National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Records Policies

Records Policies

National Records of Scotland (NRS) has devised policies for the way it selects or administers records. These pages contain the policies which we have on areas such as conservation, selection of government records, records management and data protection.

Collections Management Policy

The work of appraising, selecting, cataloguing, conserving and storing the records held by NRS is overseen by the Records and Archives Services staff. Their work is framed by a large body of policies, procedures and desk instructions. The overarching governance of the Service and the oversight of those policies and their implementation rests with the Records and Archives Board (RAB). The structure and remit of RAB is set out in the Collections Management Policy (184 KB PDF).

Collections Information Policy

The collections information policy (234 KB PDF) sets out how NRS seeks to take intellectual and physical control of its collections and to provide and maintain appropriate catalogues to make them accessible to our staff and our many users.

Records Reclosure and Takedown Policy

This policy outlines why and how records which are held, preserved and made available by National Records of Scotland (NRS) may need to be closed to further public access, or taken down from view on our public websites.

Published information on reclosed records and web pages removed under takedown, is available  on our Records Reclosure and Takedown Policy page.

Conservation Policy

Our conservation policy provides the framework for the work of caring for and preserving the record collections in storage, in transit, when undergoing conservation treatment, during digital imaging or surrogacy programmes, on display including exhibition loan, and the environmental conditions within the historic buildings holding these collections.

Fragile records policy

Staff and researchers regularly find records in a condition which would merit attention from conservation staff. The fragile records policy was developed to set out the procedures for reporting records in a fragile condition, as part of our committment to the preservation of the records in our care.

Collections development Policy

NRS holds records spanning the 12th to the 21st centuries, touching on virtually every aspect of Scottish life. We are the repository for the public and legal records of Scotland, but we also have many local and private archives. The collections development policy (436 KB PDF) articulates both the general principles that underpin the selection of records to add to the national archival collection, and the detailed statement of our collecting and selection policies across various formats and subjects.

Records transfer policy

Our transfer policy suggests the circumstances in which the NRS would consider the transfer of some of its existing holdings of records of local interest to the custody of local authority and other archives in Scotland.

Data protection policy

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 regulate the processing of personal information within the UK. We are committed to ensuring that our employees comply with these laws and that any personal information we collect is used fairly, stored safely and not disclosed to any person unlawfully. The NRS Data Protection Policy sets out our obligations and demonstrates our commitment to compliance. The policy applies both to the information we create and receive in the course of administering our own business, and to the records of organisations and private individuals deposited with NRS for archiving purposes in the public interest. For more information refer to our data protection page.

Records management policy

The systematic management of the NRS's own administrative records is essential in order to protect and preserve them as evidence of actions, support future activities and business decisions and ensure accountability to present and future stakeholders and customers. The records management policy sets out the procedures and practices needed to control and manage the NRS's own records efficiently and effectively.

Digital Archiving at NRS

In 2014 NRS released its Digital Preservation Strategy, entitled: The National Records of Scotland and born digital records – a strategy for today and tomorrow.

The Digital Preservation Programme mentioned in the 2014 Strategy was wound up following the development of the existing repository and NRS is now embarking on a new project to review our current digital archiving practice, and lay out a refreshed strategic roadmap for its further development. Whilst many of the founding goals and principles in the 2014 Strategy are still entirely sound, we have therefore taken the decision to remove  it from our live website.  An archived version of the Strategy can still be found here:

Updates relating to a new digital archiving project will be made available in due course. We will also publish a new Digital Preservation Policy, which will illustrate our current practice and principles.

Collections Information Plan

The collections information plan (192 KB PDF) shows the cataloguing work planned and currently in progress across the Records and Archive Services' teams.

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