Chicago Anarchists on Trial: Evidence from the Haymarket Affair
Building the Collection
The Chicago Historical Society (now known as Chicago History Museum) received an award in the 1997/98 round of the Library of Congress National Digital Library Ameritech Competition. The project was also supported in part by funds from the Chicago Park District.
The central documents in the collection are the 3,323-page transcript of witness testimony and cross-examination in the trial and the accompanying evidence books. While the testimony portion of the trial transcript is included in its entirety, it was decided at this time to include in the digital collection the jury selection proceedings only for those twelve candidates chosen to serve on the jury, along with the text of discussions that arose during these proceedings as to procedure and the law. (The unwieldiness of the entire transcript and resource limitations made inclusion of the whole text impractical under the current project.) The discussions and conflicts over the empanelling of the jury and the correct procedures subscribed by each side figured heavily in the defense's appeal.
Digital images of the witness testimony (Volumes I through N of the transcript of The People of the State of Illinois vs. August Spies, et al.) were created on-site at the Chicago Historical Society by Electronic Imaging Services (EIS) of Evanston, Illinois. EIS staff used a Hewlett Packard 3C 5bt. scanner, HP Precision Scan Pro v1.01 software, and Historical Society specifications to create these digital images.
Each pictorial item was reproduced as a set of four digital images:
Manuscripts were also manually transcribed, and electronic text files as well as image files are provided for these items.
The Chicago Historical Society delivered image files, transcribed text as HTML files, and catalog records in the MARC format to the Library of Congress. The trial transcript had been divided into logical sections, as illustrated by the Illinois vs. August Spies et al. trial transcript: Table of Contents mounted by the Chicago Historical Society. The examination of each juror was a separate section, as was the testimony of each witness. Each section was described in an individual MARC record with an 856 field that linked to the corresponding HTML page at the Chicago Historical Society. Note that a logical sections does not necessarily begin on a new page. The first link from a transcribed section to a page-image is to the page on which the section starts, which will often include the final lines of the previous section.
The Library of Congress took the HTML pages with transcribed text and converted them automatically to SGML markup, using the American Memory DTD. Each volume of the trial transcript was treated as a separate SGML document, with the sections recognized as divisions within the document. The American Memory outline for the Transcript and Exhibits from the Trial of Illinois vs. August Spies et al. invokes queries that process each volume and present it dynamically. The Library of Congress also generated page-turning datasets for the sequences of page image files for a volume. Links from the text to page images were transformed to link to pages presented through the Library of Congress's page-turning interface.
The 856 fields in the MARC records were modified to link to the Library of Congress presentations of the digital reproductions and local fields and subfields added for consistency with other American Memory collections and to support cross-collection searching. These records and the full text were indexed using Aurora (formerly InQuery), the search engine used for the American Memory service.