Paper 55

2018 Washington conference submission

Back to program.

Improving Access to Primary Sources of Law with IIIF

Mark Matney - University of California, Los Angeles (United States)

Abstract: Access to primary sources of law has been identified by advocates of open data as a fundamental right of citizens of a free society. Unfortunately, realizing that vision remains a largely unmet goal. Some remaining barriers include: bureaucracy that regulates access with paid subscription models; the inability of holding institutions to digitize collections due to time or resource constraints; and file formats that prevent efficient machine processing. Recent efforts by universities, the Library of Congress, and the federal and state governments have improved the situation somewhat by building digital collections of these materials with raw images and their transcriptions. While this is a step in the right direction, the resulting user experience (UX) often leaves much to be desired. IIIF can enable complex navigation operations within and across legal works by allowing the representation of cross-reference links and hierarchical index structures. By applying citation detection and other processing techniques to transcriptions of these materials, I aim to explore ways in which IIIF viewers could provide a UX more conducive to the viewing and study of legal works than the viewers presently in use.

Presentation type: 20 minute presentations (plus 5 mins questions)


  • IIIF content communities (museums, manuscripts, newspapers, archival content, etc.),
  • Emerging use cases for IIIF technical specifications,
  • IIIF-compatible software and experimentation


  • law,
  • legal,
  • open data,
  • open government,
  • IIIF viewers,
  • user experience,
  • UX