The Bibliography of Scottish Literature in Translation (BOSLIT): Creating Digital Futures & Networks is a two-year project (2021-2023), based at the University of Glasgow and funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. It is led by Professor Kirsteen McCue (Scottish Literature) and Professor Lorna Hughes (Information Studies).
The key aim of this project is to rescue BOSLIT, a rich online database recording more than 32,000 Scottish literary works translated into over a hundred languages, with particular strength in the reception of canonical Scottish writers in European languages. Until 2018, BOSLIT was hosted by the National Library of Scotland but it had to be withdrawn due to its outdated format. The raw database can still be downloaded from the NLS’s DataFoundry, but this is very different from using a live bibliographical resource, working with an active community of researchers, publishers, and authors.
Our project to revive BOSLIT is threefold. First, it aims to provide the bibliography with a new digital home, using the Open Source OMEKA platform. This digital operation should allow for enhanced analysis of BOSLIT’s database, paving the way for new publications about the global reception of Scottish Literature across the centuries.
Secondly, the project intends to develop a plan to secure BOSLIT’s long-term digital future. Learning from existing national bibliographic database projects, the network will establish BOSLIT as a ‘case study’ for rescuing and developing similar bibliographic resources that may be at risk in the new digital world of the 21st century. Moreover, the project team will rely on a core network of specialists from different fields (literary, information studies, librarianship, and publishing) to help design its strategy for BOSLIT. Together, the team and its network as well as partners from International Association for the Study of Scottish Literatures (IASSL) will test the possibilities of engaging a broader, international network of scholars to crowd-source data on international translations of Scottish writing from the past, while stimulating new translations of Scotland’s books for the future.
Finally, the project aims to raise awareness about BOSLIT, amongst both professionals and the wider public. Beyond hackneyed tropes and insular clichés, Scottish Literature has had a tremendous impact on the modern imagination —an influence which reached far beyond Scotland’s own border. BOSLIT can help us understand, quantify, and analyse this phenomenon and, as such, it is relevant for anyone interested not only in Scottish Literature but also in translation, languages, print, and publishing, cultural globalisation, and data collecting. As the project moves forward, we will keep feeding the present website with blog posts, interviews, and case studies to reflect on BOSLIT’s scientific and literary treasures. Feel free to follow us on Twitter for any updates.
Professor Kirsteen McCue – Principal Investigator (Professor of Scottish Literature and Song Culture & Co-Director of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies, University of Glasgow)
Professor Kirsteen McCue is Professor of Scottish Literature and Song Culture and Co-Director of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow where she has been based since 2002. She has published widely on song culture and is editor of two volumes of songs by James Hogg and Robert Burns’s Songs for George Thomson, vol 4. of the Oxford Works of Robert Burns (2021). Her work on British National Song culture from 1750 to 1850 (the Romantic National Song Network) has drawn attention to the transnationality of songs during the long eighteenth century and she has published on Beethoven’s settings of Scots songs and their German translations. Aside from her focus on songs, she has just co-edited, with Linden Bicket, George Mackay Brown’s An Orkney Tapestry (Polygon) to mark the centenary of Brown’s birth in 2021.
Professor Lorna Hughes — Co-Investigator (Professor of Digital Humanities and Information Studies, University of Glasgow)
Lorna Hughes is Professor in Digital Humanities, at the University of Glasgow. She has worked in digital humanities, and on the development of hybrid digital collections based on material culture held by memory institutions, at a number of organisations in the USA and UK. Her research addresses the creation of digital cultural heritage, and the use and re-use of digital collections for research, teaching, and public engagement. She has had other leading roles – as Primary Investigator, or co-Investigator – on over twenty funded research projects, including the EPSRC-AHRC Scottish National Heritage Partnership; and the EU-funded DESIR project (DARIAH Digital Sustainability). More recently, Lorna has become Principal Investigator of the substantial, AHRC-project, ‘Towards a National Collection Discovery Award Our Heritage, Our Stories: Linking and searching community-generated digital content to develop the people’s national collection’ (October 2021-2024, £3,6M). Her publications include: Digitizing Collections: Strategic Issues for the Information Manager (Facet, 2004), and the edited volumes Digital Collections: Use, Value and Impact (Facet, 2011), The Virtual Representation of the Past (Ashgate, 2008) and Cultural Heritage Infrastructures in Digital Humanities (Routledge, 2018).
Dr Luca Guariento – Digital Officer (Research System Developer, College of Arts, University of Glasgow)
Luca Guariento was awarded a PhD at the University of Glasgow with a dissertation on the English polymath and physician Robert Fludd (1573/4-1637). Besides his research interests in Music, early-modern thought, and History of Ideas, he has a passion for computers and all things technological, which naturally led him to become research systems developer for the College of Arts at the University of Glasgow. He was project assistant of The Medical Consultation Letters of Dr William Cullen project, and developed many web resources such as editions.curioustravellers.ac.uk and hms.scot. He is currently working on many digital humanities projects, BOSLIT begin one of them.
Dr Paul Malgrati – Research Assistant (Scottish Literature, University of Glasgow)
A native of France, Paul Malgrati joined the Scottish Literature department, at the University of Glasgow, after completing his doctoral studies at the University of St Andrews, in February 2020. Paul’s Ph.D. thesis, ‘Robert Burns in Scottish Politics (1914-2014)’, which was awarded the 2020 Ross Roy Medal, recently yielded a publication contract with Edinburgh University Press (forthcoming, 2023). In the department of Scottish Literature, alongside the BOSLIT project, Paul researches the history and reception of the Burns Supper around the world. Besides academia, he also writes and publishes poetry in both Scots and French. In 2020, his poetry manuscript, Poèmes Ecossais, was shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award; it is forthcoming with Blue Diode Press in July 2022.
The Core Network
Joe Marshall – Associate Director of Collections Management, National Library of Scotland
Joseph Marshall is Associate Director of Collections Management at the National Library of Scotland, with responsibility for areas including metadata, legal deposit, preservation and digitisation. Previously he was Head of Special Collections and the Centre for Research Collections at the University of Edinburgh. He is a rare books librarian and bibliographer by training and is also co-editor of the Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, volume 1.
Ann Matheson – Librarian and ex-Member of BOSLIT Steering Committee
Ann Matheson was Keeper of Printed Books in the National Library of Scotland when BOSLIT was founded in 1994. In co-operation with Professor Peter France, University of Edinburgh, the National Library agreed to host BOSLIT on behalf of the Steering Committee, which comprised writers and translators, academics, librarians and representatives of the Scottish Arts Council and the National Library of Scotland. In more recent years, she has participated in the renewed effort from 2014 to expand the database through volunteer efforts.
Professor Carla Sassi – Convenor of the International Association for the Study of Scottish Literature (IASSL)
Carla Sassi is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Verona. Her main fields of investigation are the intersections between Scottish and Postcolonial studies, the Scottish Literary Renaissance, modern and contemporary Scottish literature. Among her publications are: Why Scottish Literature Matters (2005), Caribbean–Scottish Relations (2007, co-author), Within Without Empire: Scotland across the (post)colonial borderline (2013, co-editor), and The International Companion to Scottish Poetry (2015, editor). She was a Royal Society of Edinburgh Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Stirling (2008), and she gave the second International Scottish Literature International Lecture at the Scottish Parliament (2013, organised by ASLS). She is currently Convenor of IASSL as well as an ASLS Honorary Fellow.
Dennis Smith – Librarian and ex-Member of BOSLIT Steering Committee
Dennis Smith was a curator at the National Library of Scotland between 1970 and 2005. Over the years he was involved in various bibliographical projects, latterly specialising in contemporary Scottish material. He edited the Bibliography of Scotland, later Scottish Bibliographies Online, and was on the steering committee of BOSLIT from its inception. He has written a history of the BOSLIT project which will appear in volume 16 (2021) of the Journal of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society. In retired life he writes occasionally for the Scottish Review and works for an environmental charity.
Dr Shafquat Towheed – Senior Lecturer in English (FASS) & Book Historian
Dr Shafquat Towheed is Senior Lecturer in English in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), The Open University. He directs the UK Reading Experience Database, 1450-1945, and the History of Books and Reading (HOBAR) Research Collaboration. He is the UK Principal Investigator for the JPICH/AHRC funded consortium, ‘Reading Europe Advanced Data Investigation Tool’ (READ-IT, 2018-2021) which uses digital tools to investigate the cultural heritage of reading in Europe. He is the author, editor or co-editor of nine books and has researched and written extensively on the history of reading practices. With Professor Jonathan Rose, he is co-editor of Palgrave Macmillan’s ‘New Directions in Book History’ series. With Prof Corinna Norrick-Rühl, he is currently co-editing a collection, Bookshelves in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic (forthcoming, 2022).
Dr Zsuzsanna Varga — Lecturer in Hungarian Studies and ex-member of BOSLIT Committee.
Zsuzsanna Varga studied English, Hungarian and Portuguese at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. She took her PhD in the Department of English Literature at Edinburgh University in the field of Scottish literature, and also holds a postgraduate qualification from Strathclyde University in Library and Information Studies. She has taught in Central and East European Studies at the University of Glasgow since 2008. She has been actively involved in BOSLIT since 2001, where she has served on the BOSLIT Committee in different capacities. Her scholarly interests include translation studies from a historical dimension. She also actively contributes to the Translation Studies Programme of the University of Glasgow.