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INT-LAW  July 2012, Week 4

INT-LAW July 2012, Week 4

Subject:

Launch of AustLII's Colonial Legal History Library

From:

Graham Greenleaf <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

International Law Librarians List (Int-Law)

Date:

Mon, 23 Jul 2012 15:16:05 +1000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (90 lines)

Dear INT-LAWYERS,

AustLII will today launch the Australasian Colonial Legal History 
Library, located at 
http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/special/legalhistory/ . This is the 
first version of the Library, containing over 220,000 searchable 
documents from before 1900, from the seven Australasian colonies 
(including New Zealand). It is being developed in conjunction with 
NZLII. Development of further databases is underway and will expand 
the Library's contents considerably over the next year.

A paper that AustLII presented at the Australian Historical 
Association Conference to explain the Library, 'Digitising and 
Searching Australasian Colonial Legal History', is now available for 
download at 
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2111056   The 
abstract of the paper is below.

We hope you find the project, and the paper, interesting. Please draw 
the Library to the attention of your colleagues with an interest in 
legal history.

Regards,

Graham


Abstract:

Australasia has a rich and complex legal history since the first 
European settlement, and our knowledge of legal practice and 
precedent in the colonies of Australasia is still developing. The 
Australasian Colonial Legal History Library project is an ARC-funded 
project being carried out by the Australasian Legal Information 
Institute (AustLII) since January 2012 with input from 18 legal 
historians from Universities across Australia. Cooperation with other 
parties who have already built invaluable and pioneering online 
resources for Australasian colonial law is an essential part of the 
project.

AustLII is a free access online service which has operated since 1995 
as a joint facility provided by UNSW and UTS Law Faculties , and now 
provides over 500 databases, with usage of over 700,000 page accesses 
per day. The Colonial Legal History Library project is therefore 
being built within a large and mature research infrastructure, and 
this presents challenges as well as advantages. In particular, many 
of the AustLII databases cover the whole period from the formation of 
a colony to the present, so the databases for this Library have to be 
'virtual' databases extracted from this larger corpus.

The paper explains the construction, content and features of the 
first version of the Library, which as of July 2012 contains 12 
databases including one case law database from each of the seven 
colonies (including New Zealand), some of which are 'recovered' cases 
from newspaper reports, the complete annual legislation to 1900 from 
three of the colonies, plus legal scholarship concerning the colonial 
era. These databases provide over 20,000 documents so far, and the 
Victorian Government Gazette 1851-1900 another 200,000. The Library 
also includes the LawCite citator, which allows the subsequent 
citation history of any colonial case to be tracked, including if 
cited by courts outside Australasia.

The medium term aim of this part of the ARC project (which extends to 
1950 in its full scope) is to include all legislation, reported 
cases, and cases which can be 'recovered', from the inception of each 
colony to 1900. Scholarship (old and new) and key source materials 
are also being added, as budgets permit. We hope that the Library 
will be a leader in the creation of legal history resources from the 
colonial era.
-- 
Graham Greenleaf AM
Professor of Law & Information Systems, University of New South Wales (UNSW)
Web - http://www2.austlii.edu.au/~graham/  LSN - http://ssrn.com/author=57970

Co-Director, Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII)
Asia-Pacific Editor, Privacy Laws & Business International Report (PLBIR)
Visiting Fellow, Meiji University, Tokyo (Sept-Dec 2012)

Mail: Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales - Room 224
UNSW SYDNEY NSW 2052  Australia (UNSW CRICOS Provider No: 00098G)
E-mail: [log in to unmask] or [log in to unmask]
Tel: +61 2 9385 2233 (UNSW) +61 2 9569 5310 (Home) Skype: g.greenleaf
(For locations, publications and biography, see above web pages)
*************************************************************************

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