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Happy New Year! A Look Back at 2012 on In Custodia Legis

We have now completed our second full calendar year of In Custodia Legis.  Our team of bloggers has continued to grow as we aim to share what we learn with you.  We posted just over 240 times in the last twelve months!  And we have been joined by Margaret, Tina, Jeanine, Donna, Barbara, and Robert during that period.  Eleven different authors contributed to our top twenty posts.

One thing that I have learned from blogging over the last few years is that it is tough predicting what will be a top post.  Little did I realize, during a chance encounter with a squirrel outside of the office, that I would strike blogging gold.

To celebrate the new year–which I must say is a favorite time of mine as it happens to be my birthday–, here are the top twenty posts from 2012 with a selection of quotes and photos:

  1. Nuts in front of the Madison Building – Pic of the Week
  2. Now There’s a Congressional Record App for That

I am very excited that today marks the launch of the Congressional Record App presented by the Library of Congress, an initiative of the House leadership under the guidance of the Committee on House Administration.  The goal of this new free app is straightforward – easily read the daily edition of the Congressional Record on your iPad (and maybe save a few trees in the process).

  1. Introducing Congress.gov!

This project will be ongoing; we will be incorporating additional content to Congress.gov (with the Congressional Record up next) in batches over the next year.  Today also marks the first public announcement of the eventual end of THOMAS.  It isn’t going away today or tomorrow, but sometime in the next year.  It won’t fade away to Monticello until we have migrated content from it to Congress.gov and officially retire the beta.

  1. Meet the New Law Librarian of Congress, David Mao
  2. Where Can I Find a Congressional Bill?
  3. The State of What?? U.S. States that Never Made the Cut

New Jersey was once “the Two Jerseys” (East and West). Kentucky started out as Virginia’s backyard.  Connecticut once harbored imperial dreams—claiming a Western Reserve that stretched all the way to the banks of the Mississippi. The shapes of our States have a complex and unexpected history.  It’s easy to forget that history owes a debt to chance: had events turned out differently in ever so slight a measure, we might have carved this country up into very different political units than the ones we have today.

  1. Congressional Record App Updated to Include iPhone
  2. Failure to Update the Law a Titanic Mistake

With all the news this week surrounding the 100th anniversary of the sailing (and, of course, sinking) of the RMS Titanic in April 1912, I’m sure everyone has read or seen at least something related to this event.  … Of course, we here at In Custodia Legis think that the legal angle is particularly interesting!  There are multiple legal aspects that might be examined in relation to the Titanic, so I decided to just look at the regulations and requirements that applied to the safety equipment on board, particularly the lifeboats.

  1. We Waived Death (and Survived!)

In all my convincing of people to sign up for this event, Andrew pointed out that to join we needed to sign a “death waiver.”  His protestations that he was waiving rights to any claims relating to what could possibly be his untimely death made me wonder, is the waiver even legal?

  1. Abolition of Slavery in Ethiopia
  2. Watch House Committee Hearings on THOMAS
  3. Black’s Law Dictionary, 1st Edition – Pic of the Week
  4. The Mysterious Disappearance of the First Library of Congress

Most people at the Library of Congress know, for instance, that the original library of the United States Congress was consumed in the fire that destroyed the Capitol Building on August 24, 1814. The event was part of one of the major traumas of the War of 1812, the capture of Washington, DC. The British had just defeated the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg. When a British force entered Washington City, it set fire to the government buildings, destroying in the course of the night the White House, the U.S. Treasury and the Capitol… . The Library, which was a small collection of about 3,000 books, mostly on the subject of Law, was incinerated in the blaze.

  1. Using Secondary Legal Resources to Locate Primary Sources
  2. The Electoral College – What Is It and How Does It Function?
  3. The Law Behind the Magic of Harry Potter
  4. THOMAS House Committee Hearing Video Update
  5. Happy Birthday, @THOMASdotgov! – Pic of the Week
  6. Legal Pirates, Treasure, and Murder: A Tale from the South Seas

Last week, as I scanned news items from across the Pacific, a particular story caught my eye.  A sunken pirate ship laden with treasure.  Massacre of the crew by island warriors.  A British boy that lived to tell the tale of his adventures in the islands.  It sounded like something Robert Louis Stevenson or Daniel Defoe might have written about!

  1. A Law Classification Scheme as Linked Data?

For those who want to continue this stroll down memory lane, check out our recaps of 2011 and 2010.  We at In Custodia Legis thank you for your support and wish you a Happy 2013.

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