Old Bailey

The Old Bailey was London’s criminal court between the 17th and 20th centuries. A combination effort from 2 universities and several bodies for grant funding allows access to thousands of proceedings online. The website is set up for simple and complex searches. This makes it a great tool for researchers and students learning about digital technologies, like myself.

The simple search is found on the websites home page. It’s use is for generic searching or just browsing.  Or if you navigate to the search page, you have a wider variety of search options. See the respective pictures below.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 10.16.56 PM Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 10.16.41 PM

Both these searches are limited by the documents you are able to search and by the types of queries you are able to make from those documents. You can search the proceedings and the Ordinary’s Accounts dating from 1669-1772. Oliver Twist inspired by search terms as I was looking for keyword ‘bread’, offense ‘theft’, and punishment ‘public whipping’. Only 15 results came back, and unsurprisingly no Artful Dodgers.

The API let’s the user explore their results differently from the simple search. The simple search just produces a list of results. The API search allows you to explore those results. One way is to essentially search within the results that were produced by an original simple search. They term this process as ‘undrilling‘ or breaking the results down by sub category. You can also further explore these results with other tools as the API lets you export your results into Voyant. Probably because of the amount of traffic caused by our lab session, i wasn’t able to export my data. It was taking too long.




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