The Digital Scottish Bird Report Project was led by the late Ray Murray, with the technical assistance of Ian Andrews and Stephen Hunter. The basic idea was to enable ‘readers’ to access all the species accounts - for each of the Scottish recording areas and for any year - via the online Scottish Bird Report. Rather than trying to compress a huge number of records into a 100–200 word account for each species, the readers can see all the ‘raw’ species accounts that were previously edited down for the old-style paper Scottish Bird Report.

A high percentage of historical reports are now available online, and new reports are added periodically by Ian and Stephen. The online coverage page allows you to see what is already posted on the site. We have undertaken not to upload new local reports to the site until we have permission from the local branch/club that publishes the report. In many cases this will be a year or two after the publication date of the local report.

Data have been compiled either from the original computer files that were forwarded to the printers by local bird report editors, or by scanning old copies from the days before local reports were computerised. While bound copies of all local reports are available at Waterston House, scanning is simpler and more accurate when unbound copies are used. So the provision of unbound copies was invaluable in maintaining accuracy.

Scanning and the subsequent process of optical character recognition is not always 100% accurate, so some allowances have to be made for mistakes that occur at this juncture. This is especially the case with place names, particularly those in Gaelic where spell-checking software is at a real disadvantage. Similarly some of the oldest reports – printed by what are now very crude copying techniques – have caused problems. Every effort has been made to maintain accuracy, to the extent of correcting errors in the original publications! Please contact Ian Andrews or Stephen Hunter for any significant mistakes.