This project aims to rescue and secure BOSLIT, a digital bibliography launched during the 1990s and referencing more than 30,000 translations of Scottish texts since the medieval era.
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 Until 2018, BOSLIT was hosted by the National Library of Scotland but it had to be withdrawn due to its outdated format.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.