Business Archives

The businesses and industries of Scotland have been instrumental in shaping the economic, social and cultural development of the country.

Every business is unique, with its own story of achievement, organisational culture, reputation, products, and people.


Business archive collections provide evidence of business activity and also the relationship businesses have with their staff and the communities within which they are based or trade.


Archives can be used in many ways to support active business and industry and a business archive is a business asset, providing evidence and proof of business transactions, translating into new brands and products, allowing a business to trade on its heritage. By keeping archives, businesses capture today’s experience, knowledge and business know-how for future use.

Business records:

  • Contain information vital for business continuity and are necessary to meet both short and long-term legal obligations.
  • Provide internal information relating to an organisation’s successes and failures which are used to inform the thinking of current business leaders.
  • Drive competitive advantage and support and inspire business and product development.
  • Can be exploited as part of Corporate Social Responsibility projects.
  • Aid marketing and decision making as well as providing evidence for legal and brand protection.

Business archives also have a wider social value. The central role that business and the economy play in our lives through wealth creation and the provision of goods and services mean they contribute an important element of our local, regional and national heritage.


Everyone connects with business and the economy as both consumers and workers. A company’s need for a workforce can create, sustain and develop a community. Similarly, a company’s closure can decimate the same community. For consumers, the products of business and industry form a part of our national identity, whether through branding, imagery or our built environment. Business records are therefore key sources in helping us to understand and connect with our past and present.

Business records:

Are a shared cultural asset documenting a collective past and celebrating communities in the present.

Document a collective past through staff records, photographs, film and oral histories and inspire the future.

Have educational value for researchers; from local and family historians through to economic and business historians.