Update on current work
I’m a legal researcher so one of my key goals for this site is to offer as many legal and administrative materials as I can. The League of Nations Official Journal entries are already available. Now I’m working on the Staatsanzeiger (State Gazette). It ran from 1922 to 1939 in two sets, Teil 1 and Teil 2, which means double the work in getting everything processed and online.
My primary source for these documents is the Pomeranian Digital Library, which is an absolute treasure trove of all sorts of good stuff. Everyone should go have a look! Their collection isn’t complete, however. When there’s a missing issue from the PDL I request copies from the New York Public Library. Those requests are US$25 each and, seeing as this project is funded by whatever I can spare from my paycheck, it may be a while before this collection will be complete.
The original documents from the PDL are DjVu files. I’d never encountered this type of file before starting the Free City Sourcebook. They’re high-quality images that are compressed nicely into small files. You have to download a viewer to open DjVu files and there are a few steps involved in downloading and opening the DjVu files so you can read the contents.
PDFs, despite their limitations, are the go-to file format for most online legal documents. Wherever possible, that’s what I’m using here on the Sourcebook. I’m converting the DjVu files into PDFs for placement on the site. This is where the difficulty arises: the DjVu images are high-resolution and, when converted to PDF, can take up a tremendous amount of space. If a particular Staatsanzeiger issue is more than a few pages long it can turn into a really unwieldy PDF. Coupled with my sometimes slow internet, this fact can make it difficult to upload the files to the Sourcebook. In some cases you will see that I’ve split particular issues up into two or more smaller files. I can only apologize for this technical limitation.
In addition to the files themselves I’m adding introductory information for each issue to make the site more searchable and user-friendly. That means transcribing the “Inhalt” section from each Staatsanzeiger issue, which is a bigger chore than it sounds because these documents all use the Fraktur (Gothic) typeface. I’m getting better at it but it’s slow going.
As of the writing of this post, I’m almost finished with downloading and converting the Teil 1 entries. As is often the case, it’s taken longer than I anticipated but I’m hopeful that at least Teil 1, with the transcribed introductions, will be ready to go live soon.
Thank you for your interest! If you have any leads on other legal documents I'd love to hear about it.
This is where I muse about the site and future developments.