Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ka Huli Ao Digital Archives - Revolutionizing archived information

Keith Johnston, a 2008 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law, has been leading the charge in developing Ka Huli Aoʻs digital archives project. Keith is the Post-Juris Doctor Archives Fellow. Click here to read Keithʻs Ka Huli Ao profile.

At a recent staff meeting, Keith Johnston and his assistant Raymond Wang unveiled the current status of the Ka Huli Ao digital archives database. Raymond has been essential to this project working countless hours to help move this project along.

Now, you can catch a glimpse of what will be available in the future to help with archived research. You can click on the images to enlarge.

Below is a screen shot of what the home page of the online digital archive currently looks like.

The screen shot below shows a search attempt to find the session laws of 1853.

This next screen shot shows the results of the search terms 1853 and session laws.

This digital archives projects has some other great features as well. When you click on "BROWSE," youʻre taken to a menu of the Archives Collection which includes categories from the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi era through the State of Hawaiʻi.

For this next screen shot I clicked on Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, then I clicked on another link that took me to another category (Legislature). Then I was taken to what you see below, which allows me to see digitally archived documents of the Hawaiian Kingdomʻs Legislative Council, House of Nobles, House of Representatives, and the Legislative Assembly.

Looking at the part of the database that provides me access on documents from the House of Nobles, I clicked on "Translation of the Journal of the House of Nobles..." Which took me to that translated document.

The feature that I really like can be found by looking at the bottom left corner of the above image, where it reads, "Image Navigator." Iʻll explain further.

Keep in mind that Hawaiian Kingdom era documents are not electronic documents, but rather paper documents with no electronic versions from the same era. Scanning those documents only produces images or pictures of those documents. Unlike a word processing document, you cannot do a search for any particular word within that image. Keith and Ray employed the optical character recognition process (OCR) to turn these scanned images into word search-able documents. The OCRʻd version of an image is what weʻre seeing above. Now, sometimes, the OCR process may produce a few typos. As a researcher, you may wonder about the accuracy of the document youʻre now looking at. Keith and Ray address this issue by providing access to the actual image or picture. So, looking at the image above, in particular the "Image Navigator" part, I clicked on the corresponding page number, "3" to access the image.

As a result, you can see below that I got full access to the actual translated document page before it went through the OCR process.

Weʻre excited about this development that will revolutionize state archive research. Weʻll post future updates here. If you would like to be added to our newsletter e-mail list, please send us a request at

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