The Places of Scotland: Assessing the Need of a Standardised Place-Name Gazateer for Scotland
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This paper assesses the need for a standardised national place-name gazetteer for Scotland through identifying and analysing the various place-name gazetteers available for Scotland. The method used in this study extends previous approaches to measuring gazetteer completeness and accuracy, by analysing the gazetteers across the three axes of a gazetteer defined by Hill (2000): namely placename, feature-type and footprint. This methodological development included the creation of the Gazetteer Analysis Model which advanced previous place-name matching techniques by taking into account geographical footprint and variant names using a PERL program. It was found that rather than a clear and consistent placename gazetteer for Scotland, there are a patchwork of inconsistent heterogeneous gazetteers which can only be remedied by the creation of a standardised place-name gazetteer. The wider implications of these findings relate to the strong political synergies, at a national and international level, surrounding the importance of a clear and consistent list of place-names. In particular the study draws in to question the use of the Ordnance Survey 1:50000 gazetteer as the default place-name gazetteer for Scotland, due to its incomplete and inaccurate place naming and inadequate feature typing. It also highlights the restrictive impact the lack of a definitive place-name gazetteer is having on Scotland’s SDI, due to the value of place in being the most common form of spatial reference not being realised. The findings of this research paper form the basis of a business plan which sets out a strategy for the creation of a standardised place-name gazetteer for Scotland.