The Haiti Legal Patrimony Project

Thursday, January 13, 2011
Virginia Kerr -

In response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti that destroyed government buildings and archives as well as entire communities, the LLMC (Law Library Microform Consortium) created the The Haiti Legal Patrimony project. LLMC, which joined in a collection development partnership with CRL in 2010, modeled this large-scale project on previous LLMC collaborative efforts, aiming to digitize a comprehensive collection of historical Haitian legal publications. Only a year after the earthquake, the project is now nearing completion.

LLMC has identified and borrowed extensive holdings of early Haitian legal materials from North American libraries, including the Library of Congress, Columbia University Law Library, the University of Michigan Law Library, the University of Florida, Harvard Law Library, and Yale University Law Library. The materials are being scanned at LLMC’s various digital production facilities. CRL is supporting this project in various ways, filling in specific volumes from holdings of foreign theses and documents, and soliciting CRL member libraries for additional desiderata volumes.

The selected documents, ranging from the 1801 declaration of independence and significant constitutional items to early 20th-century statutes and government reports, will ultimately number between 700 and 750 titles in 900 volumes.  A full copy of the digital files for the Haiti Collection will be given to a Haitian agency when infrastructure becomes available to host it.  As an interim measure, Haitian access to the material will be provided gratis through the University of Florida’s Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC).

All of the Haitian legal and law-related materials will also be part of the growing body of international documents accessible in the LLMC-Digital database. CRL member libraries currently have access to this collection on a trial basis.  Within the next year a plan will be developed for equitable cost-sharing for CRL members already subscribing through their law libraries as well as for those additional CRL members interested in continued access.

The Haitian document collection is an example of the types of materials in LLMC-Digital that can serve research in history, political science, and culture, as well as professional legal research. For more on these efforts and an updated working title list, visit the LLMC’s web site. For more information on the CRL/LLMC partnership, see

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