[Open-Legislation] Intro / Historic Statutes

John Levin john at anterotesis.com
Tue Feb 18 16:34:58 UTC 2014


A belated introduction, because I wanted to have something to show as well.

I'm John Levin, a PhD student at Southampton, studying debtors in the 
long c18th century. Part of this involves reading a lot of old 
legislation, most of it repealed, covering debt, prisons, courts etc.

Finding this legislation has not been simple. The main accessible 
sources are the old volumes in Google Books and the Internet Archive. 
There are the usual problems of poor scans, missing books and misleading 
metadata there, and also the problem that the different collections of 
statutes have different standards and criteria.

The official source for laws in the UK, legislation.gov.uk, concentrates 
on the laws in force, and has very little coverage of repealed material.

Consequently, I have compiled a great long list of links to the 
collections of statutes on Google & IA, and published it here:

At minimum it is a useful finding aid. But I'm a historian, so of course 
I believe that access to repealed legislation, in canonical form and 
open format, is just as necessary as any other set of government data. I 
outline some arguments in the above post.

I know that Open Legislation is more concerned with contemporary 
legislation, but I hope there will be some crossover, technical and 
political, with historic issues.


John Levin

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