrations. Videos of our speakers will appear here shortly after the event whilst we also hope to post images and blog postings live from the launch. You can also contribute directly by adding your comments to the Twitter hashtag #AHLaunch, by commenting here on the blog or by adding your thoughts to our Facebook page. We will also be adding some extra special goodies to the website over the next few days so watch this space…

Finally, if you would like to add a mention of AddressingHistory or the launch event to your blog, your community group website, a newsletter or publication you are involved with or any other space you contribute to please get in touch ( and we can provide you with information, a link to the preview of the tool and images. We can also provide you with our new and fabulous HTML badge so that you can show your support for the project (full info on that coming soon).

We look forward to seeing you in person or online for our launch next week!

AddressingHistory Launch Programme Announced

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Nov 082010

We have just confirmed the programme for our official AddressingHistory Launch which is taking place on Wednesday 17th November. We will be celebrating local Scottish history with a range of speakers and invited attendees with particular interests and expertise in genealogy and local, social and Scottish history.

We will be writing up the event here on the AddressingHistory blog (in as close to real time as available wifi/3G networks allow) and we will be posting videos from the event a few weeks afterwards. You can also join us via Twitter using the #AHlaunch hashtag.

The Programme

We are absolutely delighted that we have speakers from a huge variety of Scottish history projects and digital resources and we think that the videos from the day will be fantastic viewing!

  • Welcome – Cate Newton (Director of Collections and Research, National Library of Scotland)
  • Introduction – Professor. Robert Morris (Emeritus Professor of Economic and Social History , University of Edinburgh)
  • AddressingHistory presentation and launch – Stuart Macdonald (AddressingHistory Project Manager, EDINA) & Nicola Osborne (AddressingHistory Project Officer & Social Media Officer, EDINA))
  • Visualising Urban Geography project – Professor. Richard Rodger (Professor of Economic and Social History, Univ. of Edinburgh)
  • Statistical Accounts of Scotland – Dr Helen Chisholm (EDINA)
  • NLS Digitised Historic Mapping – Chris Fleet (Senior Map Curator, National Library of Scotland)
  • Tobar An Dualchais – Kenny Beaton (School Of Celtic and Scottish Studies, Univ. of Edinburgh)
  • Internet Archive digitisation project(s) – Lee Hibberd /Ines Mayfarth (National Library of Scotland)
  • Wrap Up followed by demonstrations

We will be making a small number of tickets available to blog readers so do keep an eye out for an update on that shortly.

If you would like to show your support for the project we are also going to be making various HTML badges available when we launch. If you’d like to be one of the first sites to feature one of these then email us at:

We would also love to hear what you plan to do with AddressingHistory or, if you’ve been using our preview version, any interesting stories and comments about what you’ve already been exploring. Email us or leave us a comment linking to your blog postings, videos, pictures etc.

AddressingHistory Launch Date Set!

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Oct 192010

This is a very short but exciting update on AddressingHistory.  Following a successful preview with lots of useful feedback we are now preparing to fully launch AddressingHistory on Wednesday 17th November 2010. Mark the date in your diary and look out for more news soon!

Edinburgh Beltane Annual Gathering 2010

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Oct 122010

Last week our Project Officer Nicola represented AddressingHistory at the Edinburgh Beltane Annual Gathering 2010, a workshop and networking event on community engagement.

Last Wednesday afternoon around 40 members of educational, research and cultural organisations from Edinburgh and beyond gathered together at the Engine Shed (native Edinburghers may know it better for it’s delicious tofu than as an events space) for a workshop organised by Edinburgh Beltane, a National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement with partner organisations across – and beyond – Edinburgh.

All of the attendees had signed up for the day with a tweet to the event hashtag (#ebag2010) describing areas of interest and ideas so we knew we would be meeting a really interesting group with a diverse set of ideas for engagement and communication – from mathematical knitters to theatrical chemists. I grabbed a space for AddressingHistory with this tweet:

“Social Media evangelist seeks genealogy & local history collaboration and/or expertise for @Addresshistory project and blog”
Image: Our Group's Ketso Board halfway through the afternoon...

Our Group's Ketso Board halfway through the afternoon...

The idea of the workshop was to develop event ideas and we split between tables representing various possible venues (AddressingHistory joined the National Museum of Scotland’s (NMS) table) and began forming ideas for events using the “Ketso” planning and ideas tool. The goal was to find three viable event ideas for each of six venues that could then be voted on.

Ketso, which I’d not used before, is a tiny bit like Fuzzy Felts for groups of adult brainstormers. A large felt planning area with several “stems” forms a background (which looks like a tree root structure) to add ideas and comments on little leaf shaped cards which you can stick anywhere on the stems. The process involves several rounds of idea sharing and, in this workshop, also several rounds of switching tables to comment on other’s emerging idea boards (adding comments and approval to their ideas, suggesting new event ideas based on their interest areas).

The National Museums of Scotland table attracted a diverse group and, in addition to representatives of NMS and AddressingHistory, there was a scientist working on communicating renewable energy projects, an expert on language and language preservation, a member of the BSLUptake project and a representative from the University of Edinburgh’s sustainability office.  Having written our ideas and resources down (on brown leaves), our good ideas and clever solutions to combine lots of ideas (on green leaves), our concerns (on grey leaves), our comments (on white strips) and having picked out our favourite ideas (little yellow ticks and red exclamation marks) we had an enormously fruitful and full Ketso board and three fully formed ideas to take forward.

The NMS Group's Ketso Board at the end of the day.

The NMS Group's Ketso Board at the end of the day.

The ideas that went through from our table were all for possible events to be held in a new area of the National Museum of Scotland (in part of the building being refurbished under the Royal Museum Project):

  1. LangEvol: Language diversity and diversity in language: origins, evolutions and futures of language
  2. Meaning: Debunk the jargon! Speed dating exploration of science through sign language, visual arts, dance, etc.
  3. Idea: Mapping the ideas and innovation of Edinburgh institutions.

I was particularly excited about the potential for AddressingHistory to be a part of either the possible event on the history of ideas in Edinburgh or the possible event on  language – since the origins and changes in place-names are a really interesting c0nnection to the historical post office directory data.  The history and changes in language over time was an important part of forming the “LangEvol” idea but one of the most interesting contributions that first sparked the idea was from Bob of BSL:Uptake who explained that the sign language for telephone has changed three times since telephones was first invented and that all three signs remain in use. The signs each says something about the type of phone being described and about the signer since they represent either an early mouthpiece/earpiece set, a relatively modern handset or a mobile phone.

Post It Note of our LangEvol idea

The main reason for compiling all of these ideas was to share experience and make new connections but some of the ideas may go on to become real events which is a thrilling prospect as every group came up with superb suggestions any one of which would be huge fun to take part in (all of the ideas are listed on the workshop blog). All eighteen event ideas also went forward to the evening networking event at InSpace where both workshop attendees,  and lots of additional communicators and researchers who had joined us, were able to vote on their favourites.  The results of the voting have just been released on the Beltane Blog (see the graph below and click on the image to go to the full results) – I am delighted to see that Langevol received the most votes but I think all of the winning ideas sound fantastic!

#ebag2010 Votes

The remainder of the workshop consisted of presentations from two previous Beltane grant recipients who presented on  two very different projects.

BSL Sign Language Interpreter - from the BSL:Update Website

BSL Sign Language Interpreter - from the BSL:Update Website

The first presentation, from Bob Duncan of Heriot-Watt and BSL:Uptake, was about a Knowledge Exchange Cafe for the deaf community that enabled networking, engagement in public policy – particularly the ability to contribute to a consultation document by being videoed signing their responses – and socialising over tea and cake as well of course.

3D Tree Image ("3D-02-22-09-0018a geese in holding pattern above the trees") - Image by Flickr user Jim Frost (jimf0390)

"3D-02-22-09-0018a geese in holding pattern above the trees" by Jim Frost (jimf0390) from Flickr

The second presentation, from Dan Ridley-Ellis of the Centre for Timber Engineering at Edinburgh Napier University, was on “Real Life Science – Wood Biomechanics 3D”. This was a weekend of activities at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh in which various organisations concerned with increasing public awareness of trees and woodland worked with a secondary school student to create engaging displays including a 3D tree exhibition.

Awaiting the results of the Public Engagement Challenge Award

Awaiting the results of the Public Engagement Challenge Award

The afternoon workshop was followed by a lovely evening meeting others’ working at academic organisations, museums, galleries and similar organisations throughout the city, and also finding out the winner of the Public Engagement Challenge for the year (which was the BSL:Uptake project!).  I was able to share AddressingHistory flyers with various researchers and made contact with organisations including the National Museum of Scotland, the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Hopefully AddressingHistory may feed into the work or events of some of the organisations we met at the Beltane Annual Gathering but we’d also love to hear from you if you your local history groups would like flyers, posters or would like to include AddressingHistory in an event or piece of work of yors or of a community group you are involved in.

Huge thanks to Heather Rea at Beltane and all who organised the Annual Gathering – I had a superb time and was delighted that my fellow attendees were really excited to hear about AddressingHistory and keen to have a play with the website when it launches in November!

Perth 800: A Place in History

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Sep 092010

A Place in History, a two-day conference which forms part of a year long event celebration of the 800th anniversary of Perth (see the Perth 800 website for more information), begins tomorrow at Perth Concert Hall. The event will include presentations on the history and development of the city through the ages and AddressingHistory will be represented at an EDINA stand. Addy Pope will be showcasing various EDINA projects and services including Walking Through Time and AddressingHistory.

If you would like to grab a poster or flyers about AddressingHistory to share with your community or organisation, or if you would like a very early peek at the AddressingHistory tool, do stop by the EDINA stand and say “Hello!” to Addy.

Aug 202010

This month all of us on the AddressingHistory Team have been feeling quite festive: the sun is (mostly) shining, the web tool for AddressingHistory is starting to look fantastic, and there have been huge amounts of enthusiasm and energy surrounding Edinburgh (where we are based) as the various August festivals get under way.  With this in mind we thought we would gather up some information on shows and events in and beyond Edinburgh that might be of interest over the next few weeks.

In and Around Edinburgh

Around Scotland

  • The Bruce Festival, which celebrates the life and legends of Robert the Bruce, takes place in Dunfermline from 19th August to 29th August.
  • Gaelic Workers at Stanley Mills looks back at the people who were recruited from the Highlands to work in this 18th century cotton mill complex near Perth. This event will run every other week from 28th August until the end of September.
  • Highland Games are taking place throughout the summer in various locations around the Highlands. A full schedule is available on the VisitScotland website and one of the most high profile games, the Braemar Gathering, takes place on 4rd September.
  • Perth: A Place in History,  part of the Perth 800 celebrations, is a two day conference (10th-11th September) looking back over the history of the city. AddressingHistory will be along at the event along with colleagues from the Visualising Urban Geographies project so please do stop by and say hello!

September also brings various Doors Open days and is also Scottish Archaeology Month – more information on both can be found on the Historic Scotland website. Edinburgh Doors Open Day 2010 will take place 25th and 26th September, more information can be found on the Cockburn Association website.

Finally, following yesterday’s news about the passing of Glasgow-born poet Edwin Morgan, we thought you might like to know that you can explore his work and hear readings of his poetry (along with the work of many other great Scottish poets) at the Scottish Poetry Library website.