CRL Expands Online Legal Collections

Friday, February 24, 2012
Virginia Kerr -

The partnership between CRL and the Law Library Microform Consortium (LLMC) has entered its second year. This partnership yields several benefits for CRL libraries. LLMC is digitizing law-related collections from CRL, and identifying prospective content for digitization to serve CRL libraries' research priorities. And the recent cataloging of CRL’s extensive collection of Foreign Official Gazettes, which contain a wealth of historical legal information, will enable CRL to assess the feasibility of digitizing these valuable documents.

To date, more than 4,000 volumes from CRL have been scanned and archived through LLMC, including historical legal treatises, an extensive run of Canadian legislative journals, and selected early Haitian legal texts to round out the special collection of Haitian materials created by LLMC. Recently CRL began to feed into the LLMC digitization stream U.S. legislative journals, initially focusing on volumes from the western region, to support water policy research. The partnership also supports digitization of African colonial legal materials from the collections of the Los Angeles County Law Library. For all CRL-selected items added to the LLMC-Digital database, records are updated in CRL’s online catalog and made available in WorldCat. 

LLMC-Digital now contains more than 35 million pages in more than 83,000 volumes. The website provides a bibliography of recently added titles, indicating the wide range of content that continues to expand this database.

Currently all CRL libraries have access to LLMC-Digital, which is subsidized by CRL for those libraries not previously subscribing to the database service. (CRL is developing future options for a more equitable allocation of the cost of access.)

To better understand the value of existing online historical legal resources and identify priorities for future digitization of legal documentation, CRL commissioned a comparative analysis of databases containing historical legal content. The analysis will compare the LLMC-Digital database with HeinOnline and other commercial database collections, including America’s Historical Government Publications from Readex, ProQuest Legislative Insight, and portions of LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Making of Modern Law by Gale. The analysis will also evaluate Open Access content sources: notably HathiTrust, the Congressional Register, and Federal Register online. The results will be posted on CRL’s website this spring, and will form the basis for discussion at the morning session of the Global Resources Collections Forum during CRL’s Annual Meeting on April 20.