Skene's original records cover the period 1751 - 1770. Their subject matter is wide ranging, and includes individual volumes recording his research in medicine (GB 231 MS 0476 - 0477), botany (GB 231 MS 0471, 0473 and 0479), entomology (GB 231 MS 0474), zoology (GB 231 MS 0481), mineralogy (GB 231 MS 0478), chemistry (GB 231 MS 0472), moral and natural philosophy (GB 231 MS 0037, 0475, 0480/1, 0540). Friends and contemporaries mentioned in his papers include Thomas Reid, philosopher; John Hope, botanist; Lord Kames, Scottish judge and author; Lord Monboddo, Scottish judge; Thomas Pennant, traveller and naturalist; John Ellis, naturalist; C.F. Linne, alias Linnaeus, Swedish naturalist. Two volumes also include personal and family correspondence.
Around 1892, James Trail, Professor of Botany at Aberdeen University, transcribed a volume of Skene's correspondence (GB 231 MS 0038). The letters which he transcribed include Skene's correspondence with John Ellis and John Hope, as well as family correspondence relating to Skene's medical training and his brother Andrew's early medical career (GB 231 MS 0039 - 0040).
In 1967, Bernhard Fabian and Karen Kloth undertook research on the four volumes relating to the Aberdeen Philosophical Society (GB 231 MS 0037, 0475, 0480/1, 0540). Transcripts of these record are included in the collection (GB 231 MS 0480/2) and their research has been published in The Bibliotheck, 5 (1967 - 1970), (see Publication note for further details).