THE Scottish Government has switched its website to a new "dot Scot" internet domain address.

The site will be accessed via www.gov.scot, though the old www.scotland.gov.uk address will continue to function.

The move, signalled last year, marks a shift away from standard UK government web addresses which end '.gov.uk'.

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But the Scottish Government wanted to support the new .scot domain, which aims to Scottish identity and culture around the world.

More than 8000 addresses have been sold to individuals and organisations since they became available last September.

The domain is owned by Glasgow-based Dot Scot Registry, a specially created not for profit company backed by the Scottish Government.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

"Using the .scot domain as our primary web address will be a visible symbol of the Scottish Government's online presence and our involvement with the worldwide family of Scots who choose to express their identity or affinity online.

"The expansion of the number of top-level internet domains in recent times gives users many more options to brand themselves in new ways online - and we're delighted to lead by example."