Not too long ago, a statement like this spoken in the hushed, hallowed hallways of the Harvard Law School library would have been considered heresy: “I think for court decisions, law books are becoming obsolete and even to some some degree a hindrance.”
That’s Adam Ziegler, and he’s no heretic. He’s the managing director of the Library Innovation Lab at Harvard. Ziegler is leading a team of legal scholars and digital data workers in the lab’s Caselaw Access Project.
Ziegler and his team estimate that across all 43,000 case law books in the collection, each has an average of about 921 pages. That’s nearly 40 million pages that need to be digitized.
The goal of the Caselaw Access Project is to liberate law books, making the contents available to anyone with an internet connection.
“We are literally, and sort of metaphorically, unbinding the law and making it available online for free, which is exciting,” Ziegler says.
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