One of the most valuable sources for understanding and interpreting Shetland place names is Jakob Jakobsen's 'The Place-Names of Shetland'. This book, together with his Etymological Dictionary, is invaluable for a linguistic insights into the origins and meaning of many of our names.
Faroese born Jakob Jakobsen arrived in Shetland in 1893 and spent time in various areas of Shetland collecting words, phrases and place names. The Danish version of The Place-Names of Shetland was published in 1901, whilst the English translation was published in 1936, 18 years after his death.
Jakobsen organised his text thematically, grouping names into chapters on topics such as farms and buildings, personal names, or names relating to particular types of creature. Within the chapter the names were arranged in relation to an alphabetical list of Old Norse elements. However this arrangement can make the book slightly difficult to use.
A number of original and copy letters of Jakob Jakobsen regarding Shetland place names are deposited in Shetland Archives.