February 21, 2018

University of Minnesota and Michigan St. University Launch SCOTUS Notes, Crowdsourcing Project Will Transcribe Supreme Court Justices’ Handwritten Notes

From the University of Minnesota:

If you have ever wanted to be a fly on the wall during deliberations by U.S. Supreme Court justices or travel back in time to witness Supreme Court decisions, a new crowdsourcing project led by researchers at the University of Minnesota and Michigan State University allows you to do just that.

The project, named SCOTUS Notes, is the newest citizen science project under the Zooniverse platform originated at the University of Minnesota. Zooniverse, the world’s largest and most popular people-powered online research platform, runs on support from volunteers that now number more than 1.5 million.

In this project, members of the public transcribe handwritten notes from U.S. Supreme Court justices. Unlike members of Congress, justices cast their votes in complete privacy during weekly conference meetings. Only justices are allowed in the Chief Justice’s conference room when they discuss, deliberate, and make initial decisions on cases that focus on some of the nation’s most pressing legal issues. The only record of what has been said, and by whom, is provided by the handwritten personal notes the justices themselves take during conference. These crucial documents detail the discussions and debates that took place in thousands of cases spanning multiple decades.

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Together, the members of the general public will transcribe more than 25,000 pages of Supreme Court conference notes that have been digitized from archives at a variety of sites including the Library of Congress, Washington and Lee Law School, and Yale Law School. Those participating receive a tutorial on the Zooniverse platform before beginning their transcription work. If people are unsure about their classifications, the platform includes a discussion forum feature where they can talk with other participants and directly with the research team.

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To join the SCOTUS Notes project and start transcribing, visit scotusnotes.org. Also follow the project on Twitter @SCOTUSNotes or its blog at scotusnotes.wordpress.com.

Read the Complete Announcement

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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