Please see the official news release here.
The Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) representing all university libraries in the United Kingdom and Ireland published last month a 135-page document
Prepared by Sarah Durrant, Red Sage Consulting and Ann Rossiter
Hat tip to DocuTicker.com.
We here at Stanford are big fans of CourtListener. We use it to, among other things, identify recent cases that cite our faculty; those alerts come to us faster than those from some other services.
Stanford Law School alumnus, Legal Research Plus guest blogger and legal informatics visionary Pablo Arredondo has some news to share about CourtListener’s Free Law Project:
Brian W. Carver and Michael Lissner, creators of the CourtListener platform
and associated technology, are pleased to announce that after four years
developing free and open legal technologies, they are launching a
non-profit umbrella organization for their work: Free Law Project. Free Law
Project will serve to bring legal materials and research to the public for
free, formalizing the work that they have been doing, and providing a
long-term home for similar projects.
“Since the birth of this country, legal materials have been in the hands of
the few, denying legal justice to the many,” said Michael Lissner,
co-founder of the new non-profit. “It is appalling that the public does not
have free online access to the entirety of United States case law,” said
Brian Carver, UC Berkeley professor and Free Law Project co-founder. “We
are working to change this situation. We also provide a platform for
developing technologies that can make legal research easier for both
professionals and the general public.”
The official goals for the non-profit are:
* To provide free, public, and permanent access to primary legal
materials on the Internet for educational, charitable, and scientific
* To develop, implement, and provide public access to technologies useful
for legal research;
* To create an open ecosystem for legal research and materials; and
* To support academic research on related technologies, corpora, and
The CourtListener platform was started in 2009 as part of a masters project
at UC Berkeley, and has matured over the years to be a powerful legal
research platform. It has nearly a million legal opinions dating from 1754,
and has more each day as it gets them directly from court websites.
CourtListener currently serves thousands of people with free legal opinions
each week, and has had a doubling of traffic just since July 2013.
CourtListener sends out hundreds of alerts to its users each week,
informing them of new legal cases in which they have expressed an interest.
All of CourtListener’s code is open source and all of its content is
available for free bulk download. Numerous startups and researchers have
used both the code and the bulk data as a basis for their work.
More information is available in [the Free Law Project about page],
where you can find a list of current activities and non-profit documents.
The co-founders expect to pursue grant funding from foundations, but also
hope that those who support the goals of improving public access to the law
will [donate directly] so that the non-profit can put more developers to
work on these efforts.
In the future, freelawproject.org will be the official place to find
updates about Free Law Project and its related technologies.
“This is a huge day for the open legal movement, and we hope you’ll help
share the news by telling your friends and colleagues,” said Lissner.
**Brian W. Carver** is Assistant Professor at the UC Berkeley School of
Information where he does research on and teaches about intellectual
property law and cyberlaw. He is also passionate about the public’s access
to the law. In 2009 and 2010 he advised an I School Masters student,
Michael Lissner, on the creation of CourtListener.com, an alert service
covering the U.S. federal appellate courts. After Michael’s graduation he
and Brian continued working on the site and have grown the database of
opinions to include over 900,000 documents.
**Michael Lissner** is the co-founder and lead developer of CourtListener,
a project that works to make the law more accessible to all. He graduated
from UC Berkeley’s School of Information. Michael is passionate about
bringing greater access to our primary legal materials, about how
technology can replace old legal models, and about open source,
community-driven approaches to legal research.
For more information, contact email@example.com
The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis recently expanded FRASER (Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research), by releasing newly-digitized archival material, making it the largest digital collection of Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) historical materials.
From the news release:
These documents offer a glimpse into the founding of the Fed and its policy making activities.
Hat tip to ResourceShelf.com.
Another timely Congressional Research Service (CRS) report
- Syria’s Chemical Weapons:
Issues for Congress
By Mary Beth D. Nikitin
Specialist in Nonproliferation
& Paul K. Kerr
Analyst in Nonproliferation
& Andrew Feickert
Specialist in Military Ground Forces
August 20, 2013 [R42848]
Hat tip to Docuticker.com.
Cross-posted at Law Librarian Blog.
From the Department of Justice website:
“The first volume of a new supplemental series of OLC opinions (Op. O.L.C. Supp.) is available in its entirety as a PDF in the electronic reading room. As explained there and in the body of the publication itself, volume 1 of this series contains a number of important opinions written by OLC (or its predecessor entities in the Department of Justice) from 1933 to 1977, when OLC first began publishing its primary series (Op. O.L.C.). The purpose of the supplemental series is to fill in certain gaps in the historical record and to make available to the public additional OLC materials that may not have been appropriate to release publicly when issued to the client but with the passage of time have become publishable.”
Volume 1 of the new supplemental series of Office of Legal Counsel Opinions is online at: http://www.justice.gov/olc/docs/op-olc-supp.pdf
The volume includes a very useful and brief history of the OLC and an important note about the contents of this volume:
This volume is subdivided into three sections: one for opinions by Attorneys General; one for opinions by Assistant Solicitors General and OLC (and EAD); and one for other memoranda and correspondence of a less formal nature. The volume includes at least one opinion by each Senate-confirmed Assistant Solicitor General or Assistant Attorney General of OLC (or EAD) from 1933 to 1977. Included in the last sectionof the volume are materials that would not typically be published in our primary series: for example, an early practices and procedures manual for the Office of the Assistant Solicitor General (remarkable in its detailand in its areas of commonality with the modern practices and procedures of OLC); a 1962 memorandum of uncertain provenancein the OLC files, perhaps drafted by the Deputy Legal Adviser for the Department of State, regarding possible responses to the Cuban missile crisis; and some action and file memos that may not qualify as formal opinions of the Office but nevertheless elucidate important legal issues.”
By Jonathan Abel, in Volume 101, Issue #5 of The Georgetown Law Journal (June 2013). Here’s the abstract:
The prison law library has long been a potent symbol of the inmate’s right to access the courts. But it has never been a practical tool for providing that access. This contradiction lies at the core of the law library doctrine. It takes little imagination to see the problem with requiring untrained inmates, many of them illiterate or non-English speakers, to navigate the world of postconviction relief and civil rights litigation with nothing more than the help of a few library books. Yet law libraries are ubiquitous in American prisons. Now, in light of a technological revolution in legal research methods, prison libraries face an existential crisis that requires prison officials, courts, scholars, and inmates to reconsider the very purpose of the prison law library. This Article takes up that challenge by providing a novel historical account of the prison law library’s development.
This Article uses original historical research to show how prison law libraries arose, not as a means of accessing the courts, but rather as a means of controlling inmates’ behavior. By placing the origin of the prison law library in the first decades of the twentieth century–half a century earlier than typical accounts–this Article shows how the law library evolved to take on a new purpose in the 1960s and 1970s, when the Supreme Court and other courts first began to fashion a law library doctrine. The central argument of this Article is simple: The courts’ attempts to graft an access-to-courts rationale onto a law library system that had developed for other purposes led to a law library doctrine riddled with contradictions and doomed to failure. This historical account helps explain a prison law library system that never really made sense in terms of providing access to the courts. As prisons look to update their law libraries in light of sweeping technological changes, it is all the more important to understand the history of the law library system so that authorities can plan for its future.
1. The present report analyses the implications of States’ surveillance of communications for the exercise of the human rights to privacy and to freedom of opinion and expression. While considering the impact of significant technological advances in communications, the report underlines the urgent need to further study new modalities of surveillance and to revise national laws regulating these practices in line with human rights standards.
Hat tip to DocuTicker.com.
Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.
Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law Legal Research Center Research and Instructional Services Librarian John Cannan has authored an excellent article on the subject matter of the above headline in the latest issue (volume 105, number 2, Spring 2013, pages 131-173) of the American Association of Law Libraries’ (AALL’s) Law Library Journal:
The article’s abstract reads:
Using the health care legislation passed in 2010 as a model to show how legislative procedure shapes legislative history, this article posits that legislative procedure has changed, making the traditional model of the legislative process used by law librarians and other researchers insufficient to capture the history of modern legislation. To prove this point, it follows the process through which the health care legislation was created and describes the information resources generated. The article concludes by listing resources that will give law librarians and other researchers a grounding in modern legislative procedure and help them navigate the difficulties presented by modern lawmaking.
Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.