[Ads-l] News: Harvard digitizing its entire collection of U.S. case law

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 2 00:45:14 UTC 2015


Thank you very much for your response, Fred.

In the past there have been important proprietary scanning techniques
known to some organizations and not to others, I think. Perhaps that
is no longer true.

For example, the detailed scanning methods used in the Google Books
project were not divulged initially. NPR has an article from 2009
about a Google patent for a book scanning mechanism that employed an
array of cameras which included an infrared camera.

http://www.npr.org/sections/library/2009/04/the_granting_of_patent_7508978.html

It was not necessary to physically flatten pages because they could be
flattened via mathematical transformations based on the curvatures
calculated from the camera images and the IR data. I do not know if GB
type scanning machines are available to non-Google projects.

Two weeks ago I was in the genealogy section of the main branch of the
Jacksonville, Florida library and they had a simpler version of this
type of scanner. It seemed to have just one camera or multiple cameras
closely spaced. To scan a book you opened it up and placed it on a
contoured plate beneath the camera head. It was not necessary to
completely flatten the pages.

For the GB project a human flips each page, and human hands are
visible in some GB images. Yet, I have seen videos of machines that
are capable of flipping individual book pages. Perhaps, Google was not
satisfied with that technology in the early days of the GB project. I
do not know if this task has been automated in 2015.

Fred, perhaps you could share the methods used at Yale. Do the Google
patents reduce the efficacy of non-destructive scanners that are not
created by Google? Do humans flip individual pages?

Garson

On Sun, Nov 1, 2015 at 2:58 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: News: Harvard digitizing its entire collection of U.S. case
>               law
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> I would seem to be the person on this list most likely to "have any sway wi=
> th the Harvard [Law Library] digitizers," and I would have zero sway.  What=
>  should I let them know -- that nondestructive digitizing is superior from =
> some standpoints?  They know that, but presumably have chosen destructive s=
> canning because it saves them, or rather saves their startup-company partne=
> r, millions of dollars.  =0A=
> =0A=
> I do have a lot of sway with the Yale Law Library digitizers, in fact I am =
> the Yale Law Library digitizers.  At Yale we (in partnership with a commerc=
> ial vendor) have digitized tens of thousands of primary U.S. and foreign le=
> gal books non-destructively.=0A=
> =0A=
> Note that, in terms of linguistic-database creation, the "Free the Law" pro=
> ject will add little to the corpus already searchable through Lexis and Wes=
> tlaw, although it may add greatly to the searchable material available to t=
> hose who don't have access to Lexis or Westlaw.  (Google Scholar already ha=
> s free searchable case law, but I don't know much about their coverage or f=
> unctionality.)  =0A=
> =0A=
> Fred Shapiro=0A=
> =0A=
> =0A=
> =0A=
> ________________________________________=0A=
> From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of ADSGar=
> son O'Toole [adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM]=0A=
> Sent: Sunday, November 01, 2015 12:00 PM=0A=
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU=0A=
> Subject: News: Harvard digitizing its entire collection of U.S. case law=0A=
> =0A=
> Here is news of an important new legal and linguistic database under=0A=
> construction. The accompanying video shows pages being cut from=0A=
> bindings.=0A=
> =0A=
> The non-destructive Google Books approach seems to be superior, in my=0A=
> opinion. If you have any sway with the Harvard digitizers please let=0A=
> them know. (Of course, the video may be inaccurate, and the digitizers=0A=
> may think they have the best approach.)=0A=
> =0A=
> Website: today.law.harvard.edu=0A=
> Article: Harvard Law School Launches =93Free the Law=94 Project with Ravel=
> =0A=
> Law To Digitize US Case Law, Provide Free Access=0A=
> Date: October 29, 2015=0A=
> =0A=
> Short link:   https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3Dhttp-3A__bit.ly_=
> 1XIsP0T&d=3DAwIFaQ&c=3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3DsRkhHMQo6W5Ird1lkQFqb23bC=
> fSHAR2XjUSUG53db5M&m=3DG8X-U4p4oZh32WvZ_N-TE3RW4-8dDVHVioXKedK91v0&s=3D4CwT=
> -wExr6gx4JPhutY_p1OexNWrSlMXBlJ-uOcBb2Q&e=3D=0A=
> =0A=
> http://today.law.harvard.edu/harvard-law-school-launches-free-the-law-proje=
> ct-with-ravel-law-to-digitize-us-case-law-provide-free-access/=0A=
> =0A=
> [Begin excerpt]=0A=
> Harvard Law School has announced that, with the support of Ravel Law,=0A=
> a legal research and analytics platform, it is digitizing its entire=0A=
> collection of U.S. case law, one of the largest collections of legal=0A=
> materials in the world, and that it will make the collection available=0A=
> online, for free, to anyone with an Internet connection.=0A=
> =0A=
> The "Free the Law" initiative will provide open, wide-ranging access=0A=
> to American case law for the first time in United States history.=0A=
> "Driving this effort is a shared belief that the law should be free=0A=
> and open to all," said Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow. "Using=0A=
> technology to create broad access to legal information will help=0A=
> create a more transparent and more just legal system."=0A=
> [End excerpt]=0A=
> =0A=
> Garson=0A=
> =0A=
> ------------------------------------------------------------=0A=
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=
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> =3DsRkhHMQo6W5Ird1lkQFqb23bCfSHAR2XjUSUG53db5M&m=3DG8X-U4p4oZh32WvZ_N-TE3RW=
> 4-8dDVHVioXKedK91v0&s=3DlMO_KUowrBfXpSSbMeJSTcDs1NYikNDObh-BbGJTsS8&e=3D=0A=
>
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