Document Type



This article was published in Cornell Law Forum, Vol. 26 No. 1, July 1999, 11-14


In the United States today, digital versions of current decisions, bills, statutes, and regulations issued by federal and state entities are widely available on publicly accessible Internet Web sites. Worldwide, official legal information issued by international organizations and foreign governments is also becoming available on the Web. However, there are currently no standards for the production and authentication of digital documents. Moreover, the information is sometimes available only for a short time and then disappears from the site. Most of that digital information provides only a right of access, and no ownership, or control over the data, unless it is downloaded on a server, or stored on a CD. The long-term access to digital legal information is a matter of concern. What is at stake is the transmission of official documents, "the word of the law," to future generations.

Date of Authorship for this Version

May 1999