By: Rachel Evans and Mandy Mastrovita
The Alexander Campbell King Law Library is unique among library collections at the University of Georgia (UGA). In addition to managing its holdings in a separate ILS (integrated library system), it has also hosted its own institutional repository on a digital commons site since 2008, where it has continued to make traditional School of Law resources more visible and easier to find. Contents include faculty scholarship and law review journals, historical Georgia codes and digests, dean’s reports, student directories, press releases, and photographs.
Through a partnership with the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) in 2021 and 2022, OAI (Open Archives Initiative) harvesting has helped us increase the number of searchable full-text online items from 29 to 3,000, all of which are free.
Highlights include a newly digitized set of rare Georgia legal titles ranging in date from 1819 to 1917 (https://dlg.usg.edu/collection/ugalaw_historic-treat), now available to scholars from all disciplines, all made possible through a project grant from the Legal Information Preservation Alliance (https://www.lipalliance.org/).
For this small grant, the UGA Law Library focused on digitizing the oldest items first, many of which were in different stages of decay because of their age and the way they were bound. We also factored in the number of libraries that held the same titles (for one title, the UGA Law Library was the only holding institution in the country).
Each of these resources provides insights from attorneys and scholars as to how the law existed during that time.
Books cover a wide span of legal topics, including property, probate, tort, and family law. Some of them cover a wide range of legal topics and show examples of court documents and contracts that lawyers used at a certain time.
Researching the development and analysis of the law created by the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government gives scholars and students a perspective as to how our norms and culture have changed across time and how our society has changed based on the laws it has produced. By expanding online access to these and many other early Georgia legal materials, the UGA Law Library and the DLG make possible the ability to conduct comparative research of our state’s and society’s history in a way that has not been freely available in the past.
We encourage you to explore the collections by visiting https://dlg.usg.edu/institutions and selecting Alexander Campbell King Law Library. For more information about the library itself, go to https://www.law.uga.edu/library.
For more information about the UGA Law Library’s special collections and archives, contact Metadata Services and Special Collections Librarian Rachel Evans at email@example.com. For more information about the DLG and how your organization can partner to have your collections harvested and made more discoverable across the state, contact Nicole Lawrence, Assistant Director of the Digital Library of Georgia, at firstname.lastname@example.org.