Archives Update: Hunting With The He‘e: Delving Archival Depths For Digitization
by Leina‘ala Seeger Associate Professor of Law and Law Library Director

Gathering contemporary and historical legal and law-related resources for the Center’s collection and archives has much in common with the he‘e’s hunt for nourishment and sustenance.  Proverb 1369 in Puku‘i’s ‘Olelo No‘eau refers to the he‘e as “ka i‘a mana nui, the fish of many divided parts.  Of the eight arms of the Center’s research agenda, none is quite as exciting as the initiative to create a digital archive of materials of interest to the Center, and to make them widely available to the community at large through the Center’s website.

The Digitization Project and Current Process

Currently, this project focuses on harvesting and highlighting relevant legal and historical treasures from the Hawai‘i State Archives.  Partnering with the Archives and the Law Library Microform Consortium (LLMC), Center personnel have begun the long-range task of digitizing materials in support of the Center’s activities.  LLMC, based in Kane‘ohe on the campus of Windward Community College, is led by Executive Director Jerry Dupont, founding Director of the Law Library and former Acting Dean and Professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law. Established in the 1980’s to convert public domain legal and law-related materials from print to microfiche format (for reasons of preservation, collection enhancement, and space savings), LLMC now focuses on expanding its online database, LLMC-Digital, by scanning  print materials and converting them to microfiche where no good print source remains. State Archives staff, most notably Luella Kurkjian, have facilitated the Center’s work by evaluating the suitability of and designating materials appropriate for scanning, as well as providing other generous assistance to Center staff. 

From the Center’s inception, LLMC has worked in partnership with the Center and the Archives to digitize relevant portions of the Archives’ collection.  LLMC placed a high-speed scanner at the Archives, to be shared by Center and Archives’ staff. Through LLMC’s protocols, scanned images of appropriate Archives material are forwarded in TIFF form (tagged image file format) to the University of Michigan, where the images are “OCR’d” (optical character recognition). This latter process allows users to import and manipulate the actual text of documents. St. Louis University Law Library staff then provides metadata about the content of the imaged documents by analyzing and cataloging each title. When complete, DVDs of the TIFF files are returned to the Center, for eventual posting on its website. Center staff are exploring other avenues to expedite the OCR’ing process, so that both scanned and OCR’d versions of scanned documents may be made available on the Center’s website.

Digitized Treasures

Thus far, the following materials have been or are being scanned by Center personnel:

· Hawai‘i Statutes, 1834-1900 (Hawaiian and English, 4 vols.)
· Hawai‘i Statutes - Republic, 1897 (Hawaiian and English, 4 vols.)
· Hawai‘i Session Laws, 1843-1896 (Hawaiian and English, 7 vols.)
· Legislative Journals - Kingdom, 1841-1893 (Hawaiian and English, 42 vols.)
· Legislative Journals - Republic, 1895-1896 (English, 12 vols.)
· Privy Council, 1853-1892 (Hawaiian and English, 16 vols.); 1845-1894 (Hawaiian and English, 19 vols.)
· Cabinet Council - Kingdom, 1846-1890 (English, 14 vols.)
· Executive Council - Provisional, 1893-1894 (English, 4 vols.)
· Executive Council - Republic, 1894-1900 (English, 6 vols.)
· Land Commission Awards, 1846- (Hawaiian and English)
·  Papa Kuhikuhi of Na Kuleana a Paul I hookoia e ka pae Luna Ho‘ona Kuleana Aina = Index of all the claims awarded by the Land Commission, 1881 (Hawaiian, 1 vol.)
·  Indices of awards made by the Board of Commissioners to Quiet Land Titles in the Hawaiian Islands, 1929 (Hawaiian and English, 1 vol.)
·   Index of all grants and patents land sales - in six parts and two supplements, 1916 (English, 1 vol.)
·  Report of the Commissioners of Public Lands, 1894-1958 (English, 33 vols.)

The Center looks forward to making some of these materials available in the near future. Stay tuned for further developments as we hunt with the he‘e!

Proverb 1369 quoted from ‘Olelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings, at 149 (Mary Kawena Pukui, ed., 1983).