The African Legal Information Institute (AfricanLII), South Africa, and the National Council for Law Reporting (NCLR), Kenya have embarked on a project to formalize both organizations’ training programmes and work practices. The first training event takes place in Johannesburg from 30 July 2012 to 2 August 2012 as part of the collaborative efforts, including also the Uganda Legal Information Institute, the Zambia Legal Information Institute and the Zimbabwe Legal Information Institute, to finalize training videos and manuals.
Understanding the ICT environment at the source of the material is important for a LII to succeed. LIIs can take advantage of the computerization and digitization programmes at institutions producing legal information. In a rare presentation at an open access workshop, Joseph Ssinabulya walked us through the organizational and technical set up at the uganda Judiciary. This allowed a discussion on the possible avenues for collaboration and joint projects.
The purpose of the presentations in the legal research session of the workshop was to familiarize participants with strategies for training users, as well as provide them with sample material to be used for their own training presentations.
Linda Ochieng, the Head of Research and Development at NCLR, provided a detailed presentation of KLR's experience.
My presentation in the legal research session of the workshop focused on, very underused (perhaps very hated too), ful ltext search. Over the years, I have often had to respond to critiques about the utility of LII websites that do not editorialize content. I have come to the conclusion that those are partially fuelled by insufficient knowledge of advanced search techniques. So, after a short presentation on boolean operators and constructing search queries, I demonstrated how easy it is to locate up to date and relevant material on ULII without the aide of an Index.
Kerry Anderson spoke about technology solutions to facilitate publication of the law. She touched on the, mostly paper based at the source, workflows, the functional requirements for the websites, as well as the actual implementations supported by AfricanLII.
Kerry also introduced two innovative projects - the Freedom Toaster and the Annotator for Law - that AfricanLII piloted recently. Both are designed to respond to our African context.
Martin Mbui, the Head of ICTs at NCLR, lead a lively discussion on the use of ICT for law publishing. He provided a comprehensive overview of all solutions supporting workflows, document management and web publication at the Council.
Ann Asugah is the Team Lead at the Laws of Kenya department. The attached presentation says it all, but does not contain Ann's advise to colleagues from other LIIs - yes, having a mandate to publish the laws is all good, but not enough and not necessarily allowing you full access to the source. Building lasting relationships with content suppliers - from the top to the operational level - is what guarantees success, she adds.
In my presentation, I talked about the principles and implementation of a national collection - what and how do we go about building a national legal information system.
Note: No rule in the case citation guidelines is prescriptive. We just have to settle on a standard and follow it consistently in an LII.
In a detailed presentation (over 2 sessions), Monica Achode, Senior Law Reporter at Kenya Law Reports, familiarized participants with KLRs collection practices and workflows in producing both the Kenya Law Reports and the unedited collection of caselaw on the KLR website.
On Day 1 of the Workshop Esther Onchana presented the National Council for Law Reporting, its history and organizational structure.
The NCLR is a state corporation receiving annual budget for its operations from Parliament. All major justice sector stakeholders participate in shaping NCLR.
Tom Bruce, the Director of the LII (USA) - the original recipe LII, will join us via videoconference to present on issues of sustainability for open access legal publishers.
The notes are attached.
In Day 1 we will focus our presentations and discussions around organizational models, practices and sustainability ideas for African open access legal publishers. Kenya Law Reports will provide the participants with a thorough presentation on the National Council for Law Reporting model as one of the biggest successes for free access to law in Africa. AfricanLII will provide an overview of the successful, and less so, models of LIIs emerging across Africa and across the world.
1. Esther N. Onchana
Kenya Law Reports and AfricanLII will present a comprehensive programme spanning organizational, content, and technical aspects of running an open access legal publisher in Africa. A special train-the-trainer session is planned for the last day of the workshop.
The workshop will take the form of presentations by KLR and AfricanLII staff, short guided presentations by participants, and practical exercises.
Most of the material distributed during the workshop will be made available through this group.
The agenda for the workshop is available below.