Goldman’s “Opening Appellate Courts” project wins Knight News Challenge

Professor Jerry Goldman’s project Opening Appellate Courts is among winners of the 2013 Knight News Challenge.

Here is a description of the project:

[...] the [U.S.] judiciary [...] still obscures most of its activities from public view. Citizens and journalists seeking to pierce the veil of the courts confront daunting obstacles to access and understanding, and social and computer scientists studying the system must sink much of their resources into gaining access to and reformatting the limited data that is available. Even the lawyers and judges who operate within the system must rely on fee-based access to proprietary collections of these public documents.

This project represents a first step in lowering these barriers. [...]

Our solution

Building on our success at the Supreme Court, we shall extend the Oyez model to the next level of the American judiciary: the intermediate federal appellate and state supreme courts. Our first target will be the supreme courts of the five largest states, serving over one-third of the American public (CA, FL, IL, NY, TX). In each jurisdiction, we will work with the court to collect its documents and media, catalog the materials, and reformat them into open standards equally suitable for general consumption and deeper research. Then, partnering with academic or other public-spirited institutions in each jurisdiction, we will annotate the materials, adding metadata and plain English summaries that make the content accessible and usable for a non-legal audience. The collection will be made available online and through mobile apps. Furthering our existing model, users will be able to query the database, download or share the bits they’re interested in, and freely repurpose the content. In a future iteration of this project that includes the intermediate federal appellate courts, we also intend to collaborate with the RECAP project and integrate with that vast collection of documents. [...]

For more details, please see the complete post.

HT @margarethagan

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