Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Top of Babel

All this time I thought Congress spent their time sneaking from session to session, meeting to meeting. I figured Capitol Hill was the evil semi-secret laboratory of politicians. It may still be ground zero for bureaucratic policy making, and everything they do may not be especially well advertised, but there is a GIGANTIC catalog of what they do on a day to day basis. During my library tour today I took a good look at the printed Congressional Records. If they're hiding anything it's in plain sight. Does the phrase, "needle in a haystack," mean anything to you?

It also occurred to me today how utterly destroyed the US would be should anything ever happen to the Internet. The fastest reference for law is the Internet. I wonder what would happen to even the best lawyers if the Internet was suddenly no more. When lawyer A has a question about topic X, lawyer A can get online and look up just about anything on topic X in a matter of minutes. To find out the history of a topic, other decisions made on the topic, the existing statutes and regulations on a topic, and general commentary on the topic without the Internet would take a painstaking amount of time even if you knew exactly where to look for every topic (which I'm relatively certain that you wouldn't unless you were Kyle XY). The availability of information provided by the Internet has an astronomical effect on the study and practice of law. I would have guessed this before, but today when I was standing in the stacks surrounded by thousands of books containing nothing but law, it hit me just how big of a deal the Internet really is.

I will probably avoid the library. It scares me to think of needing to use those books. I hypothesize that Lady Justice went blind by reading all of those books (probably by candelight). I will use a search filter instead.

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