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Electronic Legal Information – in Flux Rob Hudson Head of Information Services Nova Southeastern University Law Library & Technology Center SARC IV - 2/27/2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Electronic Legal Information – in Flux Rob Hudson Head of Information Services Nova Southeastern University Law Library & Technology Center SARC IV - 2/27/2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Electronic Legal Information – in Flux Rob Hudson Head of Information Services Nova Southeastern University Law Library & Technology Center SARC IV - 2/27/2008

2 Outline Government Information Legislation Case Law Administrative Rules Legal Research Changing Library – Changing Expectations Legal Scholarship Open access Rise of Blogs and Legal Podcasts Litigation E-discovery E-filing

3 Tag Cloud

4 Problem How can Government Information become better accessible to citizen researchers? How can legal researchers find electronic information faster and easier?

5 Government Information in flux Federal E-government Act of 2002 Public Law (E-Government Act of 2002). ?

6 Government Information Federal E-government Act of 2002 Public Law (E-Government Act of 2002). Exploit recently established infrastructure. Coordinate IT planning and common use of architecture and infrastructure. Strengthen core information management systems and collaboration. Consolidate technical and operational support

7 Government Information Goal: making Federal Information accessible to searches by various sources Issue: Commercial Search Engines – 75% of citizens search for Govt Info this way Ex. Google search for small farm loans not get to DofA site – produces advertisements for commercial loans

8 Government Information Goal: making Federal Information accessible to searches by various sources Search engines index less than 40% of government information Lack of Sitemaps Robot.txt files Deep Web Problem common to databases Many Government Websites seem impossible to search

9 Government Information Goal: making Federal Information accessible to searches by various sources Creation of FirstGov.govFirstGov.gov

10 Government Information Goal: making Federal Information accessible to searches by various sources USA.gov – still only reaches 50 % of content available USA.gov

11 Government Information Much more needs to be done to contend with the policy of making E-government searchable Encourage sitemaps Discourage invisible web protocols – like robot.txt files Open source Searchable metadata

12 Government Information 2 nd Goal: provide consistent and transparent information

13 Government Information Goal: provide consistent and transparent information architecture Section 207 of the E-Government Act specifically mandates that each agency director be responsible for creating guidelines for their agencys Web

14 Government Information Goal: provide consistent and transparent information architecture Example from the Department of Labor Over 47 Major Govt agencies!

15 Government Information Attempts to consolidate agency material difficult For Example - Regulations.govRegulations.gov One of the worst Federal websites

16 Government Information 3 rd Goal: Open Access Government

17 Government Information 3 rd Goal: Open Access E-Government Example: Federal Blogging: GovGabGovGab With RSS!

18 Government Information 3 rd Goal: Open Access E-Government Example: Open CRS Reports S.RES.401 CRS Reports were very hard to obtain before!

19 Problem With all the electronic Government Information, how are we to know the text is valid – that is authenticated?

20 Problem With all the electronic Government Information, how are we to know the text is valid – that is authenticated? Can we know the information is reliable? To make decisions based on this information it must be dependable.

21 Authentication in flux GPOs Authentication Initiative Issue: digital technology makes such documents easy to alter or copy, leading to multiple non-identical versions that can be used in unauthorized or illegitimate ways.

22 Authentication GPOs Authentication Initiative GPO introduced a digital certificate to apply digital signatures to PDF documents Public Law Example - digitally signed and certified PDF files of the fiscal year 2009 Budget. Wonderful news!

23 Authentication At the State Government level there is no consistency as to online documents AALL: State-By-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources (March 2007). Key Finding 1: States have begun substitute online official legal sources Key Finding 2: Ten states and D.C. have deemed as official one or more of their online primary legal resources

24 Authentication At the State Government level there is no consistency as to online documents A significant number of the state online legal resources are official but none are authenticated or afford ready authentication by standard methods. State online primary legal resources are therefore not sufficiently trustworthy. Citizens and law researchers may reasonably doubt their authority and should approach such resources critically. If the primary, online legal resources are not trustworthy, how can I use them?

25 What about Courts? More courts are placing decisions and orders online Requiring e-dockets Making online sources Official. Meaning they can be cited to in pleadings Can these be authenticated ?

26 What about Courts? Example: Alaska, Indiana, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Utah have declared the online versions of legal resources a substitute for a print official source. None of the online legal sources is capable of being considered authentic.

27 What about Courts? Electronic versions are changing the way courts treat legal information New rules allowing citation to unpublished cases because they are now so available electronically Court rules are being changed by electronic technology?

28 What about Courts? Electronic versions are changing the way courts treat legal information E-filing fully electronic docket system. Those highly wired courts -- along with the nearly 10-year-old federal electronic system called Pacer -- have set a higher standard for electronic access and are drawing other state courts, such as those in Illinois, Florida and California, toward technological benefits. Access to legal information as never before

29 Legal Research – in flux Changing law libraries Cancelling of print resources Just in time collection polices ABA – allowing count of titles not volumes for the first time in academic law libraries

30 Legal Research – in flux Changing legal research preferences Law students almost universally expecting online access to legal information

31 Legal Research – in flux Changing legal research preferences Law students almost universally expecting online access to legal information Problem is that unless they have access later as practitioners, a growing amount of legal information is becoming password protected

32 Legal Scholarship – in flux Open access verses subscription journals SSRN Bepress Rise of Blogs and Legal Podcasts Evidence that they are overrunning traditional law reviews – blawgsearchblawgsearch Tenure committees are valuing these towards retention for the first time Law Reviews Still dependant on print – sourcing is a problem, particularly the search for pagination.

33 Legal Scholarship – in flux New Sources of Legal Information on the Rise Law Firm Sponsored Websites E.g. McNabb & Associates – extradition

34 Legal Scholarship – in flux New Sources of Legal Information on the Rise Free Access to Law Websites WorldLII EISIL Public Law Library

35 Litigation – in flux E-discovery E-filing E-research E-government E-clients CSI type-effect Changing practice at every level

36 Outline – redux Government Information Legislation Case Law Administrative Rules Legal Research Changing Library Legal Scholarship Open access Rise of Blogs and Legal Podcasts Litigation E-discovery E-filing For review…

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