Hello, I’m Alastair McIntyre, the creator of the Electric Scotland web site. I thought it might be of interest to tell you the background to Electric Scotland and where we are going with it.
Essentially Electric Scotland started life back in 1991 while I was running Almac BBS which was Europe’s largest Bulletin Board Service. With the web suddenly becoming very popular it was obvious that BBS’s had had there day and so it was time to launch a new web service.
Why did I call it “Electric Scotland”? Well the names I wanted had already gone so we decided that Electric also meant “exciting” and I also wanted Scotland in the name and hence Electric Scotland came into being.
My aim with the site has been to make it a content site by ocr’ing in many great history books on Scotland, the Scots and people and places of Scots descent. So we now have excellent publications up on the general history of Scotland, the Highlands and places in Scotland. We don’t really do links to other sites other than clan sites or to acknowledge an article that is sent into us. The reason for being a content site is so you can read all about our history without having to go anywhere else. With some 100,000 web pages the site is very large and when you consider a web page can have a full chapter of a book or 100 pictures you can see the content is large. At the last count our content took up some 90 GBytes of data.
To this we’ve added a huge collection of biographies of local Scots showing how they contributed to Scottish history. To that we’ve also added loads of information on Scots and Scots descendants around the world.
Over the years we’ve also received many communications from visitors, clan organizations, and other Scottish societies and also broadened the scope to include Scots-Irish information.
We now have around 500+ full publications on the site for you to read including the 9 volume History of Scotland by Tytler, 6 volume General History of the Highlands, Highland Clans and Highland regiments. But we’ve also got books like the 4 volume Scots in British America and also the 5 volume book on Eminent Scots and the 6 volume Gazetteer of Scotland.
To this we’ve added old books on Scottish Medicine, Wild Life, Education, Agriculture, etc., which are designed to fill out gaps in our knowledge.
So by far the major work we do on the site is to source good books on Scottish history and Scots from all over the world and is why we have books on Scots in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Africa, France, Spain, Argentina, Sweden, Prussia and many others.
While we do have pages for all the Scottish clans these are meant to be a general introduction to them and where we know of an official clan web site we’ll include a link to them as well. Electric Scotland plays no part in general clan activities but will post up clan newsletters or other information if they are sent in to us.
Over the years we have expanded the site to include sections for Poetry and Stories and also a section for Kids where we have a few games and some 800 children’s stories. We also included a section for the Scots language, the Knights Templar and Religion. To that we’ve added a section on music where we also have a 6 volume publication of the songs of Scotland together with the sheet music.
Electric Scotland claims no particular expertise on Scottish history as we do no research ourselves other than looking for informative and readable antiquarian books that we feel will expand our knowledge of Scotland and the Scots. Of course this is the work that researchers do which is to find out what is available and then write about it from their perspective.
Our sole income comes from advertising and we’re happy that we can make sufficient money to operate the site full time. As I am a one man business all of the content is placed on the site by myself but I would like to acknowledge the help we get from time to time of friends of the site who will ocr in books for us. These folk have come from around the world to help us and the help is greatly appreciated 🙂
As I am now retired I find my pensions now cover the cost of the site so while we retain some advertising the revenue generated is quite small but none the less allows me to purchase some off items for the site or to take the odd trip to do some additional research.
Electric Scotland was created in 1997 and run from Scotland but in 1998 we moved our hosting to Kentucky in the USA. Later I formed Electric Scotland USA LLC which is an American company and now the business is run by that company. I myself moved to the USA and then to Canada and am now personally resident in Canada.
As to the future… we will continue to add more antiquarian books to the site and at time of writing this we have embarked on the 15 volume New Statistical Account of Scotland published in 1845 and the 3 volume “Scottish Nation” which is a history of Scotland told through biographies of Scots. To this we’re also publishing the weekly Scottish-Canadian newspaper from 1891. We have also just acquired 12 volumes of the “Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland”.
We are also half way through publishing the first 8 volumes of the Scotch-Irish Society of America. We recently did a biography of the Rev. Normal MacLeod, chaplain to the Queen and in it we discovered that he’d started a weekly publication called “Good Words” so we’ve also acquired the first volume containing all the first years issues and have made a start at publishing that on the site.
As variety we intend to publish books like “The History of the County of Bruce” which is a county in Ontario Canada where many Scots settled. Another book is “Ocean to Ocean” which is an account of the building of the Canadian Pacific railway. The chief engineer was a Scot and was a massive enterprise and worth reading.
We also plan to publish two books on the early civil and ecclesiastical history of Scotland from around AD80 to AD1100 and of course lots of other books as well 🙂
We did have other domains but over time have brought them back under the ElectricScotland.com domain. We thought having different domains would make it easier to maintain but that didn’t prove to be effective so most have now either been discarded or brought back into ElectricScotland.com.
We are looking to do more audio and video material on the site in the years to come and also hope to provide some community software so visitors can have their own place on ElectricScotland.com and to that end we’ll also continue to monitor any new and interesting services on the Internet to bring to our visitors.
We continue to do our weekly email newsletter and have around 6,000 or so members that receive this at the moment. We also continue to add content to the site every day of the year with perhaps an odd missed day if I’m traveling.
I might also add that as I am now resident in Canada I also started the ElectricCanadian.com web site which in size is almost as large as our Scottish site.
So there you have it… a brief intro on what we do 🙂