Suggestions So Far

  • From: "Chris SCHROEDER" <SCHROEDER@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <scotus_archive@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 09:51:35 -0400

I wanted to get some information from my web people before responding to
the various formating suggestions.

First, there is no difficulty in posting printer friendly copy in html.
 We could also post in a word processing format in addtion to html.  

Second, Jerry Goldman's linking suggestions are also feasible - linking
to specific cases within the posted volumes can be done.
Extracting a specific case and posting it separately is more work, but
it is technically feasible.

That disposes of the technical questions, I believe.  Jerry's several
suggestions bleed over into substantive decisions that have to be made. 
If I understand you correctly, Jerry, the suggestion is that people who
edit cases for the site start with the SCOTUS pdf file and produce an
edited pdf file for posting, one which shows where edits have been made
and retains original pagination.  It seems to me this suggestion raises
the following issues:  (1)  editing in pdf requires software beyond the
adobe reader and will in any event be more complicated than editing in a
word processing program; (2)  I suspect that in its start up stages the
site will be offered existing edited cases from instructors who want to
contribute to the common pool.  Whatever format policy we decide upon
will have to include some policy as to whether such cases should (a) be
grandparented and taken as is; (b) not be accepted until they are put in
compliant form; (c) taken on a temporary basis, pending being reworked
(by someone?); (3) using pdf is inconsistent with the exactly contrary
suggestions made by several others.  

Whether or not the SCOTUS files are used as the original document,
Jerry's suggestions raise two generic issues:  (1) should edited cases
indicate where edits have occured, through ellipses or other devices? 
(this seems to me an extremely good idea, altho' it raises the existing
cases problem); (2) should original pagination be retained, whether from
the official reports or from the advance sheets (which, it is probably
needless to say, are posted on a same-day basis on the SCOTUS site as
they are announced)? (3) should some information by the editor regarding
the edit be provided?  In particular I think Jerry's anticipation that
some cases might end up having multiple edits is quite correct.  

Keith has suggested that the case files be "clean" (my word), without
notes or questions in them.  That sounds like a good idea to me.  It
would be easy to link to a separate file containing notes and questions,
though, and if enough people wanted to make/have available the thoughts
of other instructors about the case that would be possible.


>>> j-goldman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 08/21/02 02:52PM >>>

It came as a pleasant surprise to me that SCOTUS has posted the entire

content of US Reports from volume 502 to 531. 
<> The bound 
volumes are authoritative, easy to read, and paginated in a manner that

enables easy citation and reference. It is possible to create a url
will point to the exact location within a particular volume. It should
possible to extract the pdf for an individual case and post it.

It seems to me that the chief virtue of Duke opinion archive is to
editorial decisions. There should be a way to signal such editorial 
judgments in a pdf while retaining official pagination for citation 
purposes. This way, we have a standard against which we can judge these

decisions. Better still, we can create our own edited versions and let
users of this list decide which ones -- if any -- fit our needs.

Consider, for example, Cohen v. California 
<>. Would you know

that this case has been edited just from looking at it? There are no 
citations or footnotes. The last paragraph of the introductory section

(prior to the section marked 'I') has been removed. I  believe another

paragraph has also been deleted but I did not check with care. My point
that we should work from 'authoritative' versions and reveal what we do
our editorial decisions. If we find no version that satisfies, we can 
create our own.

Jerry Goldman

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