Maryland State Law Library, Digital Collections
Robert C. Murphy Courts of Appeal Bldg.
361 Rowe Blvd.
Annapolis, MD 21401
Contact: Katherine Baer
The Maryland State Law Library provides legal information to the State’s appellate courts and other branches of State government and serves as a resource center for Circuit Court libraries throughout the State. We are open to the public, and we encourage the use of the Library’s many resources, including laws, general reference materials, state and federal government documents, and state and local histories
Two collections comprise the initial phase of the in-house digitization program. First, the Library selected Maryland Rules Committee Meeting Minutes & Agendas for scanning because they are an essential source of background information on the development of the state’s court rules. Researchers now can search the full-text of more than 60 years of meeting materials to find mention of the adoption of specific rules. Second, the Library added previously scanned copies of the Proceedings of the Maryland Judicial Conference. These reports, dating from 1947 to 1997, provide historical information on the work of the Judiciary.
The Library’s future plans include the scanning of selected Maryland Task Force Reports. These reports are often helpful sources of information used to determine legislative intent. The Library will be examining this collection to identify which reports should be scanned first in order to make available the most relevant and useful ones.
The Chesapeake Project contains government, policy, and legal information archived by the Georgetown Law Library, the Maryland State Law Library, and the Virginia State Law Library, including:
• Reports and studies relating to U.S. government and policy
• Materials relating to public policy and legal issues in the state of Maryland
• Publications issued by Virginia’s judicial branch of government
• Materials by and about the District of Columbia
The Chesapeake Project was implemented as a two-year pilot project in early 2007 by the Georgetown Law Library and the State Law Libraries of Maryland and Virginia. Today, these three libraries have expanded the archive beyond the pilot phase. Law libraries nationwide are encouraged to join this collaborative digital archive, or establish their own preservation projects, under the auspices of the Legal Information Preservation Alliance.
Other Collections of Note
Perhaps the Library’s most prized possession is its collection of John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” prints. These hand-colored lithographs printed in the 1830’s by Robert Havell from the engravings of Audubon’s drawings are artistically and historically significant – Audubon’s detailed portraits of North American birds represented the first time that drawings of birds were portrayed in their natural environment. The Library’s 430 individual prints, representing nearly the complete set of 435 total prints, recently underwent a comprehensive two-year restoration process through the professional services of the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia. Thus, these rare pieces—only 120 sets are in existence today – have the finest appearance possible. In a custom-built display case in the Library’s main reference area one or two individual prints on a rotating basis. Interested visitors may call to arrange an appointment to inspect other prints not currently on public display.