Over the years the Scottish Naturalist and the Western Naturalist have published a great many important papers, as well as notes and obituaries documenting the history and development of Scottish natural history. Latterly in particular, the journals had limited circulation and access has been difficult for anyone who did not receive their own printed copies or have a set of the journal(s) in a nearby library.
We would like to make access to the full run of the journals available through the Biodiversity Heritage Library. The BHL www.biodiversitylibrary.org, whose main partners in the UK are the Natural History Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, has become the world’s main free archive of digitised natural history literature, and has established itself as a leading online research library. If you don’t already know it, you should have a look – it offers free access to a vast amount of historical books and journals, including the Scottish Naturalist and the Annals of Scottish Natural History through to 1922, the Proceedings of the Glasgow Natural History Society, rare books by Pennant, Harvie-Brown, MacGillivray and much more. By adding the rest of the Scottish Naturalist (after 1922) and the short run of the Western Naturalist to the BHL we hope this will allow more people around the world to find and read these journals and appreciate their contribution to natural history. It will bring these journals to many new audiences.
The heirs of Dr Jack Gibson, as well as Aberdeen University Press and the current owners of Oilver & Boyd as publishers of the journal have either given their consent, or raised no objections to this plan. Authors, photographers and artists originally submitted their articles and other material to the Scottish Naturalist and the Western Naturalist for print publication, mostly before the idea of digital access came along. It is now impracticable or impossible to trace all the individual contributors or their legal representatives, but we believe that most or all would be happy to see their work now reaching new and wider audiences to the overall benefit of Scottish natural history. If any copyright holder does not wish to have their material included in free digital access, they are asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this with us as soon as possible, preferably before 1 December 2014. Arrangements are in place to have material excluded from web access where necessary.
Erik Paterson, CARG Secretary