The Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL) has made publicly available its “Forensic Linguistic Databank” (F0LD), a permanent, controlled access online repository for forensic linguistic data, including malicious communication data, investigative interview data, and forensic evidence validation data for both speech and text.
FoLD comprises a wide range of datasets with relevance to forensic linguistics and language and law, including commercial extortion letters, investigative interviews in police and other contexts, legal documents, forum posts from far-right online groups, and comment threads from political blogs.
The intention for the databank is to not only further academic research into forensic linguistics by developing new methods and approaches but also to directly contribute to impact in assisting the delivery of justice. Therefore, research projects using this data will validate methods for forensic analysis, further the effectiveness of interviewing techniques used by British police, and help tackle internet crime and abuse on behalf of law enforcement beneficiaries, such as the National Crime Agency.
Some recent additions to FoLD are:
- The Shipman Inquiry ( the collection of all documents pertaining to the Shipman Inquiry, the trial for dr. Harold Fredrick Shipman, who was convicted at Preston Crown Court on 31 January 2000 of the murder of 15 of his patients and of one count of forging a will.
- Pledges to Harm: 8 non-realized pledges to harm, where no real-world violence was attempted, totaling 1,552 words. 6 realized pledges to harm, where real-world violence was attempted, totaling 2,638 words. 10 of the 14 were authored between 2014-2016. The earliest text is from 1998. All are written in some variety of American English.
- Threat letters transcribed data from the FBI: Vault (2021): Fifty threatening texts were obtained and transcribed from FBI vault.
- Michelle Carter/Conrad Roy text messages: The series of text messages between Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy as submitted in evidence in the 2015-2017 trial ‘Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter’. Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. The dataset includes references to suicide. The messages total 184 pages over 112 days (1st June 2014 to 21st September 2014).
- Etc, Etc.
An invaluable resource to discover and document forensic linguistic cases: an absolute must for new TFGers.