Karen's comments all make sense to me. I know that legal citation
practice is exceedingly important to those in the field and that migration
to a digital world is proving challenging. I know that the Congressional
Research Service (responsible for THOMAS and the comparable service aimed
at legislators) have talked about registering handles as actionable
identifiers for bills, but that wouldn't do anything for citations for
judicial decisions. And I'm not certain they've figured out how to deal
with the extremely complex version problems or whether to identify
sections within bills. Treating the entire string as an identifier makes
sense to me because you could do the same for all legal citations -- and
they are very like SICIs.
Caroline Arms [log in to unmask]
Office of Strategic Initiatives
Library of Congress
Views expressed are my own.
On Fri, 30 Jul 2004, Karen Coyle wrote:
> If this is all you've got:
> H.R. 24, 107th Congr. § 2 (Jan. 3, 2001)
> then you've not got much to go on in terms of bibliographic metadata.
> This is like having a journal citation that reads:
> JAMA, 57(11), pp. 73-84
> It would get you there, but there's nothing really "bibliographic" about
> it. The citation here is essentially an identifier, and if it was in
> addition to some bibliographic metadata it might be in an identifier
> field or even a uniform title (see below). The bill DOES have a title
> (in this case "Probation Officers' Protection Act of 2001" from the
> Thomas database), but if you don't have that it's like having a URL but
> no name of the document.
> In other words, I don't think that library cataloging or MODS will be
> terribly useful here, unless you have more info. As an aside, however,
> the Congressional bill database (http://thomas.loc.gov) treats "H.R. 24"
> as the "number" for the bill. In an earlier discussion the issue of
> legal documents as "genre" came up and I asked a law librarian but it
> turns out that there isn't much in library cataloging for laws and bills
> because that is handled elsewhere (i.e. Lexis/Nexis and Westlaw).
> Thinking outside of the box, I could see developing a uniform title for
> bills, not unlike the uniform titles for music. Music uniform titles are
> faceted titles with music type, list of instruments, key, etc. in a
> proscribed order. The record does also have an author and a more common
> title, so Beethoven's fifth ends up as:
> Author: Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770-1827.
> Uniform Title: [ Symphonies, no. 5, op. 67, C minor.]
> Title: Fünfte Symphonie c-moll opus 67 : Faksimile nach dem Autograph
> in der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preussischer Kulturbesitz
> But I don't know that such a thing exists today for legal materials, but
> it would make sense to me if it did.
> On Thu, 2004-07-29 at 08:57, Bruce D'Arcus wrote:
> > Am coming back to figuring out legal citations; in this case a bill.
> > The structure ought to be similar to an article, but I get stuck on the
> > details. From my legal citation guide, here's an example:
> > H.R. 24, 107th Congr. § 2 (Jan. 3, 2001)
> > 1) abbreviation for bill ("House Bill" in this case)
> > 2) Bill number
> > 3) Congress number
> > 4) what the manual calls "pinpoint reference" (e.g. a part detail; in
> > this case a section number)
> > 5) date
> > What I'm curious about is how to code 1-3? For example, on 1, here are
> > other examples (this just for U.S. federal bills):
> > House Resolution (H.R. Res.)
> > House Concurrent Resolution (H.R. Con. Res.)
> > House Joint Resolution (H.R. Jt. Res.)
> > Senate Bill (Sen.)
> > Senate Resolution (Sen. Res.)
> > Senate Concurrent Resolution (Sen. Con. Res.)
> > Senate Joint Resolution (Sen. Jt. Res.)
> > Are these each genres? Or would they be titles? Something else?
> > Suggestions appreciated.
> > Bruce
> Karen Coyle
> Digital Library Specialist
> Ph: 510-540-7596 Fax: 510-848-3913