Law.gov is a recent, U.S.-based, law-related open government data project, organized by an open access publisher of government information, called Public.Resource.Org. According to the project’s Website, Law.gov has as its goal to write “a report documenting exactly what it would take to create a distributed registry and repository of all primary legal materials in the United States.”
Law.gov has issued The Law.gov Principles and Declaration (a.k.a. The Law.gov Core Principles), which express the project’s goals, and the expected consequences were the goals attained.
Law.gov seeks to make U.S. federal, state, and local legal information available free of charge on the Internet, in a manner designed to maximize interoperability and ease of access and to facilitate reuse. The organizers see the U.S. Government’s Data.gov project as a model for Law.gov.
[At the Columbia University Law.gov Workshop held 25 February 2010, Carl Malamud announced that three task forces would be organized to carry out major parts of the project's agenda:
- A National Inventory of Legal Materials Task Force, led by Paul Lomio and Erika Wayne of the Stanford University Law Library (click here for more information on the National Inventory);
- A Metadata Task Force -- which will agree on metadata standards for legal materials to be made available as a result of the project -- led by Tom Bruce of the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School;
- A Core Specifications Task Force -- which will establish hardware and software specifications, in the form of a model Request for Proposals (RFP), which could be used by government entities that make legal materials publicly available as envisioned by the project -- led by Vinton Cerf of Google and James Stogdill of Accenture.]
The Twitter hashtag for the Law.gov project is #lawgov.
The Law.gov Project has a Google group, where announcements, resources, and discussions are available.
Click here for the Radio Berkman podcast about Law.gov, recorded 25 February 2010, with Carl Malamud and David Weinberger of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
The Law Library of Congress is also working in this area. Click here for information about the Law Library of Congress’s efforts to register the Law.gov domain, and its statements about its relationship with the Law.gov project.
The American Association of Law Libraries issued a statement in connection with Law.gov, entitled AALL Statement on Legal Materials and Our System of Law (May 25, 2010).
Content for the Law.gov report is to be generated in part through a series of meetings to be held during the first quarter of 2010 — click here for all of the meeting agendas — and co-organized by faculty or staff at the law schools of Columbia University, Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of California Berkeley, and the University of Colorado; Northwestern University’s Oyez Project; Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP); Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute; O’Reilly Media; and the Center for American Progress.
A panel entitled Law.gov: A Revolution in Legal Affairs was held on 12 January 2010 at Stanford Law School in Palo Alto, California, USA. The panel will include Anurag Acharya of Google Scholar, a representative of Public.Resource.Org, and Professor Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard Law School, and will be moderated by Roberta Morris of Stanford Law School. Click here for video of this panel. HT @evwayne.
A panel about Law.gov (scroll down), and featuring Tom Bruce of Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, John Joergensen of Rutgers University Camden Law Library, Stephen Schultze of Princeton’s CITP, and personnel from Public.Resource.Org, was held on January 22, 2010, at the workshop entitled Open Government: Defining, Designing, and Sustaining Transparency, at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. (See video, tweets, and a summary. Click here for video of all of the Princeton workshop panels.)
Law.gov was discussed at Roundtable Number 4, “Gone Today, Here Tomorrow: Assuring Access to Government Information in the Digital Age” (scroll down) (click here for the abstract for the roundtable), held 4 February 2010 at 3:45 p.m., at iConference 2010 [the conference of iSchools], at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate School of Library & Information Science, in Champaign, Illinois, USA. Click here for slides from the presentations (HT @freegovinfo).
On February 24, 2010, a roundtable on Law.gov, with Tom Bruce and Carl Malamud, was held at Yale Law School, for members of the Yale Law School community. Click here for Nicholas Bramble’s post on the event.
A workshop on the Law.gov Project, a U.S.-based law-related open government data effort, was held 25 February 2010, at Columbia University Law School, in New York, New York, USA. Speakers included Professor Timothy Wu, of Columbia University Law School; and Carl Malamud of Public.Resource.Org. Topics will include the accuracy and authenticity of digital legal information, and a proposed National Inventory of Primary Legal Materials (also called the National Inventory of Legal Materials). HT Stuart Sierra.
Click here for video of the Law.gov Event at the U.S. House of Representatives, held 25 May 2010.
Click here for video of the first meeting of the Law.gov Core Specifications Task Force, held 26 May 2010.
Click here for video of the Law.gov Workshop at the Center for American Progress, held 15 June 2010.
Click here for video of the Harvard Law.gov Workshops, held 17-18 June 2010.
Other law-related Open Government Data efforts include the U.S. Government’s Open Government Directive, and the UK Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI)’s Single Legislation Service (SLS) (see details from Dr. John L. Sheridan via Dr. Adam Wyner here and here).
[NOTE: This post was last updated 28 July 2010. Updated on 15 February 2010 to list upcoming events for February & March 2010. Updated on 14 February 2010 to add the Twitter hashtag for the Law.gov project: #lawgov. Updated on 9 February 2010 to mention the discussion of Law.gov at the 4 February 2010 roundtable, “Gone Today, Here Tomorrow: Assuring Access to Government Information in the Digital Age,” at the 2010 iConference. Updated on 2 February 2010 to link to the Law.gov Project Google Group. Updated on 27 January 2010 to link to video and a summary of the Law.gov panel at the Princeton Open Government Workshop. Updated on 25 January 2010 to link to news about the National Inventory of Legal Materials. Updated on 23 January 2010 to link to video of the January 12 Stanford panel. HT @evwayne.]
[NOTE: Updated on 16 January 2010 to mention the Law Library of Congress's statements about its relationship with the Law.gov project, and the National Inventory of Legal Materials (also called the National Inventory of Primary Legal Materials). Updated on 12 January 2010 to mention the 25 February Law.gov Workshop at Columbia University Law School. Updated on 6 January 2010 to mention the 12 January Law.gov event at Stanford Law School.]
Tags: Free access to law, Law Library of Congress, Law.gov, Legal informatics conferences, National Inventory of Legal Materials, National Inventory of Primary Legal Materials, Open data, Open data and law, Open government data, Open Government: Defining Designing and Sustaining Transparency, Public access to legal information