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Happy Fourth Birthday, In Custodia Legis!

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Whether it is our first week or our first year, we like to celebrate the milestones of In Custodia Legis.  We started the blog asking What Exactly is In Custodia Legis? and have spent the last four years answering that question.  In Custodia Legis is the Law Library of Congress and the people that make up our great institution.  It is a repository of knowledge that we share with everyone. One tradition that I enjoy is the year end reviews by the Law Librarian of Congress that have gone up every year of the blog: 20102011, 2012, and 2013.  It’s also nice to read about co-workers who have retired like Mark, Pam, Alvin, Steve, and recently Edith.

In Custodia Legis Four Years Ago
In Custodia Legis Four Years Ago

In that first post, I mentioned how the Law Library archives legal blogs.  That collection continues to grow to include many more, including (in a very meta way) this one.  Kurt, Kelly, Clare, Christine, and I were the initial members of our blog team. Thankfully, the team has grown to now include sixteen active bloggers.  One goal that we had was to give our institution a human face, several faces actually.  In addition to adding new bloggers, we started an interview series so you would know more about the great people we work with.  There are now over 135 interviews.  We also open up the blog for guest posts, and there are now well over 200.

I asked my fellow bloggers to share what their favorite posts have been.

Jennifer liked the post, The Big Move, and said that “if you’re a technical services librarian, this post is fascinating, and a useful case history.”

Margaret said, “I can’t exactly point to one post but I like the posts about legal and legislative developments around the world and that the blog has a global coverage – not just U.S. material.  Also as a reference librarian, I have found the blog to be a great resource when responding to ‘Ask A Librarian‘ inquiries.”

Robert enjoyed Peter’s discussion of Lee Harvey Oswald’s attempt to defect and said that “it’s interesting to think how history may have been altered if Oswald had been allowed to acquire Soviet citizenship.”

Kurt chose Kelly’s post on Legal Pirates, Treasure, and Murder: A Tale from the South Seas. He selected it because it was “sparked by a news article, where the blogger wanted to learn more about a topic.  Her search revealed the richness and depth of the Library of Congress’s collections in many subjects and formats.”

Kelly shared:

Two of my favorite features of the blog are the “Pic of the Week” and “Interview” categories.  The picture posts, which we have been publishing every Friday since very early in the life of In Custodia Legis, allow us to give a quick glimpse into our workspaces, collections, and other law or library-related interests – including many pictures of beautiful libraries around the world!  We have also featured interviews from very early on.  They allow our staff to learn more about each other and for our readers to learn more about our backgrounds, expertise, interests, and what our jobs entail.

One of my favorite posts is Kurt’s on why some of our books have a white dot on their spine.  I had no idea why before reading it and have referenced the post on subsequent tours I’ve given.

What have been our most viewed posts over these four years?

  1. Frequent Reference Question: How Many Federal Laws Are There?
  2. The Articles of Confederation: The First Constitution of the United States
  3. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  4. The Inspiring Story of Nelson Mandela
  5. The History of the Mexican Constitution
  6. Nuts in front of the Madison Building – Pic of the Week
  7. Slavery in the French Colonies: Le Code Noir (the Black Code) of 1685
  8. How to Locate Free Case Law on the Internet
  9. Cinco de Mayo is Not Mexican Independence Day?
  10. Civil War Conscription Laws

The page views for In Custodia Legis have gone up each year since we launched.  Hopefully, this is a trend that will continue for the next four years.

Thanks for reading!  Do you have a favorite post?  If so, share it in the comments below.


  1. Thanks for an invaluable service. Keep up the great work.

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