The Forensic Linguistic Databank (FoLD) is 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.
We broadly understand forensic linguistics as any academic research with a potential to improve the delivery of justice through the analysis of language. FoLD thus 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.
The Forensic Linguistics Databank is a collaboration within Aston University between the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics and the Aston student software company, Beautiful Canoe.
The Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics (AIFL) is a world-leading research institute at Aston University, dedicated to improve the delivery of justice through the analysis of language.
Beautiful Canoe is a not-for-profit, student-run software development group that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aston University and operates from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
FoLD is funded via a £6M investment into the Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics, including a £5.4M award from Research England's Expanding Excellence in England (E3) fund.