Old Bailey Proceedings 2.0

Well, it’s been up for a few weeks now (I meant to post about it over Christmas. Strangely, that didn’t happen…) – we’ve launched a new community wiki for users of the Old Bailey Proceedings.

The wiki is intended as a supplement to the main site itself: both a resource for researchers, teachers and students and a community space for sharing information related to the history of the Old Bailey and the people who appeared there between the 17th and 20th centuries.

There are several main areas for contributions:

1. Biographical material about individuals (and families) who are documented in the Old Bailey Proceedings and Ordinary’s Accounts, drawing on source materials beyond the Proceedings themselves.

For example, perhaps you’ve researched your family history and found some of your ancestors in the trial reports at the Old Bailey Proceedings Online. The wiki may help you to find people who have uncovered different parts of the same puzzles as yourself, whilst also offering additional information to readers of the Proceedings that we could never provide. Here’s a nice example someone’s already posted, about a Thomas Dobyns who appeared as prosecutor in this trial.

2. Information supplementing the Historical Background sections of the main site. There are many unfamiliar things mentioned in the Proceedings – eg, forgotten places, objects, clothing, food and drink, London’s local histories and communities, the development of criminal justice and policing. We’d also welcome information about other primary sources of relevance to the Proceedings – newspapers, criminal biographies, archival sources, etc.

3. OBP-related teaching resources. We’ve already placed copies of the old Schools pages at the wiki for teachers to use, either to update those pages or simply to give some ideas for entirely new pages. We hope that the wiki can become a major resource for teachers and students at all levels of the education system.

4. A new version of the OBP Bibliography (to which users can also add items, although this is a slightly more complex procedure than the rest of the wiki).

5. Last but not least, you can let us know about errors in the OBP transcriptions and data.

Moreover, we plan to create extensive links between the information at the wiki and the main site so that contributions to the wiki, large or small, can enrich the experience of OBP visitors. I’ll try to keep you all updated on progress.

It’s going to be interesting!

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