The IOR/E/4 Correspondence with India comprises 1112 volumes dating from 1703-1858. The material is arranged into eight series: four series of letters received by the Court of Directors from the administration in India; and four series of dispatches sent by the Court to the same administrations. Subject, name and place access for the dispatches to India is provided through 72 index volumes, catalogued as IOR/Z/E/4, which contain around 430,000 entries. The original indexes were produced between 1901 and 1929 by the staff of the Secretarial Bureau, led by indexing pioneer Mary Petherbridge.
When these index entries came to be converted to the British Library archives catalogue in the early 2010s, a decision was made that entries were to be child items of the index volumes themselves, with related correspondence volumes and page ranges entered as a text string in the Related Material field. This made it difficult to determine the contents of particular volumes, and to identify incomplete references. Using Python and the Pandas library information in the Related Material fields has been separated out, and entries re-written so that each individual index entry and correspondence volume reference occupies a single row. This work was undertaken as part of a work-based project for the post-graduate certificate in Data Science for Information Professionals at Birkbeck University.
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