In This Issue
Law and History Review
In This Issue This is a special issue on digital history, devoted to articles that consider the ways in which historians of law have made use of digital resources. The articles were submitted in response to a call for papers that we sent out last fall, and it is gratifying to see both the number and the range of submissions we received. The articles we are printing in this issue offer a map of the different approaches that legal historians have taken to digital history. The first three pieces
... scuss sustained, but ultimately very different, work to digitalize legal materials. The article by Jason Eiseman, Whitney Bagnall, Cate Kellett and Caitlyn Lam describes the efforts to digitalize the Litchfield Notebooks and the decisions that went into that process. David Seipp's article tells of his creation of a database of Year Books. The last piece in this section, by Mark Finnane and Alana Piper, describes the creation of a large database of Australian criminal trials, and provides an example of some of the patterns that the database suggests. The next set of four articles show the different ways that legal historians have used databases to understand legal patterns and trends. In their article, Richard Ward and Lucy Williams describe a project that linked several digital sources to create a database that allowed them to create "life archives" for several thousand people convicted of crimes in England in the period from 1780 to 1925, and then data-mined those archives for patterns. In the next article, Tim Hitchcock and William Turkel recount their use of text mining to search the Old Bailey digital archive for evidence of shifts in court behavior in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the third article in this section, David Tanenhaus and Eric Nystrom describe one stage in their larger project that will use text mining algorithms to discern similarities across legislative documents. And in the final work in this section, Charles Romney used a word-context vector space model to look at the how habeas corpus was used and understood in the Kingdom of Hawaii between 1852 and 1892.