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March 14, 2018

We are pleased to announce the addition of a new full-text searching tool for 9CHRIS, which permits searching within 9CHRIS documents on a page-by-page basis. This addition functions much like a traditional search engine, making it straightforward to find even relatively obscure names or phrases in the text of individual briefs and transcripts.

Full-text searching is available here:

Search hits will show a snippet of the matching text in its surrounding context, with links to the document on 9CHRIS (to see more information about the document as a whole), as well as a link directly to the matching page in the volume file at the Internet Archive. Additional information about the database and its features can be found on the help page.

The full-text search site supplements rather than supplants the search function of the original 9CHRIS site, which gives researchers two different ways to get at the data. For general inquiries, looking for a more general concept (such as "mining"), searching the original site is probably most productive, due to the presence of document-level keywords and keyphrases. For very specific queries (such as "centrifugal pump" or the name of a specific person, place, or ship), the full-text search is likely the best place to begin.

The search engine is beta software, so features and interfaces may change. Bug reports are appreciated. Additionally, links between individual pages and their corresponding 9CHRIS document, as well as other information about the documents, are gradually being corrected and added.

Please contact with any questions, suggestions for fixes or improvements, or queries about manipulating the data. Happy searching!

Posted Wed Mar 14 11:37:00 2018

December 8, 2017

Efforts to gradually improve 9CHRIS have been ongoing, including hand-correcting the identification of documents inside each volume.

Initial correction efforts concentrated on volumes that appeared to be troublesome when analyzed by the document identification algorithms. (This could be because of a large number of drawings or photographs, for example, or very pale title pages.)

More recently we have moved toward hand-correcting every volume, beginning at v0001. We are pleased to announce that volumes 1-1000 have now been done. As mis-identified pages are fixed, they are removed from the 9CHRIS dataset, so search results will also gradually improve. In other cases, documents that were skipped were successfully identified and incorporated into the dataset.

Once all the documents have been hand-corrected, we will have a solid base from which to generate additional linkages and metadata, to improve the ability to find documents of interest.

Please send any suggestions to:

Posted Fri Dec 8 15:53:00 2017

A better keyword generation technique has been implemented, and all the documents have been re-formatted with the new program.

This means:

  • More keywords and key phrases for each document (typically 15, vs. 10 before)
  • Fewer garbage keywords
  • No documents with zero keywords
  • Better searches, with more accurate results!

The new keywords should be available through the search interface immediately.

If you have any questions or spot a problem, please post in the Forum or contact me.

Posted Mon Jun 2 14:23:48 2014

Collection Highlight: Gin Dock Sue vs. United States

Immigration has long been a contentious issue in the American West. The Chinese Exclusion Acts of the early 1880s created a complicated system of classification, registration, and restriction on Chinese people living in the West, which many documents from the 9th Circuit Court can reveal in vivid detail. The story of Gin Dock Sue, one Chinese man in California, illuminates some of the difficulties and tensions created by this system.

Gin Dock Sue, a Chinese man, came to the United States in 1881 and lived as a pawn broker in the Los Angeles area. When legislation required him to register with authorities as a Chinese person, he did so, later needing a duplicate copy of his registration certificate because the first one was lost. He was married and owned property.

The trouble started when he wanted to visit China. American law made different rules for Chinese laborers and Chinese merchants about the ability to return to China temporarily. Gin Dock Sue sought to go back to China under the laborer category, but American officials denied his request because a pawn broker was a "merchant" rather than a "laborer" in their eyes. Gin Dock Sue reapplied to leave, this time as a merchant, and successfully left America in 1907, staying in China almost a year. When he returned to San Francisco in 1908, however, his application for re-entry was denied and he was placed in a detention facility.

After three months in detention at a dock in San Francisco, Gin Dock Sue escaped. He fled to San Luis Obispo and became a merchant, then after a couple of years, moved to San Francisco to work as a merchant there. In San Francisco, he was involved with the Chinese mercantile organizations and was well-connected within the Chinese community.

Then things got complex. In early 1913, he was arrested (under a different name) for being an unregistered Chinese laborer. Eventually officials figured out he was not a laborer and had in fact been registered, so a different charge was filed in early 1914. In the meantime, Gin Dock Sue was elected Secretary of the Ning Yung Association, one of the major Chinese mercantile companies. Crucially, this position carried an appointment as a minor official of the Chinese government, helping the consul when requested. So by the time the authorities came for him again, Gin Dock Sue had a different layer of legal protection, as Chinese government officials were not subject to the laborer and merchant laws.

This case highlights the complexity of turn-of-the-century immigration in the West. The Chinese community in America had by then evolved a range of responses to the laws, using loopholes and regulations to gain advantage. Gin Dock Sue was convinced that his initial detention, upon his return from China, was initiated by his enemies. When the authorities came for him in 1913, his friends in the community tried to place him in a legal status where he would be beyond the reach of deportation proceedings. Gin Dock Sue might have been a respected person in the community by 1913, but the twists and turns of his particular situation reveal in broader form the resistance and adaptation by the Chinese community in America to punitive restrictions.

Documents relating to the trial of Gin Dock Sue

Posted Mon Feb 25 16:07:49 2013

The initial upload of documents to the wiki site was completed Feb. 18, 2013. This marks a major milestone for 9CHRIS, as all the volumes have been analyzed and title pages with links and keywords have been generated. As a result, though the information needs editing and verification, it is now usable for searches.

Fun with numbers:

  • 9CHRIS covers 3356 volumes total (numbered 1-3505, with some gaps and some supplements)

  • As of today, the database contains 38,335 documents extracted from those volumes. There are undoubtedly some that were missed, and others that were recognized but shouldn't have been, so this number will fluctuate over time.

Happy searching!

Posted Mon Feb 18 19:12:51 2013