Sacrificing Print for Digital Search | Harvard Law Library Launches "Free the Law"


Last week the Harvard Law School Library announced the launch of its "Free the Law" initiative, a massive project that involves digitizing approximately 40 million pages of court decisions from the Harvard Law Library to create a searchable repository. The Harvard librarians are scanning all the pages from its vast collection in order to create a searchable database of American case law. With the exception of the Library of Congress, no other collection contains nearly every state, federal, territorial and tribal judicial decision since colonial times! 

Recognizing the power of content digitization, once complete the library's content will be discovered and presented in ways simply not possible with the single dimension print provides.  The legal text will be searchable and results will be presented both graphically and text-based in a way that details relationships across statues and key decisions.

For more information and to see a video of this fascinating project, visit the Harvard Library Portal.


Driving this effort is a shared belief that the law should be free and open to all. Using technology to create broad access to legal information will help create a more transparent and more just legal system.
— Dean Martha Minow, Harvard Law School