The extracts are taken mainly from the public records of Scotland (Registers of the Great Seal and the Privy Seal, and the Acts of the Lords of Council and of Parliament), from Justiciary and Commissary Court Records, and from Burgh Records of various towns, with some from charter chests and other records in private hands, and range from the 14th to the 18th century.
The contents, which in some notebooks are very miscellaneous, have not been indexed. Most of the notebooks are undated, but approximate dates are provided by the watermarks. Many notebooks have lost some leaves which have been torn or cut out. Some of the notebooks which have blotting paper interleaves have suffered similar damage to leaves and to interleaves.