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Scran is a Scottish online resource for educational use by the public, schools, further education and higher education. It presents 360,000 (still and moving) images and sounds contributed by museums, galleries, archives and the media. It is a registered charity, originally set up using National Lottery funding.

General description[edit]

Picture of football fans on trackside at Easter Road, 17 August 1985

Scran works in partnership with over 300 cultural institutions in Scotland and the rest of the UK who contribute material to the online service. The online learning resource service hosts 360,000 images, movies and sounds from museums, galleries, archives and the media. It can be used as a superior form of clip art or for particular learning applications. The online service also provides a range of tools for users "to do stuff with things they find". A number of institutions use Scran's open source online solution - Scran-in-a-Box - to provide access to their own data.

Organisational structure[edit]

Scran has three organisational levels: The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), The Scran Trust and Scran Ltd.


Scran has been managed by RCAHMS since 2008.

The Scran Trust[edit]

The Scran Trust - a registered charity - aims to provide educational access to digital materials representing material culture and history.

Scran Ltd[edit]

Scran Ltd is the wholly owned trading arm of the Scran Trust. It provides the public service website of the Scran Trust and the online subscription service. It is one of the largest educational online services in the UK, supporting over 4,000 schools, libraries, colleges and universities.

Background information[edit]


Scran was formed in 1996, and its founding partners were The National Museums of Scotland, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Museums Galleries Scotland and, by invitation, the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum.

Initial work[edit]

In its first five years, it engaged in a wide ranging scheme of grant awards which allowed cultural organisations to digitise parts of their collections to be made available for educational purposes. This was Millennium Commission funded through the UK Lottery. It developed an advanced licensing system, commended by many, in which the institution retained ownership of the digitised assets, but made these available under licence to Scran. There followed further large grant aid partner projects with NOF Digitise funding through the National Library of Scotland.

Recent work[edit]

Most recently, Scran has added records from Rotherham Council and from the Scottish Motor Museum Trust. Technical additions include "create" functions that allow user creation of instant PDFs, the ability for users to output mini-websites, "mash up" facilities to Google Maps and Google Earth and enhanced cross searching such as SRU/SRW.


  • Silver MUSE from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), 'In recognition of the Highest Standards of Excellence in the use of Media and Technology…'.
  • The ‘Jason Farradane’ award of the Institute of Information Scientists as "an outstanding piece of work in the Information Field".
  • Listed as one of the top ten NGfL sites in the BECTa/Guardian Awards
  • Listed as one of the Top Ten Online Museums in the world by The Guardian newspaper.
  • Scottish Museum of the Year award for multimedia
  • British Archaeological Society / Channel 4 award for multimedia

Technical details[edit]


The service hosts over 360,000 resources with educational materials on top of that and delivers a peak of 1.1 million hits per day.

Software and hardware[edit]

Scran utilises open source software and runs on a cluster server configuration with MySQL and PHP under Linux. The searchable database is over 1.5GB and total storage including all assets is over 5TB. Sixty additional websites are hosted as linked services.


The whole system developed by Scran including ScranBase and all the tools like Create and Albums is available for others to use as Scran-in-a Box. The National Museums Scotland[1] Collections Database,[2] the National Burns Collection,[3] the William Wallace Website,[4] The Virtual Hamilton Palace Trust and Robert Gordon University use "Scran-in-a-Box" solutions.

Registrations and finance[edit]


The Scran Trust is a registered charity in Scotland SCO24961. Scran Ltd is registered in Scotland SC163518. The word Scran and the logo are registered trademarks of Scran.

Sources of funding[edit]

Scran is funded through grant aid from the Scottish Government, subscriptions and sales of services.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°56′27.37″N 3°10′47.08″W / 55.9409361°N 3.1797444°W / 55.9409361; -3.1797444