Business Archives Surveying Officer

The Business Archives Surveying Officer 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 appropriately. The Surveying Officer actively promotes the preservation of Scotland’s business heritage.

The Surveying Officer offers advice and guidance about the management and use of business archives to businesses, archivists and other public sector organisations.


Business archive surveys can be carried out on behalf of a variety of bodies, including businesses, archives and individuals. In order for a survey to take place, we must have authorisation from the legal owner of the records.

A survey includes:

  • determining the aims and objectives of the survey
  • scoping the extent of the material
  • scoping the location of material
  • determining which records are considered archival
  • determining which records are retained by the depositor
  • creating a survey of the records in report format
  • providing recommendations for a suitable place of deposit

A survey may be carried out or requested for a variety of reasons. It may be that the records form the corporate history of a company that they wish to preserve and make accessible in a suitable place of deposit or in-house in archival compliant storage areas. Or records have been cared for by family members or staff members and now need to be deposited with a repository.

Rescue of Records at Risk

The Surveying Officer will also work to protect records at risk of being destroyed or damaged. Often surveys are conducted when a company goes into liquidation and the assets are being dispersed. In these circumstances time is an important factor and finding a suitable location to store the records quickly.


A full-time Surveying Officer was first appointed by the Business Archives Council of Scotland in 1977. The existence of 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 role of the Business Archives Surveying Officer is today funded by the Ballast Trust and contributions from businesses. Until 2011 this work was funded through a grant from the National Archives of Scotland and contributions from businesses and members of the Business Archives Council of Scotland.

It was re-established in 2014 by the Ballast Trust, the William Lind Foundation, University of Glasgow Archive Services, the Business Archives Council of Scotland and the Capturing the Energy project at the University of Aberdeen. The surveying officer is based at the Ballast Trust and the University of Glasgow.

Contact Us

If you are the custodian of, or know of, archive records relating to Scottish industry and business that you think should be surveyed then please contact the Surveying Officer:

Cheryl Brown, Business Archives Surveying Officer

Email: | Telephone: 01505 328488 | @SBHNetwork

If you are aware of a business collection at risk please contact the Surveying Officer or the Crisis Management Team.