18 Pages

Web Mirror Sites: Creating the Research Library of the Future, and More . . .

WithClaire M. Germain

SUMMARY. Libraries can play a key role in ensuring permanent access to primary legal information, both domestic and international. Web mirror sites present a particularly efficient and cost-effective way to collect, disseminate, preserve, and ensure accessibility to information far into the future. Through partnerships with the issuing governments and organizations, databases of official information can be loaded on a local server, updated directly from the issuing site, and captured at regular intervals to get a snapshot of the status of legal instruments as of a certain date. The result is similar to adding the various editions of a print book. The Cornell Law Library has recently made freely available two Web mirror sites for researchers and the public. These are the ILO (International Labour Organization) and the ICJ (International Court of Justice) mirror sites. The Law Library is archiving these sites every six months, thereby providing access to previous versions of a treaty article, or other information that was superseded, or amended. The many additional advantages of creating these partnerships with domestic and international institutions are discussed, as well as the process used to create the mirror sites, and maintaining them. The article ends with a proposal for collaboration among libraries to create 88the research library of the future. The preservation of digital law is a critical issue because information is disappearing. Libraries have a role to play because it is part of their fundamental mission to preserve information for future researchers. [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: <[email protected]> Website: <>]