The Business Archives Surveying Officer role was established in 1977 to carry out surveys of business records to ensure that the records most valuable to Scotland’s business heritage are preserved. It has been based at the Ballast Trust since 2014.
The Surveying Officer offers advice and guidance about the management and use of business archives to businesses, archivists and public sector organisations. Over the years, surveys have ranged from listing a few volumes to surveying hundreds of metres of records that now comprise collections held across Scotland and in many cases have led to the creation of a corporate archive for a business. The existence of a Surveying Officer in Scotland has made a huge contribution to the status of the business archives sector in Scotland and helped to ensure that Scotland has a wealth of business and business-related archives.
The post was created by the Business Archives Council of Scotland who found that their work by the mid 1970s was at a level where a full-time Surveying Officer was required. The post built on the work of earlier regional surveys organised by the National Register of Archives for Scotland and was jointly funded by the Scottish Records Office (now National Records of Scotland) and the Business Archives Council for Scotland with contributions from businesses until 2010.
The role fell into abeyance for four years. In 2014 the role was revived by a consortium of partners: the Ballast Trust, the Capturing the Energy Project at Aberdeen University, the William Lind Foundation (which funds the Ballast Trust), the Aggregate Foundation (which supports the Centre for Business History in Scotland) and the University of Glasgow Archives & Special Collections. It has been based at the Ballast Trust since then and from 2015 funded solely by the Lind and Aggregate Foundations, supported by donations from businesses for archive services rendered.
In 2021, the National Records of Scotland announced a new funding partnership with The Ballast Trust to support the role.