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November 2009: Index Initiative for C33

The inclusion of the IND1 casename index series alongside the C33 volumes has greatly improved the utility of the C33 series. The IND1 series, however, is not particularly user friendly. The casename index is only alphabetized by the first letter of the plaintiff's name. There is no short cut for looking for defendants. And the IND1 starts a new alphabet series each term. Moreover, the casename index only works on surnames, not given names. Use of the IND1 series is a great help, but is not a final answer. Still, the presence of the IND1 makes it at least conceivable to take a further step.

Progressive indexing can provide increasingly good finding aids. A mere transcription of the IND1 with plaintiff and defendant in different columns provides fully alphabetized lists of both plaintiffs and defendants. As multiple terms are finished, the terms can be accumulated into a multi-term index without any waste of energy or resources. The list thus generated for any term can then be augmented with the addition of given names from the C33 volume. No step depends on any other. Since the IND1 series is still available, the sensible thing would be to do something like one year in three at first, because the combination of a modern index that would supplement the IND1 series would catch most cases (i.e., for a given defendant, once one knows the plaintiff, one can work through the IND1 series effectively albeit slowly.) For those years when the "A" and "B" volumes are largely repetitive, "A" volumes would be done first.

To attract volunteers to help on this project, I have posted a first index of a single term: Michaelmas term, 1606. That term took about a week to complete. I will continue to post other terms irregularly, but will never make much headway if I continue to work alone. All contributions will be attributed. Before beginning, always contact me at rpalmer@uh.edu, so that people will not be working on the same term. For the work to date, go to C33 Modern Index.