Supreme Court Open Infrastructure Project

The Supreme Court Open Infrastructure Project, a new legal information dissemination effort, led by scholars including Professor Andrew D. Martin of Washington University and Professor Jerry Goldman of Northwestern University’s Department of Political Science, is now underway.

According to Daniel Martin Katz, the goal of the project is to create a freely available, central online repository of interoperable data about the U.S. Supreme Court, accessible by a wide range of users and easily integrated with other data and applications. Washington University’s Supreme Court Database is to serve as the platform for the repository. The project is related to a National Science Foundation grant devoted to extending the content of the database to include data from 1792 through 1946.

A meeting — attended by personnel from Northwestern University’s Oyez Project, the University of Maryland’s Digital Docket Project, the Computational Legal Studies blog, Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, Stanford Law School, the University of Pennsylvania’s Linguistic Data Consortium, and Washington University’s Center for Empirical Research in the Law (CERL) — to discuss plans for the project took place on 3-4 December 2009, at CERL. Reports on the meeting are available from Daniel Martin Katz and Mark Liberman.

The Supreme Court Open Infrastructure Project appears to offer an interesting example of the application of Open Data principles (see the explanatory article by Miller et al. here, and the related definition of “Open Knowledge” here) being implemented in connection with key legal information, by members of the academic community. This project complements law-related Open Data efforts taking place within government, such as 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).

A selected list of additional law-related data resources (some open and some not) is available here, and a selected list of law-related Linked Data resources is available here.

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