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Open Access Scholarship

This Guide provides information about Open Scholarship, including the Flinders Academic Commons and issues associated with funder mandate compliance. It is intended for researchers at Flinders University.

Acts of the Parliament of South Australia 1837 - 2002 - Search Help

When searching for known items:

Preferred search is by Act Year and Number 

 Searching by Short Title

  • Use Advanced Search
  • Select Title as search type
  • Please note: short title information is only included for acts from 1936 onwards. For acts prior to 1935, the subject information from Public General Acts of the Parliament of South Australia 1837 – 1936 Vol 9 Tables and Index (1940) is listed as the title.

Searching by Long Title

  • Use Advanced Search
  • Select Abstract
  • Please note: searching by long title is only available for acts from 1837-1935. For acts 1936 onwards, you may try a full-text search but please be aware of the limitations described below.

If unknown, use:

Full Text Searching

  • Available from the main search box on each page
  • Or use the Advanced Search and select Keyword as the search type
  • Please note: there are limitations in the full-text search functionality of the Legal History Archive. As the acts have been scanned from original documents with divergent paper and print quality, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) does not perform reliably. See below for further information.

OCR and Full Text Indexing

The documents in the Legal History Archive are scans of paper originals. This means that they are just images of pages, which creates problems of legibility for both humans and computers. These notes attempt to explain some of the computer-related problems.

PDFs - Acrobat files - can contain a document image plus the text in the one document. The Acrobat software "reads" the page image and tries to determine what is text by using OCR (Optical Character Recognition). In DSpace (the FAC software), the OCR text layer is added to the index and becomes searchable.

The scanned items in the legal history database are from a variety of sources in a variety of conditions. Many of the older volumes are especially difficult due to:

  • rebinding several times resulting in narrow margins (gutter shadow and curvature problems in the scanned image),
  • in rebinding, some signatures have been skewed leading to possible truncation of some end of line characters,
  • some pages include manual annotations and text underlining (often in beautiful copperplate penmanship)


  • some papers have significant ink bleeding in smaller point sizes (The voids of letters like "c" or "t" fill in and the letter can be mistaken for an "e" or "o"),
  • variable letter spacing (words are unintentionally split into smaller components by the OCR process).

These issues impact upon the accuracy of automated OCR.

Examples of problem text for OCR

Margin text: 

The OCR process has difficulty interpreting such an image. The OCR text index for this document contains the following text;

2, The South Australian Railway Commissioners," hereinafter Power to masr 
called 'L the said Commissioners," may make and maintain a line of dw?y. 
822 railway 

Acrobat reads the image from left to right and cannot recognize the columns.

Narrow margin shadow, curvature and truncation (caused by rebinding):

Hand annotation:

Acrobat cannot differentiate between print and hand annotation.

Hand underlining:

Underlining makes it difficult for OCR to isolate the lines of text.

Skewed signature binding:

Text is at an angle difficult for OCR to recognise.

Ink bleeding:

Acrobat interprets this as  "~zesenGt wemorr."


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