General Notes

The following are a few general notes about the contents of this database. They are in no particular order:

TITLES: Publications, especially newspapers, often have variant titles. A newspaper may be called The Times or simply the Times - necessarily prefixed. The London Times is a newspaper of record. The Times began its life as The Daily Universal Register but changed its name in 1788, beyond our scope.

The three images immediately below are from the Scottish newspaper published at Aberdeen known as The Press And Journal. The first screengrab is of its first issue, and as you can see it had a very different title. The London evening newspaper the Evening Standard has had sundry variant names on its masthead, as have others, mostly slight.

I have tried here to put the precise title of the publication on each listed entry, including the edition of the paper as well as the page number, but apologise in advance for any mishaps. Working from microfilm can lead to confusion, as can be seen from the image immediately below.

PUBLICATION DATES: Some publications, especially magazines, may be published before the publication dates that appear on their front covers, sometimes well before. It was not unusual for smaller political magazines and fanzines to be undated in order to extend shelf life. I say was rather than is because along with newspapers. magazines are a dying breed.

EDITIONS: Some newspapers have different editions for the same area, evening papers especially. From my earlier researches, before the Internet as we know it existed, I found editions of the London Evening Standard that were published earlier in the day, I think at one time the paper produced no fewer than six editions, something that beggars belief when one realises the pages were typeset manually.

In a telephone call circa early 1994, I was informed by the Librarian at its London office that the Guardian had four editions: two published in London, two in Manchester. There were at least two editions of the Daily Mirror. Local newspapers sometimes have different editions, and in addition to that, articles may appear on-line but not in the relevant paper itself, including on days when that paper is not published.

MERGERS & INCORPORATIONS: The names of publications also vary with mergers and incorporations, as can be seen from the masthead below. As this is dated 1860, you can imagine how many mergers and incorporations there must have been since, and how many titles have been merged and then disappeared. This happens on the high street too: Abbey National started as a building society in 1944, became a bank in 1989, and vanished off the face of the Earth in 2010 when it was absorbed by Santander.

DUPLICATION: Syndicated articles or articles put out by the wire services may appear in several or indeed hundreds of publications worldwide, sometimes verbatim but often totally rewritten, edited slightly, or anything in between.

This also applies to groups of newspapers. While researching for another of my websites I found some strange happenings when archiving webpages. One of the strangest was the website of Asian Image, archiving one article took me to the website of The Bolton News. Here is an example from the pre-Internet age.

As the reader will see, the two papers for slightly different areas of Central London have slightly different titles but identical mastheads. One should not be surprised therefore if there is also some duplication of articles, and indeed this is the case.

QUALITY: I prefer to work with hard copy newspapers and magazines, but this is not always possible. The quality of microfilm copies varies enormously, as does the quality of publications found in on-line databases, whether they are scans of the actual publication or scans of photocopies. Sometimes the quality is appalling. Please understand I have no control over this. Although I have on occasion been able to obtain better quality microfilms or even originals from which to scan, both my time and my $$ are limited.

When I download material from the Web, I archive the relevant page if possible through the Wayback Machine and append the original url to the bottom of the saved page, which will usually be converted to PDF. I also remove links wherever possible, although I may miss a few, sometimes more than a few. More importantly I remove advertisements and other distractions. Most modern news websites are dynamic, which is why you may find contemporaneous advertisments in English on a Japanese language webpage that was uploaded several years ago.

Audio and video files tend to be of better quality, but again I can only take what I find.

CHOICE OF PUBLICATION: The reader will note that often an article from the local or regional press is used here in preference to one from the national press or from the actual area. For example, there may be a report from the West Midlands press - Birmingham or Coventry - of something from London, Brighton or elsewhere. This may be due to my limited time, access to resources, and the quality of available scans. If the content is essentially the same, I am sure the reader would prefer an article that is easier to read without eyestrain or confusion due to at times terrible quality scans.

OLD BAILEY PROCEEDINGS: The on-line proceedings of the Old Bailey can be confusing.

The correspondence below relates specifically to the trial of Esther Bowen but can be applied to other trials.

On May 20, 2020, I contacted the relevant department at Sheffield University thus:

Dear Sir,

The Esther Bowen case, link below, is listed on the site as September 10, 1907. At the bottom of the page it is listed as finishing September 18 yet higher up the page there is a reference to September 19.
Can you or someone confirm the dates the trial started and finished.


On June 6, 2020, I received the following reply:

Dear Alexander,

Re: the 10 September dating, all dates in headers, search results and so on refer to the opening date of the sessions, not to individual trials. This is not absolutely ideal, but in the majority of Proceedings volumes the exact date(s) of individual trials weren't recorded at all so we simply don't have that information. Although this changed during the 19th century, we continue to use the first day of the sessions throughout for consistency.

As for the 18th/19th confusion, this arises because of an error on our part. Unfortunately, in the later volumes of the Proceedings when we do have dates, they can get a bit messed up because our procedures didn't quite catch the right point where one trial finished and another started. (It can usually be sorted out by looking at the image files, but it's an embarrassing mistake that we should have picked up at the time.) In this case, your trial was held on the 18th and the reference to 19 September should be in the next trial.

The above was published December 10, 2019

Updated December 15, 2019

Further updated June 7, 2020

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