Creighton’s Nebraska Briefs Digitization Project (WEB SITE)
The Creighton University School of Law Library embarked on its first large-scale digitization project last fall. Library staff had been entering metadata for the Library’s Nebraska Supreme Court and Nebraska Court of Appeals briefs collection for several years into a locally created database so it would be searchable on the library’s website. It was hoped that sometime down the road the Library would be able to add the documents themselves. Then, in the spring of 2010, the Creighton libraries implemented DSpace for their institutional repository, which made it possible to also add the PDF files of the briefs themselves.
To prepare for the project, three staff members attended DSpace training and worked with the repository’s system administrator to create a customized data entry template and search capabilities for the collection. This took several months as this type of collection is very different from the scholarly types of works that are normally contained in an institutional repository. Once this was completed, the system administrator was able to import the metadata from the previous database into DSpace, which was an enormous timesaver. Student workers started scanning the briefs collection last fall using the Library’s photocopiers that had scanning capabilities. The students also ran OCR software to make the documents searchable. One staff member was the project manager and oversaw the student workers. She also created the metadata and uploaded the PDF files into DSpace.
The collection went live in January of 2011. There are currently 3725 briefs available in the collection going back to 2006. Since January, the collection has been viewed from around the country and the world including the Ukraine, Russian Federation, Netherlands, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, China, and Japan. Additionally, there are around 6200 metadata records for the collection going back to 1983. For records that do not have a brief attached to them yet, there is a generic PDF document directing the viewer to the reference desk for more information.
Several more years of work are planned for the project. The main focus will be to continue scanning the most recent briefs and working backwards from 2006. Another aspect of the project will be to bind the briefs collection, which is only bound into 1985. This has actually been a plus, as it is much easier to scan the briefs from loose pages. Once the older briefs are scanned, they will be sent to the bindery. When all of the unbound briefs have been scanned and loaded into the repository, we will explore the options for scanning the bound collection.
This project will be very beneficial to the Nebraska legal community. The Nebraska briefs are only available in three libraries (Creighton University Law Library, University of Nebraska Schmid Law Library, and the Nebraska State Library) or electronically in Westlaw. Now everyone can have free access to the collection at their fingertips.
— Corinne Jacox and Andrea Cotton, Creighton University School of Law Library.
The State Law Library of Montana’s Indian Law Portal (WEB SITE)
The Montana Indian Law website was originally proposed to Judy Meadows, State Law Librarian, by Denise Juneau, who at the time was director of the Office of Public Instruction’s Indian Education Division. Identifying and acquiring Montana’s tribal legal documents had always been a challenge for the State Law Library, and being offered funding to do this and mount the information on a website provided the resources and momentum needed. A steering committee was appointed that included Meadows and Juneau, as well as representatives from the Governor’s office, the Indian Law Resource Center, the Montana School of Law, the Office of Public Instruction, the Montana Historical Society, and the Department of Administration’s Information Technology Services Division. The Committee agreed on the required elements for the Portal, the necessity of cataloging the documents and permanently preserving the legal heritage of the tribes, and the desired qualifications of the project manager.
Following an RFP process, Daniel D. Belcourt was hired as the project manager. During the length of the contract his biggest challenge was getting letters of understanding signed with each of the tribes, so that documents would continue to be added to the website as they were developed. The information that was already in digital form was harvested from trusted sites and captured for permanent public access and preservation. Other documents were digitized in situ, to demonstrate the project’s respect for the ownership of the information.
After the documents (such as tribal court opinions, constitutions, water rights compacts, gaming compacts, fish and game regulations, and codes) were delivered to the law library, a contract was signed with the Information Technology Services Division to design the portal. While this work was being undertaken, law library staff began cataloging the documents, using Dublin Core standards and putting the information into OCLC’s CONTENTdm® for worldwide access at any library computer, as well as through the Montana Memory Project. The latter allows researchers to access legal information about a Montana Tribe at the same time as they are searching for water rights or maps digitized by the University of Montana. Ultimately all the documents will be sent to the OCLC Digital Archive for long term preservation.
The librarians at the Montana State Law Library strongly felt that in addition to being able to search for and find the information through library catalogs and the Montana Memory Project, a robust and interactive website would assist researchers in discovering the state’s tribal legal heritage. The Montana Indian Law Portal was developed for Montana’s Indian Nations, for the citizens of the state, and for educators and students.
— Judy Meadows
Cornell Law Library’s Trials Pamphlet Collection (ARTICLE)
Most of Cornell’s historical trials collection was digitized in partnership with William S. Hein & Co. But there were a few trials that were too fragile to scan and that needed to be disbound and preserved. A recent grant of $155,700 from the Save America’s Treasures program will allow the pamphlets to be restored and preserved in print, and each pamphlet also will be digitized and indexed online. All conservation and digitization work will be done in-house, beginning in July 2011. This is Cornell’s third Save America’s Treasures award. These grants, organized through the National Park Service, fund projects that protect American cultural heritage.
— Claire Germain
Law Library of Louisiana Reprints
For the past four years I [Library Director Georgia Chadwick] have been working with the Scott Fiddler at the Hein Company to have books and pamphlets reprinted for our library. I have used Hein because I know the people I work with personally and they are reliable and very careful.
Some of the items are in our collection already and come to my attention when a patron has difficulty using them because they are brittle. The other items are ones we don’t own but borrow from another library with permission to have it scanned and reprinted for us by the Hein Company. We have identified various titles when we are doing historical research and decide we would like to add a book or pamphlet to our collection. One advantage of a reprint is that margins can be made larger and the problem of damaging the spine of a book while making photocopies is reduced.
A few examples:
Louisiana Civil Code of 1825. A local attorney used this for a law review article and he called me to apologize that the spine was broken after he used it. This was not a surprise because the book has 1348 pages and has a 4-inch spine. Of course the text of the Louisiana Civil Code of 1825 is available in the compiled civil codes volumes in our set of West’s Statutes for Louisiana but our reprint of the original code allows our patrons to use our new book with no concerns for damaging the book on a photocopy machine.
Teatro de la Legislation Universal de Espana E Indias by Don Antonio Xavier Perez Y Lopez is a 28 volume encyclopedia of Spanish law published from 1791-1798. It was sitting flaking on the shelf, untouched for many years. About a year ago a professor in Scotland asked me to copy a few pages from the first volume which is an index. I searched over and over and it was apparent that volume one was gone. The Hein Company found a very generous library who allowed their volume one to be scanned and then they produced a replacement volume for us. Then we had the rest of our set rebound in leather as the paper was in fabulous shape. I asked a staff member to find a case citing the Teatro and she found a very interesting case in our court where even after we had the Civil Code of 1825 in place it was necessary for the court to cite to the Teatro and other Spanish law as controlling law in the case.
Club Men of Louisiana in Caricature. This is quite rare in Louisiana and we had used it at the New Orleans Public Library as some important Louisiana legal figures and judges are included. The Public Library’s copy is very fragile. We were able to borrow a copy from another library and they allowed Hein to scan it for us. We now have a very useable copy. We could probably buy an original at some time but the paper would be brittle.
Civil Law of Spain and Mexico by Gustavus Schmidt. I asked Hein to reprint this for us and to add it to HeinOnline to make it available to a broader audience. It has an excellent essay – “Historical Outline of the Laws of Spain” at the beginning. Hein helped me have a t-shirt produced to distribute to interested scholars around the world. The shirts have been sent to Mexico, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, and even to the wilds of Baton Rouge, LA.
Louisiana Acts. Although our library has a complete set of Hein microfiche of Louisiana Acts we have only one print copy of some of the earliest volumes. Hein has made us copies of our Territorial Acts from 1804 to 1811. Again, the new print copies have wide margins to allow for photocopying. Hein is now working on 1812- 1834. This has been a bit slow because some of our copies are missing pages or have other issues which make them unsatisfactory for scanning. Hein is working with us to find the missing pages.
Acts from the other 50 states. Our library was founded in 1838 and has an old and fairly complete collection of session laws from other states. We have made these available to the Hein Company for their session law project for HeinOnline.
My goal is to have Louisiana’s oldest House and Senate legislative journals reprinted. This is not an easy goal as these are as rare as hen’s teeth. However, like our old acts volumes – I can’t put them down once I open one – there is so much history to read!
— submitted by Georgia Chadwick, Law Library of Louisiana
The Brevier Legislative Reports at the Indiana University-Bloomington Law Library (WEB SITE)
The Brevier Legislative Reports were published biennially from 1858 to 1887 and are a verbatim report of the legislative history of the Indiana General Assembly during those years. The volumes also include veto statements and other messages from the Governor. These are a unique set of documents because there is no other detailed and comprehensive record of the debates and speeches from the floor of the Indiana Senate chamber and the Hall of the House of Representatives for this time period. The volumes also contain a record of each bill introduced in the House and Senate, and on a broader scale they are rich with detailed firsthand accounts that reflect the conditions of the times and aid in the understanding of the issues present in Indiana in the mid to late nineteenth century.
Mike Maben of IU-Bloomington teamed up with the IU Digital Library Program to digitize the Brevier Legislative Reports. There were 19 physical volumes with a total of nearly 8,000 pages. The volumes were scanned and OCR was run on the text. Then they encoded the text using the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). A basic set with keyword searching is available on the IU website, and more expansive website with more searching choices is in development.