"The man, as we know, was a voracious author who penned more than 600 poems and songs. But the quality of paper that he used varied, depending on what he was doing and even at different stages of his life. When a ploughman it was sometimes whatever scraps of paper he could find, and when Burns was an exciseman he used paper from his employment there."
The database will eventually extend to feature international collections to include all examples of physical paper used by the writer.
The first part of the database will be created over the next 18 months. It will then be widened to collect data from libraries and other archives beyond Scotland.
Prof Carruthers said: "This database will not only allow for quick and easy access to the materials but it will also enable us to identify and put back together papers that have become separated, and even allow us to show examples of genuine Burns works and Burns forgeries. This will include the infamous Antique Smith (Alexander Howland Smith) who in the 1890s went so far as to acquire 18th-century paper to strengthen his deception."
The Burns Scotland partnership also involves the National Library of Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, Glasgow Life (including the Mitchell Library), National Museums of Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Museums, East Ayrshire Museums and South Ayrshire Museums. It is said to comprise the greatest collection of Robert Burns material in the world.