September 29, 2010
USCprelim: Pilot Project to Update Online USC Titles Faster Launched With IRC
In Is There a Future for an e-USC? Law Library Lights, 9 (Winter 2010), Andy Zimmerman and Trevor Rosen asked "would it be possible for the OLRC to create an e-USC along the same lines of the e-CFR?" By way of email exchanges with Andy about this topic he wrote
For some time I've wished the government would post a relatively current edition of the United States Code, and I got particularly interested after the e-CFR proved successful. I researched the situation last Fall, and spoke with Peter LeFevre, the Law Revision Counsel. At the time Mr. LeFevre was focused on the worthy goal of reducing the time lag for incorporating new laws into the official USC to about a year, but he was receptive when I mentioned possibly also developing an unofficial-but-nearly-current edition of the USC similar to the e-CFR.
Looks like LeFever ran with the idea! Recently the House of Representatives Office of the Law Revision Counsel (OLRC) launched USCprelim with the online publication of Title 26 containing the Internal Revenue Code, current through Public Law 111-237 (August 16, 2010). You can view the updated IRC by section or group of sections, specify the title and section or other subdivision, or search by words or phrases using boolean and proximity connectors. Additional search options include
- Concept (searches for documents statistically related to your query)
- Relate (suggests words related to your query, based on co-occurrence within database)
- Fuzzy (suggests words spelled similarly to the first word in your query)
- Dictionary (verifies existence and popularity of a word in the database)
See the Help page for details.
Starting in 2010, the OLRC began a pilot project, called the USCprelim, to update certain titles of the U.S. Code on the website throughout the year as laws affecting those titles are enacted, rather than waiting until the end of the congressional session. Although these titles are also prepared from the same database used to prepare all other versions of the Code, they are posted to the website as a preliminary release, before all editorial notes have been added and before all work has been thoroughly reviewed. Thus, it should be expected that the preliminary release will be subject to further revision before it is released again as a final version. Nevertheless, the preliminary release should be useful to those seeking a more current version of the law. As with other online versions of the Code, the U.S. Code classification tables should be consulted for the latest laws affecting the Code.
In his recent blog post, OT: There IS a future for an e-USC!, Andy writes
I would like to think my article (co-written with Trevor Rosen, a librarian at Kilpatrick Stockton LLP) planted the seed for USCprelim but, either way, the pilot represents a big step forward, and the OLRC should be commended for making it happen.
No doubt Andy's conversation with Peter LeFevre didn't hurt and most likely it was a contributing factor to the development of this new resource. There are substantially different requirements between how the CFR and its eCFR version and the USC and its new USCprelim can be created. But it most definitely looks like OLRC is overcoming some of the hurdles the creators of the e-CFR do not have to face. [JH]