Thursday, May 01, 2008

"PA Legal Research Websites" Shines

Since 1999, Dittakavi N. Rao, Associate Director of the Duquesne University Law Library, Pittsburgh, PA, headed the construction & expansion of a website that catalogs useful online legal resource links specific to Pennsylvania, known as "Pennsylvania Legal Research Websites". It has become the definitive listing of legal links in the Commonwealth.

That website's creation, circa 1999, reminds us of another unusual resource -- a law library in Pittsburgh jointly-operated by a university and a county since 1999.

According to a posted article, entitled "A Law School - County Law Library Partnership", by Frank Y. Liu & Joel Fishman (2005), "[t]his partnership between a private academic law library and a public county law library is the only operation of its kind in the nation."

In November, 1999, Duquesne University Center for Legal Information (DCLI) and the Allegheny County government located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, entered into a contract for the DCLI to manage the operations of the Allegheny County Law Library (ACLL).

The partnership has proven to be a success * * *. [
The contract was renewed on November 4, 2003, for another five years, from June 2004 to May 2008.]

This article is intended to share with the law library community the background, the operations, and the benefits to both libraries and the legal community of the greater Pittsburgh area from this unique partnership. * * *
Pennsylvania Legal Research Websites (PLRW) is linked on the combined website of the Duquesne Center for Legal Information and the Allegheny County Law Library under "Essential Legal Links", as "Rao's PA Legal Research".

It is listed just above another sponsored website, the
Pennsylvania Constitution Web Page of the Duquesne University School of Law. This companion constitution site, maintained by Professor Bruce Ledewitz and Dr. Joel Fishman, is described in the article as "the most extensive state constitutional law web site in the country."

That phrase -- "the most extensive" -- also describes perfectly PLRW. It is a comprehensive Pennsylvania legal research center for law students, lawyers, other professionals, and the general public who access the Internet to learn about the law. Its links are varied and voluminous. You really have to view it to appreciate the depth & breadth of its links relating to all aspects of the Commonwealth's laws and legal system.

That site is described, but also limited, in its usage notice:
This site is an attempt to bring together, for easy access, the various Pennsylvania legal Web sites that are already available on the Internet under different subject headings.

This site is not intended to provide legal advice.

Users have to make their own judgment regarding accuracy, completeness, and currency of information found in those sites for which links are provided.
A few months ago, I had suggested to Mr. Rao the possibility of another category of links that could be added to the PLRW site; and he responded positively.

Now included, at the very bottom of the PLRW site, is a listing of
Pennsylvania Blawgs. Twelve such PA-specific blogs are listed, including this one -- the PA Elder, Estate & Fiduciary Law Blog -- and also PA HealthCare DecisionMaking.

You'd think, though, with a category beginning with a "B", that blogs would rate higher than the bottom of the website. Yet I feel certain that such placement was not intentional, and resulted, instead, from some uncontrollable, unavoidable, horrible technological glitch.