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Legal Information Tower of Babel: Law dot Gov, National Inventory, and the U.K. Law dot Gov Project

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Law dot gov is sponsoring a contest. Legal Research Plus has a post to the links you need to bring yourself up to Law dot Gov speed: Law.gov Report Contest

Law dot gov is a Government Website Work in Progress and the tireless founders and contributors include the self-employed, law school employees, professional association employees, or other government entity employees (e.g. public law librarians).

If you want to read about the Law dot Gov Contest, and about law dot gov, visit the Law dot gov site at public resource dot org and the Law dot Gov Google Group.

Unlike the U.K. (below), most U.S. law primary sources are in the public domain. (Yes, there are exceptions.)

For more information on specific sources of U.S. laws, state and federal, stay tuned for the National Inventory Project that is coordinated by the Washington Affairs Office of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL).

(For more about the National Inventory, see the California story at Legal Research Plus.)

For some background news on both Law dot Gov and the National Inventory, which when combined will be spectacular, visit:

Legal Research Plus: Law.gov: National Inventory of Legal Materials, January 25, 2010, by Erika Wayne (from where I got the Tower of Babel reference, from a California judge):

As Chief Justice George writes:

“Courts in California currently operate more than 70 different case-management systems with about 130 variations. These systems do not connect with one another and do not provide information across court and county jurisdictions…

We cannot afford to operate in an electronic Tower of Babel.”

Few outside the Commonwealth countries know how difficult it used to be to find U.K. law primary sources way back in the dark ages (before online databases, and especially the Web), so we’re thrilled to see this new entrant into the online world:

Legislation.gov.uk: … About Us: “This website is managed by The National Archives on behalf of HM Government. Publishing all UK legislation is a core part of the remit of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO), part of The National Archives, and the Office of the Queen’s Printer for Scotland.

The original (as enacted) and revised versions of legislation on Legislation.gov.uk are published by and under the authority of the Controller of HMSO (in her capacity as The Queen’s Printer of Acts of Parliament, and Government Printer of Northern Ireland) and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland….”

( For those among you who might be wondering, yes, a Tower of Babel is sometimes a very good thing.)

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