Open Access • Et. Seq: The Harvard Law School Library Blog

Supreme Court TV: They’re Younger than That Now

A recent press release announced:

“Proceedings of the Supreme Court . . . can now be watched live over the internet, in a significant development for the transparency and accessibility of the highest court in the land.”

“[Now] legal professionals, students and members of the public interested in the work of the Supreme Court do not have to travel . . . to see proceedings.”

Amazed? Okay, the ellipses replace “of the United Kingdom” and “to London,” but still, especially to an American, it is pretty big news. Live streaming of the UK Supreme Court’s hearings and judgments began on May 16, via Sky News.

According to the press notice, the Sky News site provides links to the Supreme Court’s case summaries for those being webcast. Check the Court’s Sittings Page to plan your UKSC viewing, being mindful of the 5 hour time difference.

UK colleagues recommend the UKSC Blog for excellent coverage of the Court and upcoming cases.

For commentary on this development, read Max Atkinson’s Blog (“The case for banning television from courts fell apart years ago”).

On March 16, 2011, Lord Neuberger presented the Judicial Studies Board Annual Lecture, entitled “Open Justice Unbound? It makes provocative reading for citizens of this New World nation.

A tip of the tricorne to The BIALL Blog.

On Your Mark: The DPLA Beta Sprint is On!

The Library: Roaring into the Future

The Library: Roaring into the Future, by Eric Drooker. New Yorker, May 23, 2011.

Do you dream of a comprehensive digital public library that would make online access to knowledge available to all? The Digital Public Library of America Steering Committee does, and today invites you to submit your ideas to a beta development phase of their undertaking.

The committee looks forward to receiving ideas, models, and prototypes, whether clearly practical or a little surprising, for aspects of the DPLA, including but not limited to tools, user interfaces, and architecture. Everyone is a stakeholder and everyone’s idea is welcome.

Statements of interest must be received by June 15, 2011. Final submissions will be due by September 1, 2011. Read more about it here.

Roar on!

Q and A on Open Access with Subbiah Arunachalam of the Centre for Internet and Society (Bangalore)

Amrit Dhir, a 1L at Harvard Law School, has been working with the library on open access activities.  He recently had an opportunity to interview Subbiah Arunachalam of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) in India.  Check out the interview on the Berkman website.

CRCL Colloquium: Gay Rights and Lefts: Rights Critique and Distributive Analysis for Real Reform

March 9, 2011
Harvard Law School, Austin North

The Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review is hosting a colloquium tonight. Professor Libby Adler from Northeastern University School of Law will be presenting her paper “Gay Rights and Lefts: Rights Critique and Distributive Analysis for Real Law Reform” and will respond to remarks on the piece that were posted last week. Professor Adler’s presentation will be followed by comments from Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Professor Adrienne Davis of Washington Law School.

Librarians, technologists and law students join forces to provide open access to California law

Our colleagues at the Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford Law School and Justia (with some help from the folks at Fastcase and Stanford Law students) recently teamed up for SCOCAL, an exciting project to provide open access to California law. From a description on its fabulous Legal Research Plus blog, the website

“provides free access to the full text California Supreme Court opinions from 1934 to the present, along with detailed annotations of selected cases written and edited by students in our Advanced Legal Research class here at Stanford. For selected cases related California Supreme Court briefs, other documents and news items are also available, all free of charge. Users may subscribe to separate RSS feeds of new opinions, annotations, Court news and follow the site on Twitter.”

We had a chance to ask Erika Wayne and Paul Lomio some questions about the project:

MP: How did this project evolve?
PL and EW: Tim Stanley (Justia) came to our Advanced Legal Research class a few years ago and mentioned that lawyer driven annotations were the next big thing. Paul, while biking home, thought let us annotate something….California Supreme Court seemed like a great starting point (model after SCOTUS sites, and local, manageable).

MP: Are students continuing to contribute to the project even after they are done with your class?
PL and EW: We encourage them to do so and I think it is too soon to say….

MP: What happens when your class is not in session (e.g. summer)?
PL and EW: We collect cases for the next quarter. It is based on the Law Review case note model. Alacrity is not critical. Over the course of the year, most of the major cases are covered.

MP: What are the average number of cases each student is covering?
PL and EW: Right now it is 2; it might go to 1 in the future (TBD).

MP: Is participation mandatory for your class?
PL and EW: Yes.

MP: What have been the pedagogical outcomes of having students participate in such a project?
PL and EW: The students all have a deeper appreciation of indexing, court reporting, and computer assisted information retrieval. The students are also learning valuable lessons about search terms and synonyms. In gathering related materials, they understand how difficult it can be to acquire court documents and compile the complete record of the case since it may not all be online (which so many of them expect). We also encourage them to link to free sources so they have a greater awareness of what resources are freely available and what still remains proprietary or unpublished.

MP: Any further enhancements/developments planned for the project (that you may share)?
PL and EW: We are exploring some expansion possibilities, but it is too early to discuss these…..stay tuned!

For more information about this project, check out this posting by Cicely Wilson at Justia.

Genocide Archive of Rwanda Launched

The Genocide Archive of Rwanda opened last week. Below is an excerpt from a press release about the project:

Established by the Aegis Trust in association with Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG), the Genocide Archive of Rwanda will become the unified repository where all information relating to the genocide can be found. Its physical archive will preserve original audiovisual, documentary and photographic materials in a secure, controlled environment managed to international standards. Its research programmes will continue to trace materials from the genocide period, to map and gather information at sites of the genocide, and to record fresh survivor testimony. And its digital archive, created in collaboration with the University of Texas Libraries, will make all of this material fully accessible to researchers through a cross-referenced system that allows key word searches, first on site and ultimately online.

The full press release is available on the AEGIS website.

Celebrating Open Access Week at HLS

Implementing the Durham StatementThis week is Open Access Week, a global event that allows the “academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.”

In celebration of the week, the Harvard Law School Library has worked with Duke Law School’s J. Michael Goodson Law Library and Center for the Public Domain to organize Implementing the Durham Statement: Best Practices for Open Access Law Journals, a day long workshop to be held on Friday, October 22, 2010.

Readings and links for the event are available through the social bookmarking service

Most of the event will be held at Duke Law School, but the final 3:30-4:00pm wrap up session will be held at Harvard Law School, Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall. The Dean of Students Office and Harvard’s Office for Scholarly Communication will be hosting a special webcast of the entire workshop being held at Duke Law, with a lunch featuring a panel of law school journal editors discussing their experience with open access issues. This event is open to the public ! (RSVP is encouraged for the lunchtime panel for catering purposes.) Visit our website for more details about the event at HLS.

We hope to see many of you there!

Viewers will be able to submit questions to workshop coordinators via Twitter (hashtag: #durhamOA) and


Morning Session: 10:00–noon (Webcast from Duke Law School)

Richard Danner: Rufty Research Professor of Law and Senior Associate Dean for Information Services
Duke Law School
Michelle Pearse: Librarian for Open Access Initiatives and Scholarly Communication
Harvard Law School Library

Open Access in the Law School Journal Environment
Richard Danner
Duke Law School

Traditional and Open Access Business Models for Law Journals
Phil Rubin: Editor-in-Chief, Duke Law Journal
Duke Law School
Discussion Leader

Copyright and Author Agreements for Open Access Law Journals
Benjamin J. Keele: Reference Librarian
Wolf Law Library, William & Mary Law School

Lunchtime Panel Discussion: noon-1:00pm (Lunch provided) (Live at HLS)

Afternoon Session: 1:00-3:30pm (Webcast from Duke Law School)

Publishing Platforms: Vendor-Supplied or Build Your Own
Paolo Mangiafico: Director of Digital Information Strategy
Duke University
Speaker and Discussion Leader

Formatting and other Issues for Access and Discovery
Wayne V. Miller: Assistant Dean for Academic Technologies
Duke Law School
Speaker and Discussion Leader

Archiving and Preservation for Future Scholars
Stephen Chapman, Project Manager, Digital Lab, Harvard Law School Library
Speaker and Discussion Leader

Respondents for Afternoon Sessions
Jean-Gabriel Bankier, Patti French: Berkeley Electronic Press
Brian Christensen, Gayle Smith: Joe Christensen, Inc.
Jeffrey Dunn: Harvard Law School
James MacGregor: Public Knowledge Project (PKP)
Shannon Hein, Kevin M. Marmion: William S. Hein Company

Wrap-Up: 3:30-4:00pm (Live at HLS)

Workshop Speakers and other Participants, joined via videoconference by:
John G. Palfrey: Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean, Library and Information Resources
Harvard Law School
Peter Suber: Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University and Senior Researcher at SPARC

HLS-related blogs make most frequently cited list

David Hoffman of Temple University Beasley School of Law recently had his research assistant update a 2006 study on citation of law-related blogs in law reviews and court opinions. He has posted the findings at Concurring Opinions. Among the top 20 cited in law reviews since 2006 are Lessig Blog by HLS professor Lawrence Lessig (which went in hibernation in 2009) and the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Goverance and Financial Regulation. (Credit Slips to which HLS professor Elizabeth Warren is a former contributor also made the list for blogs cited in court opinions.)

Law Librarian Lee Peoples has also looked at citation of blogs in cases (see his presentation at last year’s Future of Today’s Legal Scholarship Symposium. He also recently published an article on use of wikipedia in judicial opinions.

Harvard Law School Library Joins the Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive

–As National Preservation Week Begins, the Chesapeake Project, the First Collaborative Digital Archive of Its Kind in the Law Library Community, Expands with the Addition of a New Library Partner–

As the first annual National Preservation Week begins, the Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive is pleased to announce that its digital preservation efforts are expanding with the addition of a new partner library, the Harvard Law School Library.

By joining the project, the Harvard Law School Library is taking part in the first collaborative digital preservation program of its kind in the law library community. Libraries participating in the project share costs, resources, and expertise to preserve important Web-published, born-digital legal materials within a shared digital archive.

“We are thrilled to become part of this project addressing the crucially important issue of preserving born-digital materials,” said John Palfrey, Vice Dean of Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School. “We feel fortunate to be participating in such a very relevant, collaborative project, harnessing the economies of scale and benefitting from the training and expertise of our new partners who have already been working in this area.”

The Harvard Law School Library is currently prioritizing content for preservation and will be developing its digital archive collections in the coming months.

The Chesapeake Project was launched by the Georgetown, Maryland State, and Virginia State Law Libraries in 2007 as a collaborative digital archive. Today, as the project expands with a new partner library, it is also working with the Legal Information Preservation Alliance (LIPA) in the formation of the new Legal Information Archive, a collaborative digital preservation program for the law library community modeled after the Chesapeake Project.

For more information, visit the Chesapeake Project at or the LIPA Web site at Additional information about the first annual National Preservation Week is available at

Digitizing Haitian Law

Our colleagues Roberta Shaffer and Mark Strattner at the Library of Congress were recently on Federal News Radio discussing their project to digitize Haitian law.

Check out their library’s guides to legal sources in Haiti. You might also want to visit LC’s collection in the Internet Archive where you can already find some Haitian legal material.

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