Law Library of Congress digitally releases U.S. Reports from 1791 to 2004

The Law Library of Congress today released digital copies of the printed bound volumes of the United States Reports from 1791 to 2004, making more than 35,000 Supreme Court cases available for the first time online as page images in a searchable format.

Digital copies of many of these opinions are already available online in some fashion. What distinguishes the Law Library’s release is that its opinions are exclusively “digital surrogates” of the U.S. Reports, according to Janice Hyde, the assistant law librarian for collections at the Law Library.

It’s important to have a “true representation of the original source document,” Hyde explains, because only the printed bound volumes of the U.S. Reports contain the final, official opinions of the court.

Through a crowdsourcing effort, about 50 law and library students contributed to this project by adding metadata to the cases. Metadata make the collection searchable for key words and topics.

The collection is online at https://www.loc.gov/collections/united-states-reports/>.

The Supreme Court’s website does provide scans of whole volumes of the U.S. Reports for the 1991 through 2011 terms. The court also provides copies of “slip” opinions in individual cases from the 2012 term through the present.

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