Category Archives: Digital Preservation

Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive Report

— The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive releases its ‘Two-Year Pilot Project Evaluation,’ describing size of digital archive, access statistics and ‘link rot’ among archived publications —

The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive has released a comprehensive report evaluating its digital preservation efforts over the past two years.

A joint effort of the Georgetown University Law Library and the State Law Libraries of Maryland and Virginia, the project was created as a two-year pilot to investigate the feasibility of establishing a collaborative digital archive, shared by multiple institutions in the law library community, for the preservation of Web-published legal materials. The aim of the project is to ensure long-term access to these born-digital publications, which can be easily lost as Web site content is rearranged or deleted over time.

The project evaluation reveals that nearly 14 percent, or approximately one in seven, of the online publications archived between March 2007 and March 2009 have already disappeared from their original locations on the Web but, due to the project’s efforts, remain accessible via permanent archive URLs. A similar analysis in 2008 showed that slightly more than 8 percent of archived titles had disappeared from their original URLs, demonstrating a dramatic increase in “link rot,” or inactive URLs, among archived Web content over the past year.

The evaluation also reports that the libraries participating in the project have archived more than 4,300 digital objects and tracked more than 177,000 visits to, the open-access home of The Chesapeake Project’s digital archive collections. Users of the project’s Web site visited from U.S. educational, government, and military institutions, as well as from countries abroad throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

The full project evaluation is available at

Having successfully completed its initial two-year pilot phase, The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive is currently expanding. Law libraries nationwide are encouraged to join this collaborative digital archive or establish similar preservation initiatives under the auspices of the Legal Information Preservation Alliance (LIPA).

For more information, visit the LIPA Web site at or The Chesapeake Project at

Amazon Kindle DX to be Piloted at Universities this Fall

Kindle first look from engadgetAmazon just announced a large-format version of their electronic book reader, called the Kindle DX, which you can see in action at engadget. The product doesn’t launch until this summer, but it could be in the hands of many university students for a pilot coming to five schools this fall. Library Journal reports that these schools are: Arizona State, Case Western Reserve, Princeton, Reed College and Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.  As of yet, there are no law schools who will try this out.  Because Kindle books are typically locked into a single device, this could mean the disappearance of a used book market.  That said, it means fewer dead trees and possibly more publishing options for content producers.  In law schools, where much of the raw source material is in the public domain, casebooks and case compilations could be done very economically, if not for free.

An interesting feature of the new device is that it supports native PDF documents, instead of forcing people to pay to convert them to a proprietary Kindle format. This means you could get class notes or reading materials in PDF format and read them directly.  It’s not clear if this would support image-based formats like scanned law reviews from Hein Online or published reporter cases from Westlaw.  If so, this could be a boon for students willing to pay almost $500 for the device.

In the past, there has been some debate over whether libraries can lend Kindle readers to their users. One problem with having a Kindle in a library is that book purchasing is tied directly to the account on the device.  A library owning one to lend would have to disable purchasing options. Books purchased for the Kindle cannot be transferred to another device.

In advance of the latest Kindle announcement, the New York Times ran a story about large format e-book readers, exploring questions of whether these could save daily newspapers.  Media conglomerate Hearst Corporation is rumored to be launching a wireless e-book reader. They publish everything from Harper’s Bazaar to Good Housekeeping to Popular Mechanics.  It will be exciting to see how electronic books develop over time.  They look like a possible life preserver for print media. Perhaps this Fall we’ll see how they fare in the education sector.

Update: Additional coverage, including law school topics, is found here:


Beyond Competition: Preparing for a Google Book Search Monopoly…

…is the title of a posting yesterday (2/4/09) by Frank Pasquale at the Balkanization blog. It reviews the excellent piece by Harvard’s Robert Darnton in the Feb. 12, 2009 New York Review of Books, “Google & the Future of Books” (accessible as e-journal for us Georgetown affiliates). Darnton’s essay echoes much of what John Palfrey had to say about the settlement at the AALS in San Diego when he spoke at the Law Library section lunch. Pasquale addresses briefly some of the possible challenges to the settlement, but all three professors- Darnton, Palfrey, and Pasquale- are worried about the possiblity of changing times or the end of good will on the part of Google, and in principle, the privatization of a project that cries out to be for the public good, with equality of access to the information in perpetuity.

Virginia Lawyer Publishes Four Librarian-Authored Articles

The June/July 2008 issue of the Virginia Lawyer includes four articles by law librarians, focusing on issues of interest to Virginia practitioners and legal researchers interested in Virginia materials.  

Virginia Law: It’s Online, But Should You Use It?
by Timothy L. Coggins

Feeling Short-Circuited? Assessing the Availability of Virginia Circuit Court Opinions
by Jeanne Ullian

Locating and Using Internet Archives for Virginia Practitioners
by Michele Gernhardt

Librarian Protects and Defends Legal Documents
by Dawn Chase

Around once each year, law librarian Gail Warren assembles, edits and submits articles by law librarians for publication in the Virginia Lawyer, the official news magazine for the Virginia State Bar.

More Digital Doings at Harvard

As a follow-up to the earlier post of February 12, 2008, the outcome of the Harvard A & S faculty vote on posting scholarly articles appears on the university’s web page, to wit:

"In a move to disseminate faculty research and scholarship more broadly, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) voted Tuesday (Feb. 12) to give the University a worldwide license to make each faculty member’s scholarly articles available and to exercise the copyright in the articles, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit. "

And you might want to scoot virtually over to Harvard Law, where they are posting a digitization project called "Dying Speeches and Bloody Murders: Crime Broadsides Collected by the Harvard Law School Library." In those days, open access meant …to executions, from the looks of it. Creepy.

Digitization and its Discontents

There’s an interesting article in the New Yorker entitled: Digitization and its discontents. by Anthony Grafton. In it the author argues that mass digitization projects may not bring on the research utopia that some predict.


Google’s projects, together with rival initiatives by Microsoft and Amazon, have elicited millenarian prophecies about the possibilities of digitized knowledge and the end of the book as we know it. Last year, Kevin Kelly, the self-styled “senior maverick” of Wired, predicted, in a piece in the Times, that “all the books in the world” would “become a single liquid fabric of interconnected words and ideas.” The user of the electronic library would be able to bring together “all texts—past and present, multilingual—on a particular subject,” and, by doing so, gain “a clearer sense of what we as a civilization, a species, do know and don’t know.” Others have evoked even more utopian prospects, such as a universal archive that will contain not only all books and articles but all documents anywhere—the basis for a total history of the human race.

In fact, the Internet will not bring us a universal library, much less an encyclopedic record of human experience. […] The rush to digitize the written record is one of a number of critical moments in the long saga of our drive to accumulate, store, and retrieve information efficiently. It will result not in the infotopia that the prophets conjure up but in one in a long series of new information ecologies, all of them challenging, in which readers, writers, and producers of text have learned to survive.

Available exclusively on the New Yorker site, Adventures in Wonderland that provides a good article summary together with many links to some important digitization projects.
 [spotted by Peggy Fry & Marylin Raisch]

Authenticating Electronic Government Documents

The U.S. Government Printing office has begun a pilot (beta) program to authenticate public and private laws from the 110th Congress (2007-2008). Here’s a note about this from their site:

GPO’s Authentication initiative focuses on the primary objective of assuring users that the information made available by GPO is official and authentic and that trust relationships exist between all participants in electronic transactions. In furthering GPO’s mission to provide permanent public access to authentic U.S. Government publications, GPO is working to afford users further assurance that files are unchanged since GPO authenticated them.

Find full information on the Authenticated Public and Private Laws: Main Page. Additional general information is available on the Government Printing Office Authentication site.