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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Gazetteer?

A Gazetteer is a geographical dictionary. Instead of including lists of words, it includes lists of places. These places can be settlements (cities, towns, villages) or geographical features (hills, rivers, regions, parks, tourist attractions etc.). We have extended the concept of a Gazetteer to include events, famous people and family names.

Why include events, famous people and family names?

A gazetteer doesn't normally include these, but Scotland has so many connections between its towns and villages, castles and glens and historical figures and events that we thought you would like to know about these. Families, or clans, are also an important feature of Scotland, so we thought we would include these too.

Who uses the Gazetteer for Scotland?

We have undertaken various surveys to identify who might be interested in using the Gazetteer. This has shown that people from all over the world are interested in it. Interest is particularly apparent from countries where there are strong family connections to Scotland (such as other parts of the United Kingdom, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa). People of all age groups want to use the Gazetteer for all manner of different tasks, from tour planning, to historical reference, to business assessment and family tree research. Everything you can imagine, and more!

Can you answer my questions?

Please use the Gazetteer itself to answer any questions you have. If you have a pressing question which is not answered, of course we will try to help, but please bear in mind that we must direct our efforts to completing the project, and we do get a great number of questions. Remember that the process of compiling the Gazetteer for Scotland is still in progress, so we are unable to answer questions on entries as yet incomplete. All the information you need should eventually be included!

When will the site be completed?

By mid-2001 the website included many thousands of entries covering all of the major places in Scotland. However, the Gazetteer will probably never be completed, because we can always find new information to add and need to bring other entries up-to-date.

When was the Gazetteer for Scotland officially launched?

On 30th November 1998 (St Andrew's Day) the Gazetteer for Scotland was launched in the Department of Geography at the University of Edinburgh. The ceremony was attended by members of the press. The gazetteer has been planned for many years and a pilot project was completed in 1995.

How much did the Gazetteer for Scotland cost to create?

Building the sophisticated web-based database system which lies behind the Gazetteer for Scotland, and especially collecting all the data, has already cost in the region of £250,000. We estimate the annual cost of maintaining the information to be at least £30,000. Neither the University of Edinburgh, nor the Royal Scottish Geographical Society has the resources to cover this cost, and in practice, the maintainance of the system is undertaken through the enthusiasm of the editors.

How can I sponsor the Gazetteer for Scotland?

The only way that this project can be successful will be if we can raise funding to ensure it is completed, and can continue to reflect the changing face of Scotland. We hope to generate funding through corporate sponsorship. Sponsors will benefit from exposure to a very large number of users of the gazetteer, of the order of 250,000 accesses per week. Sponsors will be able have links to their own "home page", and their logos will be included on gazetteer pages.

If you can help by sponsoring the "Gazetteer for Scotland" project or need more information about future developments, please contact us:

Where does the information for the Gazetteer for Scotland come from?

All of the entries within the Gazetteer for Scotland have been especially written for this purpose by our team of specialist authors. The team consults a large number of reference materials, including standard reference works, government literature, information from tourist agencies, specialist studies on local places, and historical literature.

For more information see the detailed description of our sources.

How current is the information in the Gazetteer for Scotland?

The Gazetteer for Scotland covers a wide range of information about many places, such as their history, geography, economy and famous people. While we try to keep up-to-date, it is not always possible to take account of every new tourist attraction, the very latest study or even the most recent economic developments in each place or region. However, we do try to keep the Gazetteer as up-to-date as possible and value your suggestions. Try visiting the Gateway to Scotland's listing of Scottish newspapers for the latest news in Scotland.

Can I send you information about places you have forgotten?

We are very pleased to receive new information, updates or corrections. Please try to include sources and as much detail as you can, because we need to verify the information you give us to ensure that our standards of quality are maintained. While we are happy to receive information, we do not accept entries written by others. One of the ways is which the gazetteer differs from other web-sites is by including a balanced review within each entry, which has been subject to a thorough and consistent editorial process.

Can I send you photos to put on the website?

Thanks for the offer but at present we are generally unable to accept offers of photos for the site. This is partially for reasons of copyright.

Where can I find further information about Scotland?

See the acclaimed Gateway to Scotland website

Where is the Gazetteer for Scotland physically located?

The Gazetteer for Scotland runs on a large computer in the Department of Geography at the University of Edinburgh. This computer that lets many people use it at the same time and so can do many things at once. It needs to be able to do this because of the number of people who use our web-site (thousands every week).

How many entries are there in the Gazetteer?

You can check our Gaz Stats section, which calculates the exact number of entries for you. If you come back regularly, you will see the number of entries gradually increase.

In what form is the data for the Gazetteer held?

The Gazetteer for Scotland is held in a large relational database. This gives great flexibility in terms of searching and presenting the material.

Can I put in a link to the Gazetteer for Scotland on my website?

Yes. Our main reason for making the Gazetteer available on the web was so it could be as accessible as possible. We are very pleased you want to use it! If you intend including links to several pages within the Gazetteer, please do check with us first and take note of our guidelines on copyright and conditions of use.

Can the Gazetteer for Scotland site put in a link to my website?

The Gazetteer for Scotland is intended to provide a complete and verified source of information on Scotland. At present we don't have the resources to review and maintain a list of web links and therefore we cannot include links to other websites at present. We are however providing a facility for our sponsors. Please contact us if you would like to sponsor the Gazetteer.

Who is working on the Gazetteer for Scotland?

The editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland are Bruce M. Gittings (of the University of Edinburgh) and Dr. David M. Munro (of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society), who direct the project. The project has involved the contributions of many; see our credits page for full details.

I've seen the same information on Wikipedia - do you just copy them?

No, we never do that. We were compiling the Gazetteer for Scotland several years before Wikipedia existed and we create our own infomation from a range of published sources augmented with our own field work. We always try to use multiple sources to substantiate facts. Unfortunately Wikipedia editors often copy information from the Gazetteer for Scotland; we do hours of research, they copy-and-paste in seconds. This is illegal and we regard the practice as immoral and unreasonable, but it is very difficult to stop.

  ©1995-2011 Gazetteer for Scotland
Supported by: The Robertson Trust,  The Royal Scottish Geographical Society,
The Institute of Geography, University of Edinburgh