Document dissected: The Life Archives
The Digital Panopticon’s Life Archives collect together multiple records – matched by hand and digital program – relating to the same individual.
The top left of the screen presents an overview of the ‘universal’ details of the individual who’s archive you are viewing. This information draws together fields that appear in multiple sources and don’t often change, such as birth date, adult height and physical description, and birth place.
Punishments appear in much the same way as trials in the life archives – a point on the timeline with a brief description and date. However, some of the punishment records included in archives like the ‘Founders and Survivors’ collections, or the parole licences, are actually made up of many documents. Information from these appear in a less prominent list below the punishment entry.
The archive summary in the top right of the screen tells you the total number of records in the archive, lists the individual record sets compiled in the archive, and the number of each kind of document, giving you an overview of your archive at a glance.
Criminal trials are a central component of the London convict archives. Trials from the Old Bailey, and those at other courts in the capital, appear in the timeline. Only a brief overview is given of trials in the timeline, but by clicking ‘more details’ to the right of each record, you can view a full transcription of the record entry.
At the far right of each archive entry, the ‘more details’ tab will take you out of the timeline view, and present a separate box for each transcribed record in the archive – along with full transcription and record references – in chronological order. This ‘global’ transcription shows all the information available from the archive.