Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Complete Run of Digitized Massachusetts Acts and Resolves at the State Library

Did you know that the State Library has digitized the Massachusetts Acts and Resolves? Volumes dating back to 1692 are available in two different locations: the State Library’s DSpace Repository (1692 to 2009) which evidently is best for searching for an act; and the Internet Archive with material from 1692 to 1959, evidently best for searching for a resolve or looking for supplementary material.  

Here’s a task designed to help you explore the site: follow these steps to find st. 1785, c. 69 s.7, one of the first Massachusetts statutes addressing alimony. From the State Library’s home page, click into “Massachusetts Acts and Resolves,” and then click into “Internet Archive.” This brings you to a grid in which it is easy to see where your citation should fall (“Resolves 1784-85”). Clicking into my choice, I found optimum speed and utility by clicking directly into the book icon or into the link “read online.” 

Before actually trying to find the citation, click on the bottom right hand corner of the screen – the page turns like a real book. Now notice there is a search box in the upper right hand corner. If you didn’t know this act was about alimony, you could just put in the number 69. The search engine finds all references to 69 and by hovering over the markers that appear at the bottom of the screen, you can read the text that appears there to see if it is about alimony. (Of course, you can also just put in your “alimony” search term but for purposes of demonstration that’s not as interesting.) 

I may be late coming to this party, but I am pleased to discover that there is a complete run of Acts and Resolves archived that is searchable and as available as my nearest internet connection. Thank you State Law Library!

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