For more than eighty years, the Law Library of Congress has been engaged in the preparation of research reports on legal topics, with an emphasis on foreign, comparative, and international law, in response to requests from Congress, the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, and others. The Law Library has authored thousands of reports from the 1940s to the present, and in 2020, we announced a multi-year effort to digitize and publish many of our previously unreleased historical reports in order to make them fully accessible to researchers and other members of the public.
In July 2022, the Law Library celebrated a significant milestone—over 3,000 digitized and born-digital historical reports have been released online as part of this project, with additional legacy reports being published nearly every week. In April 2021, we also launched the Law Library’s second crowdsourcing campaign with By The People, entitled Historical Legal Reports from the Law Library of Congress. Thanks to the help of hundreds of online volunteers, this campaign was successfully completed in three short months last summer, and the completed transcriptions are now fully integrated into the Library’s permanent collection, greatly improving discovery and access for all users. The majority of reports are now full-text searchable, with plans for another round of crowdsourcing sometime later next year.
We are also proud to collaborate with the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) on this project. As of last month, GPO has provided full bibliographic records for over 2,000 of these reports. In addition to their availability on loc.gov, the reports are discoverable through the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP). In the CGP expert search mode, you can use a local field search to retrieve all of the records: wlts=LCLAWLIB. Special thanks also goes to the Law Section of the Library’s Acquisitions & Bibliographic Access Directorate, U.S. Programs, Law & Literature Division, who provide enhancements to the bibliographic records received from our GPO partners.
The Legal Report Archive team expects to publish hundreds more legacy born-digital and digitized reports over the next couple years, and contemporary reports continue to be released alongside the historical reports. For now, please enjoy exploring the Legal Reports (Publications of the Law Library of Congress) collection and continue checking back as additional reports are added on a regular basis.
Subscribe to In Custodia Legis – it’s free! – to receive interesting posts drawn from the Law Library of Congress’s vast collections and our staff’s expertise in U.S., foreign, and international law.