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Center Digital Editions & Edition Analytics

Swiss Digital Law Discovery

Swiss Digital Law Discovery SDiLaw is a database and research portal that aims to digitally present all Swiss cantonal law collections from the period 1800-1914. It is a Digital Humanities project related to law (DH+Law). The texts were first carefully digitized. Subsequently, they were subjected to preprocessing with a newly developed computational linguistic tool and made machine-readable with the most modern text recognition programs. The platform is expandable, both in terms of content by adding new source materials and technically by further interfaces (API) as well as annotations, controlled vocabularies and automatic content indexing. The webtool SDiLaw is being built up and further developed within the framework of a project at the Center for Legal History Research ZrF of the Institute of Law RWI and the S3 IT of the University of Zurich UZH.

SDiLaw portal: reading, browsing, transcription correction view
Frequency analysis processed in SDiLaw and visualized as bar chart


Technical Tools

  • Django
  • Mortar
  • spaCY-Parser
  • Buzzword: frontend (open-source)
  • Buzz: python library
  • Plotly/dash
  • Tesseract
  • Transkribus



Usage Options

The goals are: To create the best possible conditions for legal research (in the broadest sense), for legislative history, for comparative law research -intertemporal, -regional or international- and above all for legal practice. For this purpose, SDiLaw offers basic reading and search capabilities as well as state-of-the-art statistical text analysis and visualization tools, interactive and collaborative. Research potentials open up in the field of digital (legal) history, digital humanities and linguistics. Registered users can add XML annotations, correct transcription errors and upload their own text files for natural language processing with buzzword. Social, economic and political-historical questions are obvious, which can be researched in the future with the portal, especially related to Switzerland from the mediation period, federal state to the beginning of World War I, whereby especially cantonal-regional developments can be historically reconstructed - in addition to transnational studies - not least by adding further external text data to be investigated.

Project Responsibility

Prof. Dr. Andreas Thier

Martin Kurz Project leader, Scientific Collab. MA