By NATALIE GAWDIAK
The Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) project directors convened their fifth annual conference in the Library of Congress on Sept. 15-18. This forum, like previous meetings, was held to discuss policy matters, set future course and introduce the latest technological developments.
GLIN is a cooperative, electronic legal-information exchange program headquartered at the Law Library of Congress and aimed at bringing authentic, up-to-date, foreign law material to the U.S. Congress and the other legislatures of countries that are GLIN partners. The Law Library initiated GLIN as a way to distribute the workload previously borne only by its own staff of lawyers and indexers, and the GLIN station in the United States is designated as GLIN Central.
Project directors from GLIN stations in Argentina, South Korea, Kuwait, Lithuania, Mauritania, Romania and Uruguay gathered along with representatives from two potential member countries, Guatemala and Sweden. Representatives from GLIN's institutional partners, NASA, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, also took part in this year's meeting. The sessions included an observer from the Embassy of Kazakhstan, the Librarian of the Supreme Court, and representatives from the American Society of International Law and the Center for the Economic Analysis of Law.
Donald Scott, Deputy Librarian of Congress, introduced the session, which was presided over by Rubens Medina, director general of GLIN and Law Librarian of Congress.
As the number of GLIN members increases, members are becoming more active in the network. The addition of different kinds of legal information and the inclusion of retrospective material to the database will increase GLIN's usefulness, and the new organizational structure and independent legal standing will provide the flexibility needed to manage the growing network.
Following are highlights of this year's conference:
- An all-day session was held on drafting GLIN bylaws. The members voted in favor of continuing work on these bylaws, and once a draft is completed they will be circulated to the full membership for a final vote. The bylaws call for the establishment of a nonprofit organization that would result in the gradual transfer of several GLIN Central functions such as training, recruitment and technological research and development from the Law Library to the new organization.
- GLIN Central demonstrated various advances in the system, and NASA gave a presentation of its work to acquire and configure a GLIN earth ground station. The station would experiment with a GLIN intranet, which would enable high-speed, efficient and dependable communication among GLIN members.
- Representatives of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank expressed their continuing interest in helping finance start-up costs for countries that want to join GLIN.
- The establishment of GLIN regional centers was discussed by the GLIN teams from Uruguay and Kuwait. These nations will have a greater role in the network, including the recruitment of members from their respective regions and the storage of data from their regions on servers at their GLIN stations.
- At the conclusion of the meeting, Uruguay, represented by GLIN Project Director Carmen Garcia Mendieta and GLIN Technical Specialist Eduardo Ghuisolfi, accompanied by the Hon. Mario Farachio, was presented with the GLIN Model Station award. The award is given annually to a country that is compliant with all GLIN standards for quality of the full texts and summaries, that has a fully staffed and functional station, and that has maintained a current and complete file in GLIN for at least one year.
Ms. Gawdiak is a writer-editor in the Law Library.