As we try to figure out which data mining tools and strategies might be most useful to the ordinary working historian (whom we call “the OWH”) we are experimenting with a variety of different approaches. This way we can capitalize on the fact that we represent many different disciplinary backgrounds and skill sets. One strategy that Tim Hitchcock and Bill Turkel have been pursuing is to try to model various characteristics of the entire run of Old Bailey trials. For this, they are using the new version of Mathematica, a computational environment that combines advanced tools for programming, statistics, visualization and many other tasks. While working in Mathematica is not typical for OWHs, at least not yet, it does have the advantage of allowing us to get an overview of patterns that appear across tens of thousands of pages or millions of words. It also allows us to build various measurements into prototype interfaces and demonstrations that can be shared with colleagues (examples will be posted here later).
The British Library has recently mounted a ten month exhibition to highlight new approaches to research, and cutting edge applications of digital technologies. From among thirty projects showcased by the exhibition, Datamining with Criminal Intent was one. Dan Cohen and Tim Hitchcock were also interviewed for the exhibition, and their contributions can be viewed online at: