Digital London

Robert Shoemaker (Department of History, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Publication date: 1 December 2005



To outline the conceptual and technical difficulties encountered, as well as the opportunities created, when developing an interlinked collection of web‐based digitised primary sources on eighteenth century London.


As a pilot study for a larger project, a variety of primary sources, including the Old Bailey Proceedings (OBP), were digitised and then interlinked using names. The paper outlines the solutions adopted for dealing with uncertainties in record linkage and for displaying a range of different historical sources while preserving their archival integrity.


Records should be linked with varying degrees of probability, allowing users to participate in the choice of which records truly concern the same individuals.

Research limitations/implications

Further work is necessary to create mechanisms for allowing users to specify levels of certainty in record linkage, and to develop methods for searching and displaying results when working with multiple collections of archival sources.


This paper shows the potential of combining XML markup with flexible record linkage strategies to interlink complex collections of digitised sources. The resulting source will allow historians to ask new historical questions; in this case concerning the role played by individuals in shaping the evolution of social welfare provision in London.



Shoemaker, R. (2005), "Digital London", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 39 No. 4, pp. 297-311.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.