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History - Maps address the past

Addressing History, a website launched last month, allows enthusiasts of the subject to explore their ancestry and local historical connections by placing historical Scottish Post Office directory listings on the map.

Funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), the website combines the listings from the directories with maps from the same years. It allows users to search for people, places and professions, and presents results on a map and as an editable listing that links to the digitised directory.

Richard Rodger, professor of economic and social history at Edinburgh University, said: "The directories are particularly useful not just for academics . but also for local historians, school projects - really for anybody who is interested in the way in which a city worked, how it functioned."

The site also enables users to add to, or suggest corrections to, the directory information. The geo-reference allows the instant creation of new maps to visualise the directory listings at the touch of a button, and the maps themselves can be used to look at the changing distributions of people and professions over time.

Similarly, maps illustrating family histories, tracking changes in local communities, and linking to other digitised materials such as census records, historical addresses and geo-referenced images, can all be explored.

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