Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium – Access to Digital Legal Information

I’m down in Chicago today attending the Back to the Future of Legal Research Symposium. The morning session has been very thought provoking. We heard from Mary Alice Baish of the American Association of Law Libraries who spoke about efforts (or lack thereof) of state and federal governments to provide official, authentic legal materials in the digital age. Although no states have any type of authentication program in place, she was encouraged that many have begun to consider the implications.
Ian Gallacher of Syracuse University College of Law outlined his proposal that a consortium of law schools make all common law freely available on the Internet. He lamented the fact that publishers seem to be moving away from print resources making access much more limited to those who cannot afford systems such as Westlaw and LexisNexis. This was one of the issues he raised in his presentation on why an open access legal research system is needed rather than how to go about implementing it.