At the recent International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden, access to information was reaffirmed as a basic human right.  Many countries now provide online access to legal information such as statutes, codes, regulations, court decisions, and international agreements.  The big question is whether the digital version of this information is official like the print version, and whether the digital version has been authenticated through a secure server or digital signature to ensure that the content has not been altered.  Another issue that has emerged is the fragility and obsolescence of the digital medium and the need for preservation and long-term access, particularly for born-digital legal information which has no paper equivalent.  Why does it matter?  In an environment where online sources are replacing official print versions of legal information, citizens need to be able to trust the “official word of the law.”  More information at http://www.ifla.org/files/hq/papers/ifla76/96-germain-en.pdf, and in French at http://ifla2010ulaval.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/seance-1-sur-les-bibliotheques-de-droit-et-les-publications-officielles-ou-gouvernementales/.

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