Scrambling for cultural resources? Try SCRAN

Scran is a fantastic online resource – an archive of  over 360,000 images, movies and sounds from museums, galleries, archives and the media.

And all of it comes with embedded attribution text so that schools using the material can be sure of the source of each resource. The rights to use of the resources allows for free use by any licensed Scran user within educational establishments, such as for sharing on intranets, VLEs (Glow for Scottish schools), worksheets, posters, etc.

The full scale versions of images and other material can only be used in public resources (such as blogs, websites or wikis where these are open to be viewed by anyone anywhere) where a licence is purchased to do so – and there is an online facility on Scran to make this process straightforward. However, Scran also provides html code for users to embed thumbnail versions on their blog or website – this code includes the credit information as to source and copyright, like the image below. And note how this also includes an automatic link to Scran and more information about the image:

Aerial view, The Falkirk Wheel, Falkirk, from north-west

© Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland; E/11461/cn. Licensor

To demonstrate the range of resources available, you can find anything from images of tigers, Charlie Chaplin, Sean Connery, a Degas, a Dali, to images of war or whaling, standing stones, a pint of beer, an integrated circuit, or line drawings of an acorn or an adrenal gland! For learning, there are Pathfinder Packs for instant use; and tools such as Curriculum Navigator, Albums, Stuff, Create, Multicreate, Mini Website and Slides to let you discover, store, design, assemble and share your own learning resources within your own school, education authority or all Scran users.

There are templates to quickly and easily create a quick poster or worksheet in just a couple of clicks from any image, or make a slideshow on a theme or topic. This can be used by teachers creating materials for use by pupils, or for pupils themselves to create leaflets, posters, timelines, geographical studies projects – either using the templates or by simply copying and pasting into word-processing software or elsewhere. A huge benefit is that each image, when copied and pasted, has a message below it stating the origin of the image. This helps pupils and staff deal with giving credit to the source.

Here’s a summary from Scran’s website of what is on offer for your use:


Access over 347,000 copyright cleared images. View and download the images at the size of your choice – thumbnail, postcard and full screen size. Zoom enables you to view maps and documents in detail.

Pathfinder Packs

Explore over 3,500 professionally written concise illustrated histories on events, people, places and a wealth of other topics. From Prehistory and the Dark Ages to modern Feats of Engineering, and from writers and poets to war and warmongers, Scran’s Pathfinder Packs provide the ideal starting point. Every pack can be copied into your own album in Stuff for editing.


Your own personal space on Scran where you can store images, searches and albums. From Stuff, you can edit, create and share materials with other users. You can even generate RSS feeds.

Access Scran’s communities and create your own Blog or Community in our Scribble website where you can also upload your own material.


A simple and innovative way to create your own electronic collections of Scran resources. Albums are fully editable in Stuff and can be used to multicreate a booklet, generate a browsable web site or an online slideshow. Albums can also be shared with other licensed users.


Once you have your album in order with the text edited, why not make an instant slide show using Slides. Copy your album to another user and they have the slides to view too.

Ever seen an image and instantly wanted to make it into a worksheet, card, postcard, greetings card or calendar? Create is the solution for you. In a few easy templated steps your creation is delivered to your desktop fully completed in PDF format ready to use.

Ever wanted an instant booklet from an album of images?  Multicreate – just like Create above – does exactly that job – and it’s just as easy as Create.  1, 2, 3 and you have your booklet in PDF format with no copying or complications.
Mini Web Sites

Create your own mini website from Scran Albums or Pathfinder Packs in a couple of simple clicks. Your personal mini website is delivered to your desktop and you can use this offline.

Search smartly through educational topics, subjects and levels. Immediately find relevant resources.

Maps – Geographic Search

Look up Ordnance Survey maps of Britain and get Scran to find material in that location or, alternatively, open a map from a record to see where the object comes from. “Mash-up” to Google Maps or Google Earth from any record too.

Use Share, which is conveniently located on the toolbar under every image, to email, blog or send a postcard on a particular thumbnail image.  Never done this before? Scran makes it easy with a simple point and click interface.

Scran’s website has video tutorials on how to make the most of Scran’s resources – to access these click on the left-hand menu on Scran’s website – “About Us & Contact” – “Scran Demo” and choose from the videos listed under “Demonstration flash movies.”

The aqueduct and boat lift, Falkirk Wheel, 2002

© Falkirk Museums. Licensor

Click here for a handout supporting Using Scran for Schools.

Scran’s aim is to provide educational access to digital materials representing our material culture and history. Scran is a service of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland – and with material coming from a multitude of museums, art galleries, businesses, organisations and individuals this is a huge resource aimed at supporting teachers make use of our cultural resources – wherever you may be.

Here’s examples of Scran being used in the classroom.

Bonnybridge Primary School in Falkirk Council shared the following on Twitter – examples of local images in the past

Promoting use of Scran for finding images of local locations from the past


  1. Andrew James says:

    Wow! Your tenner’s in the post, Malcolm 😉

    Only kidding. This was totally unsolicited, and we’re very grateful and happy that you’ve found Scran so useful. Can I can be cheeky and just add one more thing for the benefit of teachers that may be reading this, and would like to find out more? And that’s that we also offer free hands-on CPD training in getting the best out of Scran and using it within the Curriculum for Excellence. Contact us at to arrange this at your school, or look out for us on your local authority CPD calendar.

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