Grey Tales


Tales from an Instructional Technologist in the world of legal education and beyond…

Crowdsourcing and Open Access v2.0


Timothy K. Armstrong
Assistant Professor of Law
U. of Cincinnati

Improving access to scholarship and primary source materials.

Many open-access repositories exist:

  • single institution (Harvard, one day; Duke, OCU)
  • cross-institution (SSRN, Expresso, LexOpus)

Faculty adopting open-access mandates

  • Harvard (but John Palfrey says compliance is an issue)

Law reviews going open-access, too

The Durham Statement (2009)

Going Digital has four steps. First, scanning the documents–actually getting into some kind of digitized format into the computer. How, then do you get the text into a readable format? Then, you need to proofread and correct text. Finally, how do you distribute it in a way that is “findable” and “searchable.”

It is important that you do not try to do these four steps by yourself. Look outside of your institution for help. A lot of this work has already been done so why recreate the wheel? For example, the Google Books, Internet Archive, Library of Congress–places to go that have already cleared one of these hurdles. Once you have the scans there are various free Web sites that  offer services will ocr the text for you (Any2DjVu). Now we start get into tasks that scale. There are two

Distributed Proofreaders (affiliated with Project Gutenberg) and Wikisource (a sister site of Wikipedia). The pros of DP are they are very large and supportive and is fast, at least in the early rounds. The cons are that is it bureaucratic & hierarchical, new users cannot add texts and few texts of interest to the legal community. With Wikisource, the pros are that any user can add or edit any work, there is an easier user interface and many legal texts are already available. The cons are that they are much smaller than DP or Wikipedia and slower to complete proofreading projects.

You can collect his slides on his Google docs page.


Filed under: Educational Technology, General, Instructional Technology, Legal Education,

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