Digital Humanities: Digging into Data

Period of Performance

1/1/2010 - 3/31/2011

Funding Totals

$100,000.00 (approved)
$100,000.00 (awarded)

Using Zotero and TAPoR on the Old Bailey Proceedings: Data Mining With Criminal Intent

FAIN: HJ-50048-10

George Mason University (Fairfax, VA 22030-4444)
Daniel J. Cohen (Project Director: July 2009 to September 2011)

This project will develop tools and models for comparing, visualizing, and analyzing the history of crime, using the Old Bailey Online, which contains extensive court records of more than 197,000 individual trials held over a period of 240 years in Great Britain. The team is composed of scholars from George Mason University, the University of Hertfordshire, and the University of Alberta.

The With Criminal Intent project will create an intellectual exemplar for the role of data mining in an important historical discipline–the history of crime–and illustrate how the tools of digital humanities can be used to wrest new knowledge from one of the largest humanities data sets currently available: the Old Bailey Online. It will create a seamlessly connected environment, the Newgate Commons, in which scholars can use data mining techniques to select themed texts from the 120 million words of trial records contained in the Old Bailey, and employ these texts as the basis of a study collection in Zotero where they will in turn be available for analysis using TAPoR tools (including quantitative text analysis and visualization). In the process, this project will showcase the integration of online textual resources with bibliographical and analytical tools emerging from Digital Humanities.

Media Coverage

As the Gavels Fell: 240 Years at Old Bailey (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Patricia Cohen
Publication: The New York Times
Date: 8/17/2011
Abstract: For 240 years the grand parade of human greed, love, cruelty, longing, and foolishness was captured in the Proceedings, the published record of trials that took place at the Old Bailey, the central criminal court, in London. Now, powerful digital tools developed by an international team of researchers to search these trial reports and summaries have begun to offer new insights into the evolution of the justice system, the institution of marriage and changing morals.