August 13, 2010
Fundamental Themes from LAW.GOV Workshops: Public Infrastructure, Lowering Barriers to Innovation, and Providing Access and Developing Research Tools
An estimated 650 law librarians, law professors, government officials, judges and legal information industry representatives attended 15 LAW.GOV workshops held across the country earlier this year. The culmination was the recent release of LAW.GOV's 10 core principles. See NLJ's Law document transparency project defines its terms. As Fastcase CEO Ed Walters points out in Why .Gov is at the *End* of Law.Gov: Effort Needs Innovators First, Then Government, To Thrive a wide range of individuals representing diverse interests participated in LAW.GOV workshop sessions. Following up on LLB's On Extending the Outreach for LAW.GOV's Support: The Incubation Process Has Begun, this week we are featuring LAW.GOV. videos of some. [JH]
Fastcase's Ed Walters on LAW.GOV not trying to put Westlaw and Lexis out of business but is calling for the creation of a public infrastructure for electronic distribution of primary legal sources.
Tim O'Reilly on the importance of developing standards and platforms that by way of LAW.GOV will lower the barriers to innovation.
Vinton G. Cerf emphasizes that providing the means to access and developing research tools are also important. One step toward bridging the digital divide is making comprehensive access to primary legal sources at least available in public libraries. Another is providing no or low-cost tools for determining whether those resources are current and "good law," something I personally think will become available once the barriers to competition are lowered by viewing the production and bulk-distribution of official primary resources as a public utility that is necessary and doable in a civil society governed by the rule of law in the 21st Century