Finding Scottish hyperlocals

Living and working in rural Aberdeenshire, where I run my own hyperlocal site, I am the official Scottish correspondent for Talk About Local. Following on from Will’s post about filling in the white space around Wakefield on the Local Web List map I thought I’d share my experiences adding in sites from Scotland.

Way back in the history of Talk About Local, Will found a great site that listed lots of community websites across Scotland, the fantastically named http://scotlandinter.net. Sadly now the site seems to be more of a business directory and the list of local sites is nowhere to be seen.

Fortunately the wayback machine has a copy of the local sites page https://web.archive.org/web/20120309011705/http://scotlandinter.net/communities.html

I am using this list as a starting point to find local sites to add to the map. The sites listed on here will, if they are still live, have a decent history and archive of content. I’ve added around 50 sites using this method, when we took the data from Openly Local there were less than 20 sites listed for Scotland, I now have 64.

The task isn’t an easy one and can be mind numbingly boring at times, working through the list you have to click the link which takes you to the archive page, then you need to go to the current site, if it still exists, a great number don’t.

You come across sites which look like they have great potential https://web.archive.org/web/20120225131348/http://www.angusglens.co.uk/ but when you go to the live URL http://angusglens.co.uk/, it is ‘reserved for future use’, then you find a gem like http://www.theshoppie.com/arbroath/

Once you have found the live site you need to review it, I use some basic criteria

  • Is the site still in the spirit of a hyperlocal site? There are a lot of early hyperlocal sites that have changed to glossy corporate sites or affiliate link directories sites. I discount these sites, unless I can find any hyperlocal information.
  • Is the site dead? If it is dead but not been hoovered up by someone and still has the original content on there then I add it for posterity.

there are no real short cuts for us to add sites to the list, we have to fill the form in for each site we find, this ensures that the data is accurate and valuable to the public and our academic colleagues. We do have to make some assumptions about the radius the site covers and the description of the area covered.

Sometimes when you are looking at these sites, you get drawn in to them, there is something on the site that is just too interesting to not read, then you end up clicking links and before you know it you have lost an hour. I lost more time than I should looking around what is one of my all time favourite sites http://www.foggieloan.co.uk/ and its virtual museum.

I also found this link on caithness.org which may be of interest to anyone doing research in to rural networks http://www.caithness.org/laurathompson/index.htm

I am now focused on just reviewing each site and not getting drawn in to the links. Once I have checked each site listed on the scottishinter.net archive page I can go back and revisit the sites I have added and look for other local sites that are linked from them to add to the list.

I’ve not yet found a hyperlocal site for Dunfermline, home of the funders of Local Web List, Carnegie UK Trust, if anyone can help with this or any other Scottish hyperlocal sites that are not yet on the map, feel free to jump in and add them for us, you shouldn’t be able to add any duplicates.