Law Library Joins Project to Provide Digital Access to Thousands of Historical Documents

August 31, 2016

Ever wonder what kind of debates came out of the first Missouri Constitutional Convention? Well now your questions can be answered. What would likely have been lost to time will now be fully searchable and accessible across the country.  Researchers will have digital access to thousands of historically important documents thanks to a Law Library Microform Consortium (LLMC) digitization project the Vincent C. Immel Law Library is participating in with dozens of other law libraries. The $500,000 project will provide unprecedented digital access to the Early State Records. This microfilm collection, created by the Library of Congress in the late 1940’s, covers colonial, territorial and early statehood documents for the 48 states that formed the United States at the time.

Phase 1 of the project will focus on digitizing half of the collections nearly 2,000 reels of microfilm held by the Vincent C. Immel Law Library at Scott Hall. This phase is estimated to require three years to complete and will provide access to the 15 states on the Atlantic seaboard as well as the Native American documents. The Law Library will catalog and create abstracts for the collection and the titles will appear in the LLMC digital database.

“Thousands of historically significant documents are found in this microfilm,” said Erika Cohn, director of the Vincent C. Immel Law Library. “Now researchers across the country and the world will have access to these unique materials in our collection that have been virtually unknown for nearly 200 years. It’s really exciting to be a part of this project.”

The project has been funded by individual LLMC member institutions including the Library of Congress, a group of Florida libraries under the lead of the University of Florida and the law libraries at Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, North Carolina, St. John’s, Stanford and Yale among others. 

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