In mid-2014 I announced that I had purchased a set of the Danzig Gesetzblatt (the old Prussian Ministry of Justice collection, as it happens). I thought I would explain briefly why it hasn't been put online yet.
These are very fragile documents and I don't want to subject them to a regular scanner. A neighboring department where I work has one of these clever scanners that they use for their own projects. I have been given permission to use this scanner when they don't need it and that's what I've been planning for the Gesetzblatt. (It's what I used to scan a set of postcards that you can see at the bottom of the page here.) Unfortunately, the scanner needs the attentions of IT at the moment and is unavailable for anyone's use. Once it's back online and there's free time available for booking, I'll get the ball rolling on digitizing the Gesetzblatt.
I'm disappointed that it's taking so long but them's the breaks when you're running a project with a $0 budget! Thanks for your patience.
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.