Papers of Dr Victor Skretkowicz

Scope and Content

The collection contains:

  • Minute papers, general correspondence and microfilm records relating to the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST), 1938-1999
  • Minute papers, general correspondence and microfilm records relating to the Dictionary of Scots Language (DSL), 2001-2005
  • Microfilm records relating to the Dictionary of the Scots Tongue (DST) and Dictionary of Scotland (DS); Minute papers, budget papers, financial papers, staff records, correspondence and publicity records relating to the Institute of the Languages of Scotland (ILS), 1999-2003
  • Various electronic records created, received and maintained by Victor Skretkowicz, c 1993- c 2008
  • Papers relating to Victor Skretkowicz’s time at the University of Dundee, 1999-2004

Administrative / Biographical History

Victor Skretkowicz was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on the 26th August 1942. He graduated with a BA from McMaster University, Canada in 1964, an MA from University of New Brunswick, Canada in 1967, and a PhD from University of Southampton in 1974.
In 1978 he joined the University of Dundee as Lecturer in English and in 1993 became Senior Lecturer. In 1989 Victor Skretkowicz become Dundee University’s representative on the Joint Council for the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, and in 1992 was elected convenor directing the Edinburgh-based research team creating volumes 9-12 of A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001- 2002). The Joint Council consisted of representatives from Scotland’s oldest universities and was responsible for the financial and intellectual management of the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue.

In 2001, a project began to create an electronic version of the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue. The Dictionary of Scots Language was to comprise electronic editions of the two historical dictionaries of the Scots Language: the twelve volumes of the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, containing information on Scots words from the twelfth century to the end of the seventeenth century (older Scots), and the ten volume Scottish National Dictionary, containing Scots words from 1700 -1970s (modern Scots). The project was based at the University of Dundee and was directed by Dr Victor Skretkowicz. The project was completed in 2004. The Scottish National Dictionary was produced by the Scottish National Dictionary Association (SNDA), now the Scottish Language Dictionaries Limited. The SNDA received an award from the Heritage Lottery Fund to update the dictionary with a new supplement which was made available as part of the Scots Language Dictionary in 2005. The Scots Language Dictionaries Limited is Scotland’s lexicographical body for the Scots language. The organisation was formed in 2002 and is responsible for the Dictionary of the Older Scottish tongue, the Scottish National Dictionary and the Dictionary of Scots Language.

From 2001-2002 Victor Skretkowicz was member of the Standing Committee leading a proposal for the establishment of an Institute for the Languages of Scotland, overseeing the Feasibility Study, for which a grant was awarded by the Carnegie Trust. The proposed Institute for the Languages of Scotland would serve the Scottish Universities and the nation by co-ordinating and disseminating information on research into all languages of Scotland, past and present.

Dr Victor Skretkowicz retired from the English Department in October 2007. He died on July 22, 2009.


Records are arranged chronologically within series

Access Information

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Dr V (Victor) Skretkowicz Senior Lecturer, English Department, 2005.

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list. Subject source lists and databases are also available.

Alternative Form Available

Other copies of the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue: From the Twelfth Century to the End of the Seventeenth are in existence and are held elsewhere.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The records are on paper, microfilm and electronic media.

Archivist's Note

Fonds level description compiled by Durham Burt, Archives Assistant, October 2010.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges are made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply.

Appraisal Information

No appraisal/destruction decisions taken

Custodial History

Held by Dr Skretkowicz until date of deposit.


Not expected

Location of Originals

The material is original.

Corporate Names