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Law.gov: A Law-Related Open Government Data Project

[NOTE: 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.]

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."

Part of the work of the Law.gov project is the carrying out of a National Inventory of Legal Materials (also called the National Inventory of Primary Legal Materials).

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.

The Law.gov Project has a Google group, where announcements, resources, and discussions are available.

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.

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, 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 will be 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, will be 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.)

A workshop on the Law.gov Project, a U.S.-based law-related open government data effort, will be held 25 February 2010, at Columbia University Law School, in New York, New York, USA. Speakers are scheduled to include Professor Timothy Wu, of Columbia University Law School; Clay Shirky; and a representative 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). To register, or for more information, please see the announcement. HT Stuart Sierra.

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).

For more information about Law.gov, see posts by Joe Hodnicki and Erika Wayne, and the Law Librarian radio program about the project.

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