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Enhancements to Cornell LII’s United States Code Now Available

Thomas R. Bruce – Director, Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School, writing on Technoids:

  • “First and newest: vastly improved views of US Code updates at all levels. Clicking the “updates” link at the right at any level of the Code gives you all of the classification-table updates for that chunk of the Code since the last revision date for that Title. We now parse, store, and organize the classification-table data locally, so it’s speedy and up to date. We realize that in some cases there will be a very more recent changes than are reflected in the classification tables, but for the most part we think this is a good compromise between complexity and accuracy. We check for new updates to the classification tables daily. We think you’ll like the presentation and the convenience.
  • For a long time now, people have asked for the ability to print multiple sections of the Code at once. We now make available PDFs at the first layer of aggregation above the section (usually but not always called a chapter) for free, and larger aggregations at what I’d call “i-Tunes pricing”. This is not yet implemented for all Titles, and not for all “supersections” within some Titles.
  • For the most part the printed versions look good. There are always going to be problems — for example, the Code contains numerous instances of chemical formulae that have been rendered in funny ways in the typesetting data we get and are virtually impossible to do anything useful with yet. As a matter of geek-interest, I’ll add that this has not been an easy project. We transform the typesetting data into XML, and then use XSLT to make the hypertext version (which we’ve done for years) and an XSL-FO version for rendering in PDF. This latter technology is not precisely mature; IIRC we spent (eg.) close to a year waiting for the table-rendering features to render tables.

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