Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Web Resource: Documents from Medieval and Early Modern England from the National Archives in London, now On-line

The University of Houston Law Center is announcing a promising new web resource: The Anglo-American Legal Traditions project. The Law Center's announcement follows. Thanks to Al Brophy for passing this on.
The O’Quinn Law Library at the University of Houston Law Center is proud to announce the inauguration of the extraordinary new website, the Anglo-American Legal Tradition – AALT.
The AALT is the result of over fifteen years of negotiation with the National Archives of the United Kingdom by Robert C. Palmer, Cullen Professor of History and Law at the University of Houston. The license with the National Archives permits the free, non-commercial, public display and use of the images captured by Professor Palmer’s ongoing project to acquire images of the main categories of court records over almost four centuries (c.1272 – 1650); at this point, some 450,000 images have been acquired. Access to these documents was previously possible only through use of the original documents at the National Archives itself.
The AALT will be a great boon to the far-flung scholars of Anglo-American legal history. In order to facilitate use of these ancient documents Professor Palmer has supplied guides to paleography and overviews of English legal history, as well as links to other websites of interest to legal historians. The AALT will continue to add images from the National Archives, as well as collections of historical documents from other court systems in the Anglo-American legal world. If others wish to contribute to the general endeavor at other archives and lack only the resources to run a website, the intention of this website is to be available to host such materials, as long as they are legally oriented and meet the general standards for image quality and public availability. The AALT site has the financial resources to continue as a public resource and to grow as materials are offered.
Please visit the AALT website, here, and join us in welcoming this valuable resource.

The site is still new and materials are being added, so initial users may need to spend a little time working with it. From a quick look, it seems best to begin with the explanatory materials at links on the right side of this page, after entering the site. Ultimately, you get to sources like this, under "Palaeography Assistance: English."