Legal materials such as case reporters and case digests can be quite expensive and burdensome for libraries to acquire, due to little use for such materials. Online legal sources such as Westlaw and LexisNexis are rarely an option for these libraries because of their tremendous costs. However, most libraries face legal-related questions from patrons, and librarians lack easily accessible materials to provide the patron an answer.
The staff at Mississippi College School of Law Library decided to do something about this problem by creating a program to provide complete access to the appellate courts of the state of Mississippi freely available online to legal practitioners as well as the general public. The end result was the launch of the Mississippi College School of Law Judicial Data Project (“JDP”) in 2010. Located at http://judicial.mc.edu, the JDP includes court opinions, appellate briefs related to the opinions, video of oral arguments, and case summaries of all cases that have been handed down by either the Mississippi Supreme Court or the Mississippi Court of Appeals within a certain time frame. Admittedly, the JDP is not as grand in scope as some other online sources; however, we at the Mississippi College School of Law Library are excited about this project and its ability to put the necessary components of the appellate judicial process in the state of Mississippi at the people’s fingertips. It is our hope that this article might inspire others in the library community to consider establishing a similar product in states across the region.