One to 100
Friday, September 7, 2012
Justinian in BarNet, CLRs, City Desk, High Court, Jade, One to 100

Legal digital commons ... First 100 volumes of the CLRs being scanned and made publicly available ... Latest BarNet-Jade venture ...Initiative of innovative Sydney barristers ... Where's the Bar Association? 

MONDAY (Sept. 10) in Canberra will be a moment of significant achievement by the BarNet-Jade enterprise. 

The One to 100 project will be presented to the High Court.  

Justice Bill Gummow with the director general of the National Library of Australia, Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, will be on hand to receive this digitised archive of the first of the 100 volumes of the Commonwealth Law Reports. 

It's been quite an enterprise with high quality scanning of the original 100 volumes. 

The judgments are already in the public domain and the idea is that this material will be a free supplement to Jade's annotated judgments search service.

It will also be made available to libraries generally.

With the assistance of the Copyright Agency, the case reporters and their estates are being tracked down and permission sought or remuneration paid to reproduce. 

Copyright Agency supports making available these "orphan works". 

The first 100 volumes were scanned by Thomson a while ago. Thomson provided these to AustLII with the headnotes and context stripped out. 

The quality of the reading experience is not that great with this pay-to-read service.

Jade is hoping to do something about that by opening the access with a beautiful presentation and ease of reading. 

Jade's standout feature is the attractiveness in the way judgments are reproduced online, easy citation functions and the sharing of annotations and tags. 

It's almost makes it a pleasure to read even the most leaden judicial outpouring. 

The funding for One to 100 has come from sponsors who have forked-up the cost of digitising the volumes. 

The level of contributions varies between $1,500 for "foundation sponsors" to $50 in the "open law" category. 

Some volumes remain unsponsored, although they have already been scanned, while another 28 volumes are waiting to be digitised. 

In all, the project involves more than 73,000 pages, with about 56,500 scanned or in the process of being scanned. In excess of 38,250 pages have been received by BarNet and these will be presented to the court on Monday. 

BarNet is the brianchild of Michael Green, now on the 13th floor of St James Hall. 

Around him coalesced a group of like-minded barristers who wanted better technology to support their work. 

The not-for-profit company started with telephony, high speed internet connection and web hosting and has spread into Jade's enhanced case search and now the One to 100 project. 

The company has also established a specialist IT mediation centre in the city. 

Recent innovations include a regular seminar roundtable with an IT emphasis. Yesterday (Sept. 6) there was a discussion around directors' duties and the James Hardie case. 

BarNet has been running for about 13 years and has moved into territory that might properly have been the province of an imaginative and energetic Bar Association. 

Capital was raised from the lawyers who signed on for the internet access and VOIP services. 

It began by connecting floors 11, 12, 13 and 14 of St James Hall in Phillip Street. 

Now 46 chambers, including large ones like Frederick Jordan, along with small and medium law firms use the service. BarNet's cabling and wifi are rapidly spreading throughout Sydney's CBD. 

The internet connection is superfast and because of the aggregation of users BarNet is able to have some leverage with its ISP buying power. 

The enterprise is guided by a board of five, Ron Webb, Michael Hall, Beth Oliak and Roger Rasmussen, with Green as chairman. 

*   *   *

Green: wired

THERE was a cover of Time Magazine in about 1956 that captivated Michael Green. 

It was an image of the future - a world that was wired, with lots of scientific gizmos whizzing about, but all connected. 

He's always been interested in how technology can improve the functions of our lot in life. 

He was associate for three years to Justice Ian Sheppard on the Federal Court, and the judge was a real mentor and inspiration to him. 

Green went on to become the secretary to the Copyright Law Review Committee and later company secretary and corporate affairs person for the Audio Visual Copyrights Society, the forerunner to Screenrights. 

The bar beckoned and he arrived on Bret Walker's floor at 5 St James Hall. 

He's been steadily moving upstairs ever since. 

Links ... 

One to 100 project 

Jade 

BarNet 

Article originally appeared on Justinian: Australian legal magazine. News on lawyers and the law (http://justinian.com.au/).
See website for complete article licensing information.