On April 18, 2021, fire ripped through the historic South African library at the University of Cape Town, damaging and destroying irreplaceable historical material.  LLMC has been in contact with our fellow law librarians and members at the University, and they have reported that there surely is damage/loss to the legal collections too.  From pictures and videos of the inferno, our colleagues believe there is major damage or loss to their law gazette collection, and probably much more.

In response to the catastrophic damage that the University of Cape Town Library faces, LLMC has placed our digital version of the South African gazette (2 titles) into open access.  This will assist the entire University of Cape Town community, and others in the area who rely on the University for their legal research needs.  In order to see LLMC’s online version, point your browser to the LLMC homepage at http://www.llmc-digital.org. On the Research Zone to the right, click on the “Open Access” button.  Next, expand the button for South Africa, and you will have options to see the 1910-61 Government Gazette, and the 1961- Staatskoerant.  LLMC will keep these titles in Open Access until the University of Cape Town is able to better assess the damage and provide additional access to their legal publications.

Last year, LLMC partnered with LAWS.AFRICA and AfricanLII to collaborate on sharing images of important legal publications, primarily government gazettes from many countries on the African continent.  Collaboration and sharing images help all 3 of these non-profit organizations to avoid duplicate efforts, and to maximize resources in digitization of important legal works.

LLMC has always stepped forward when social justice atrocities happen in the world.  The first major contribution that LLMC Digital made was the Haiti Legal Patrimony Project, in response to the horrific earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010.  This Project created a digital library of Haitian legal and historical documents, all in the LLMC Digital database.  Images are also freely available to all Haitian citizens on the Digital Library of the Caribbean (DLOC), which were provided by LLMC.

More recently, LLMC has responded to the Black Lives Matter movement with the creation of the RIGHTS! portal.   This portal, open and free to all, collects thousands of homepages, websites, and documents, that provide information on human and civil rights for people around the world. Currently content is strong in U.S. and Canadian material; however, other countries and areas of the world will be added.  The RIGHTS! portal, in addition to the Indigenous Law Portal and aforementioned initiatives, reinforce LLMC’s commitment to supporting and protecting access to a breadth of legal and government content.  Feel free to contact us if you know of any electronic resource that should be added to the Rights! and/or Indigenous Law Portal.

If you would like further information about LLMC Digital, or any of our initiatives, please contact us at llmc@llmc-digital.org, or at (651) 217-8116.


Joseph Hinger