I'm writing on behalf of a group of librarians, legal scholars, & technologists
centered at Washington U in St Louis working on a collection of circuit court
records from the first half of the 19C. The records are from the St Louis
circuit court, & they include among other cases several hundred "freedom suits"
in which a slave sues to win the status of a free person (Dred Scott's being
the most famous such suit).
Our group is encoding the case documents in TEI, & has begun work on creating a
legal encoding module that allows us to mark up the legal features we care
about in our documents: genre or type of document, parties & other legal
actors, various case metadata, &c. (For those interested in more detail,
there's info on a first draft of the module at
But we have an eye toward making a module that's useful to the wider community
of those working with legal documents. To that end, I wonder what kind of
interest there is here in a Legal Encoding Special Interest Group that
would take creation of a module as its goal. I'd be eager to hear from
anyone who would like to be involved in such a SIG.
Humanities Digital Workshop
Arts & Sciences Computing
Washington University in Saint Louis
Campus Box 1160
One Brookings Drive
Saint Louis MO 63130