How We Saved History (and How We Keep Milking It): Making Historic State Law Free Online

Presented at the CALI Conference, held June 19-21, 2014 at the Harvard Law School in Boston, MA.


The Free Access to Law Movement declares that “public legal information is digital common property and should be accessible to all on a non-profit basis and free of charge.” In 2012, the UGA Law Library became an informal, if accidental, participant in the free law movement by digitizing the historic Georgia codes and digests (1799 – 1933). The end result is twofold; the first is that the earliest of the Georgia state codes are freely available to the public online. The second is that the notion of “free law,” while laudable, is a misnomer on the part of the institution making the law available.

The session will discuss the process of making legal material accessible followed by the UGA Law Library. This will include the identification of the material, the legal, institutional, and technical issues to consider, and the resources utilized to create and host the material. The goal is to illustrate the discussions and decisions necessary to successfully “set law free.”

Access related LibGuide: http://libguides.law.uga.edu/save_history

2014CALI_BradleysTubins.pdf (1148 kB)
PowerPoint Slides