John Mayer of the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI), has posted The Free Law Reporter – Open Access to the Law and Beyond, on the VoxPopuLII Blog, published by the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School.
In this post, Mr. Mayer describes The Free Law Reporter, CALI’s new free and open database of decisions from U.S. federal and state courts, built using data from Public.Resource.Org‘s RECOP database. RECOP is a project of the Law.gov legal open government data movement.
Mr. Mayer underscores the ebook functionality of Free Law Reporter: the system allows users to automatically transform their Free Law Reporter search results into ebooks in the open EPUB format. These ebooks can be used as casebooks for law school courses, as well as in other applications.
The Free Law Reporter‘s ebook functionality complements CALI’s other legal open educational resource services, the eLangdell free and open digital casebook/textbook service, and the Legal Education Commons, where law professors share their instructional resources online.
Mr. Mayer’s post also discusses the principles underlying The Free Law Reporter. The first of these is the idea that law professors and law librarians should have the freedom to customize databases and course materials to meet the particular needs of their students and the particular objectives of their courses; as Mr. Mayer writes, “Academic law libraries should have free and open access to the law, access that allows them to define and construct the educational environment for law students.”
In addition, Mr. Mayer characterizes The Free Law Reporter as a generative resource, that can foster innovation, creativity, and collaborative effort among law professors, law librarians, and other members of the legal educational community.
Mr. Mayer’s post should be of interest to law professors, law librarians, legal information systems developers, continuing legal education providers, ebook technologists, and the open educational resources community.