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December 3, 2008

The Global Legal Information Network Offers New Features

A new version of the Web-accessible Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) was released on Nov. 24, 2008, offering users three new features.

The most significant enhancement is the application of digital signatures to each full text document in the GLIN database, for security purposes. Other new features include a simplified Chinese Web interface and direct access to the United Kingdom’s Acts of Parliament.

"We are particularly pleased with the addition of the Acts of Parliament to GLIN because United Kingdom law serves as a foundation for many common law jurisdictions whose participation in the network is being sought," said Acting Law Librarian of Congress Charles Doyle.

Initiated and administered by the Law Library of Congress, GLIN is a public database of official texts of laws, regulations, judicial decisions, and other complementary legal sources contributed by 36 governmental agencies and international organizations, covering 51 jurisdictions. The database is accessible online at www.glin.gov.

Authentication by digital signature assures GLIN users that each full text contributed to the database is a true representation of the official source document. Each time a full text is contributed to GLIN, a digital "fingerprint" is made. Whenever a full text document is downloaded, the system will compare its current fingerprint with the one that was made at the time of contribution. If the fingerprints match, the document receives a certificate of integrity, thereby assuring the user that the full text is as complete in format and content as the day it was loaded.

GLIN is designed to enable international access and comparative legal research based on a common search method. This goal is supported through a common Web interface translated into each of the languages of the member jurisdictions. Similarly, the GLIN thesaurus is translated into all languages of the system to support comparative searches across the database regardless of the language of the full text documents. GLIN users have subject access to the database in any of the 14 languages of the GLIN system, including the latest addition of simplified Chinese.

The Law Library partnered with the United Kingdom’s Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) to transfer the Acts of the UK Parliament (1988-present) and Explanatory Notes directly from the OPSI database to GLIN. As a result, legal scholars are now able to conduct comparative searches of the GLIN database that include the laws of the United Kingdom.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its Web site at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at myLOC.gov.

Founded in 1832, the mission of the Law Library is to make its resources available to members of Congress, the Supreme Court, other branches of the U.S. Government and the global legal community, and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of law for future generations. With more than 2.6 million volumes, the Law Library contains the world’s largest collection of law books and other resources from all countries and provides online databases and guides to legal information worldwide through its Web site at www.loc.gov/law/.

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PR 08-226
12/03/08
ISSN 0731-3527

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