Posts Tagged ‘session laws’

Delaware session laws digitized

August 2nd, 2011 No comments

del laws vol 1The state of Delaware has digitized its session laws and made them available on the Delaware Heritage Collection website. Titled “The Laws of Delaware,” these session laws contain all of the laws of Delaware from 1700 (vol. 1)  to 2000 (vol. 72).  The session laws are particularly useful for historical research and compiling legislative histories.

There are other sources of the Delaware session laws. More recent volumes of the Delaware session laws are available on the state of Delaware’s webpage.  Most of the Delaware session laws have also been scanned by Google Books. They are also on HeinOnline‘s Session Law Library, which is subscription only. But the Delaware Heritage Collection is the most complete and best of all, it’s free.

I’m very pleased to see that the volumes have been scanned but I do have a couple of suggestions for improvement. First, I find the Delaware Heritage Collection website rather unintuitive. It took me quite a while to figure out how to print/download more than one page at a time. How to do that is in the help section under “Viewing Compound Objects” (basically, you have to change the view drop down to “subset of print version” and then print) but that’s not the first place (or maybe even the tenth place) anyone would look for printing instructions. The second problem is finding individual laws in each volume. The Laws of Delaware are commonly cited by chapter number, not by page, and yet the navigation is by page number, which makes it difficult to find a particular law, even when you have a cite.

Finally, I hope the state of Delaware will publicize the Laws of Delaware collection and make it easier to find. I just happened to find it accidentally one day while browsing photos on the Delaware Public Archives website. There is no direct link to the Laws of Delaware collection from the Archives website and as far as I can tell, none from the state’s website either.