Bigamy Dataset Description
How can this dataset be described e.g. content types and dates?
The Prosecution Project is investigating the history of the criminal trial in Australia. As part of the project a web-based transcription tool for historical court records was created and documents are being transcribed by project team members and trained volunteers.
Case records in this data set have been entered by researchers or volunteer transcribers from scanned images of court registers in the custody of various state archives. Users should be aware that the records may contain transcription errors. Missing data (empty cell) usually indicates that information was missing in the original data source. In a small number of cases data in records have been accessed from additional sources (for example digitised newspapers or police gazettes).
The data sets available in this repository date from 1850 to 1922. The data refers to matters that were prosecuted within the respective jurisdictions of the six states as they currently exist (2018), which may be different from the jurisdiction formally in place for a particular offence in the early part of this period, e.g. prosecutions for Queensland (1850-1859) and Victoria (1850-July 1851) were formally under the jurisdiction of New South Wales during those years, but have been entered for Queensland and Victoria respectively.
The dataset includes data drawn from original court registers, court calendars, trial briefs and police gazettes. The Bigamy dataset is a combination of records drawn from the Victorian Supreme Court only at this stage. Work is underway to expand this dataset to the other States.
|Jurisdiction||Source of Information||Identified by|
|Victorian Supreme Court||Public Records Office Victoria (PROV – VPRS 3524)||VICSC|
Where is information about this dataset currently published online?
Information about this dataset is published on the Prosecution Project website: https://prosecutionproject.griffith.edu.au. Where possible, individual records have also been harvested via the OAI-PMH API by the originating archive / source and published on their website. eg: TAHO website
The bigamy dataset has been made published to the Australian Data Archive and is available in the Australian Historical Criminal Justice Data Collection. A sample notebook has also been created using this in the Tinker Studio github examples page located here.
What data structures are there e.g. tabular or document?
The data is in CSV format.
What metadata schemas are used to access the data e.g. local, DDI, ALTO or DC?
How much time (and whose) is needed to compile the dataset ready for transfer?
In order to create this original dataset, the source documents need first to be located and digitised if not already done (by either a representative of the Prosecution Project or the originating source holder). These digitised items are then loaded onto the Prosecution Project’s server (by the Prosecution Project admin staff) to be transcribed by project team members and trained volunteers.
Once the records have been transcribed from originating source materials, a project team member uses the Prosecution Project tool to audit, correct, search, collate and extract the data to CSV file for all trials relating to Bigamy.
Once exported a manual combination of CSV files was required as different jurisdictions captured different metadata about a court proceeding.
In all it is estimated that 120 hours was required from a Prosecution Project administrator to curate the original dataset.
Subsequent work was done on the Prosecution Project application to enable researchers to combine data from different jurisdictions within the tool, thus reducing the amount of hours required to produce these datasets.
What is the scale of the dataset e.g. file numbers and size?
The dataset has 599 number of rows in the CSV file (as at September 2018) and is 135 Kb in size. It is expected that this will increase on a yearly basis until all data is publicly available.
What metadata exists that describes the dataset?
|trial_id||numeric||This is the number of the record as entered in the Prosecution Project database. It is system generated and permanent.||number||851234||All records have this attribute|
|court||freetext||This refers to the level of court in which a defendant was prosecuted – may include supreme, circuit, district, quarter sessions, also abbreviations of these (eg SC)||text||Supreme Court||Empty cell|
|Def_firname||freetext||The given name of the defendant as recorded in a register or other source||text||Ellen||Empty cell|
|Def_othername||freetext||The second and any other other names including alias recorded for a defendant||text||Mary||Empty cell|
|Def_sex||freetext||The sex of the defendant as recorded in a register, or imputed by name||text||Female||Empty cell|
|Def_surname||freetext||The surname of the defendant as recorded in register or other source. If the defendant has only one name it is used as a surname in this database||text||Kerry||All records have this attribute|
|judge||freetext||The surname of the judge as recorded in a register or other source||text||Hope||Empty cell|
|off_committed_date||date||The date on which a defendant was committed for trial, as recorded in a register.||dd-mmm-yyyy||10 May 1878||Empty cell|
|off_committed_place||freetext||The place (committal place, typically a suburban or town petty sessions court) at which a defendant was committed for trial, as recorded in a register. This data was generally only available in registers for Victoria and Queensland.||text||Benalla||Empty cell|
|WGS84||freetext||The geolocation of the committal place (as derived from the dataset maintained by AustralianTownsList.com). This has been completed only for Victoria as committal place is missing or incomplete for other states.||numeric, structured||-38.38552, 142.23671||Empty cell|
|offence||freetext||This is the main offence for which a defendant was prosecuted (committed and indicted), as recorded in register. Some defendants faced more than charge.||text||Bigamy||Empty cell|
|plea||freetext||The plea entered by defendant in response to the offence charged. A plea of guilty resulted in an immediate conviction of guilty and subsequent sentence without a need for trial.||text||Not guilty||Empty cell|
|register_number||numeric||This is a case number recorded in the original register, for some jurisdictions (mainly relevant to Victoria and Western Australia records)||numeric||1||Empty cell|
|sen_duration_days||numeric||The number of days of imprisonment recorded in the sentence (usually recorded only for sentences less than one month, eg 7 days)||numeric||7||Empty cell|
|sen_duration_months||numeric||The number of months of imprisonment (usually recorded only for sentences of less than two years, eg 18 months)||numeric||6||Empty cell|
|sen_duration_years||numeric||The number of years of imprisonment (may be recorded as a decimal fraction for sentences including years and months, eg three years and six months recorded as 3.5)||numeric||3||Empty cell|
|sentence||freetext||The sentence as recorded in the register (may include death sentences, sentence of imprisonment, conditional sentences, suspended etc)||text||6 months hard labour||Empty cell|
|Source||freetext||A system record of the original source of the data, linked to an image of an archival source where this was available (mainly Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland).||text, structured||VICSC_1828_3520202_016||Empty cell|
|trial_date||date||The date of trial as recorded in the register||dd-mmm-yyyy||12 May1878||1 Jan 1970|
|trial_place||freetext||The place of trial is recorded in the register||text||Beechworth||Empty cell|
|trove||url||A link to an article relating to the trial of a defendant in this case record – accesses the article available through the National Library of Australia Trove database of digitised newspapers.||text, structured||http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/803245||Empty cell|
|verdict||freetext||The verdict outcome of prosecution proceedings involving the defendant.||text||Guilty||Empty cell|