The Digitising Scotland project, funded by ESRC grant ES/K00574X/1, will digitise the 24 million Scottish vital events record images (births, marriages and deaths) since 1855. This will allow research access to individual-level information on some 18 million individuals – a large proportion of those who have lived in Scotland since 1855. At the moment these records are kept as indexed images accessible from Scotland’s People, but this means that to extract data for research projects a researcher must first search for an individual record by name, and then manually transcribe the information they need themselves (eg cause of death, occupation, etc). This has made any large-scale research project impossible – a situation that the Digitising Scotland project will change.
In the School of Computer Science we are currently applying machine learning techniques to automate the classification of occupations and causes of death from these records to standard classifications (HISCO and ICD-10 respectively). We are also in the planning stages of the linkage process, which will establish links between related records to determine genealogical structures. The people involved are listed here.