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Introduction: Wills, Inventories and the Computer

Introduction: Wills, Inventories and the Computer Introduction: Wills, Invenries and the Computer R J Morris and Ann McCrum Probate invenries and wills are two examples of types of hisrical documents which have become an increasing object of computer-assisted research. They contain a wide range of semi-structured and semi-standardizable information. Both types of document are concerned with the transfer of property after death.1 The specific form and contents of each varied with the legal and social situations in which they were produced. In the archivist's jargon, these are 'particular instance' papers, created as a record of a specific and repetitive type of social, legal or administrative interaction. It is this relation of the documents a particular and repeated instance, transfer of property at death, which makes them an attractive object for computer-aided analysis because the computer by its nature is good at handling repetitive structures of information and at seeking patterns in that information. The richness and range of information in these documents means that they are potentially the object of a wide range of hisrical enquiries. Others, such as English and Scottish invenries, list only movable or personal property. Some, such as those from Quebec,2 list deeds and debts, giving some indication of business http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing Edinburgh University Press

Introduction: Wills, Inventories and the Computer

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
1753-8548
eISSN
1755-1706
DOI
10.3366/hac.1995.7.3.iv
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Introduction: Wills, Invenries and the Computer R J Morris and Ann McCrum Probate invenries and wills are two examples of types of hisrical documents which have become an increasing object of computer-assisted research. They contain a wide range of semi-structured and semi-standardizable information. Both types of document are concerned with the transfer of property after death.1 The specific form and contents of each varied with the legal and social situations in which they were produced. In the archivist's jargon, these are 'particular instance' papers, created as a record of a specific and repetitive type of social, legal or administrative interaction. It is this relation of the documents a particular and repeated instance, transfer of property at death, which makes them an attractive object for computer-aided analysis because the computer by its nature is good at handling repetitive structures of information and at seeking patterns in that information. The richness and range of information in these documents means that they are potentially the object of a wide range of hisrical enquiries. Others, such as English and Scottish invenries, list only movable or personal property. Some, such as those from Quebec,2 list deeds and debts, giving some indication of business

Journal

International Journal of Humanities and Arts ComputingEdinburgh University Press

Published: Jan 1, 1995

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