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8B731795-A600-44F7-A744-9B7A501EDE5B.jpgInteroperability — it’s a big topic, and an important one in the evolving legal infosphere. I’ll try to make it a little more manageable by breaking it up into a series of posts that will appear over the next several weeks.

In general , the idea is that collections of online legal information should work together (and with the audience, and with other legal-information authors and providers) in a way that makes it easier to develop and use information services. Services that span collections offered by different providers, such as cross-site search and current-awareness services, are especially attractive. Interoperability is created at several levels of technical implementation, but the underlying ideas are simple: similar repositories should be transparent in the way they expose their information to the rest of the world, and if possible, they should do so in reliable, standardized ways that span a community of interest. Sometimes this involves standard-setting within the community; often, though, it’s just a series of small, sensible design decisions.

Here at the LII, our first stab at interoperability was the use of “head-compatible” URLs — the idea that a document’s address should be easily guessable by a would-be linker or author. For example, the Wild Horse Annie Act, 18 USC 47, becomes http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/47.html . Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 US 306, becomes http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct-cgi/get-us-cite?539+306 (though these days we’d probably change that “supct” to “scotus” just to be like everybody else). The idea is to make it easy for other people to link to your stuff, whether they are authoring manually or building something by automated means. Simple enough.

Interoperability is built on a series of seemingly-trivial decisions like that, decisions that favor common sense, transparency, and ease of use for those who want to build other things on top of information you’re providing. Good practice also involves a commitment to transparency and maintenance over time. We’ve changed the way we handle New York Court of Appeals decisions at least three times since 1996, when we first offered them. All our old systems of document addressing still work as well as they ever did (take a look at the two links to Wild Horse Annie in the last paragraph) . The same is true of all of our old “captive-search” URLs as well (for example, the one that will return Supreme Court decisions on employment discrimination). There, interoperability rests on a 50-line Apache server module that translates old search-engine search strings into whatever we are using now. It replaces hundreds of lines of mod_rewrite code piled up over five generations of LII search engines.

Interestingly, years of debate over “persistent document identifiers” — pURLs, DOIs, and all that stuff — have finally resulted in some recognition that the problem is not one of creating complicated, all-embracing alternative schemes for the naming of information resources. Rather, it’s a matter of consistent, transparent practices by people who run web sites. And there’s a lesson in that — no matter what technical schemes and formal standards are used to create interoperability, it ultimately rests on non-technical practices and concern for quality.

So interoperability — even the simplest kind — takes thinking and a fair bit of work. Even so, you’d think that the First Commandment of Legal Information Interoperability — “Thou shalt make thy URIs harmonious with well-known document identifiers like citations” — would be honored more often than it is. Good luck with that.

You can’t find opinions on the sites of the Circuit Courts of Appeal that way, for instance, nor can you link directly to sections of the Code of Federal Regulations in the new(ish) e-CFR collection at NARA. The reasons in each case are instructive. The Circuit Courts don’t do it at least in part because print citation information — unfortunately still the best-known (and usually the only) set of addresses for these documents — isn’t available at the time the decisions are put online. It’s not clear why they don’t return to the decision and add the print citations when they become available; probably it’s a matter of time and expense in courts that issue thousands of opinions every year. Vendor-neutral citation — which numbers according to the order in which decisions are issued rather than using page numbers from a bound volume — would do better, but very few courts use it in a way that is reflected in their URLs (the court system in Ohio is a notable exception). In NARA’s case, the reason given is that there is just too much churn in the numbering of sections to allow reliance on section-level URLs (we note that the GPO has no such misgivings, but then they are flighty types, and not archivists at all). You’ll see these same problems — accidental fallout from reliance on printed books, and a concern for stability at the expense of practicality — oddly spattered across the legal-information landscape. It’s a weird product of time and place. If reporters of decisions, and others who publish legal information, brought the same meticulous and conscientious pursuit of standards and interoperability to cyberspace that they have to print, we wouldn’t be talking about interoperability at all. We’d have it. But those folks are, for the most part, not yet as comfortable in the electronic world as they are in the world of print. I’ll say more about why that is in a minute.

But I’ve skipped over a couple of points on my way here, and they’re crucially important:

First, why would technical discussions about citation and URIs pass anybody’s who-cares test? Simply: document addresses always matter in retrieval systems, as does the granularity of the documents they address. Importantly, this is one place among many where legal-information systems have a very different character from other kinds of text databases, especially in common-law jurisdictions. Document addresses matter because it is crucially important that everyone look at the same authoritative information when resolving a dispute (that means “same” as in “same text”, not as in “same web site” — it is no more necessary to put all electronic legal text in a single repository than it is to put all the world’s books in a single building). So we need a common way of referring to things.

Second, why do we need any kind of interoperability between collections at all? Wouldn’t it be easier — and more authoritative — to just put everything in one place and give people access to it? Old-timers on the legal information scene will recognize this as the “why don’t we build a public-domain Westlaw?” question. That question has been asked many times, always in the interval before a newly-arrived group of legal-information enthusiasts discovers the dimensions of what it has taken on. It is a particularly thorny issue, and I’ve walked up to it before:

End users have been conditioned by training, experience, and careful marketing campaigns to value particular aspects of familiar systems like LEXIS and WESTLAW. Those systems are strongly branded, and have a deservedly high reputation among those who have been able to use them. It is not at all surprising (though it is at times dismaying) that experienced users find it difficult to recognize those same virtues when they are produced by new and unfamiliar implementations. At the core of this phenomenon is a bias induced by thirty years’ experience with older computer systems and older modes of industrial organization: centrality equals reliability. The Internet approach stands in sharp contrast as it argues the contrary: decentralization equals reliability, attainability, and scalability. On some profound but subliminal level this is news that shocks and bewilders. New, distributed models of computing that are reflected in distributed information systems and distributed models of business organization must seem inherently anarchic and therefore inherently suspect, no matter their virtues. That suspicion will subside in time, to a degree. But it will never vanish entirely until we become more discerning than we are about what was necessary about older ways of doing things and what was merely incidental.

I don’t want to re-fight that battle, particularly in something that is meant to be a quick run through the issues. But quickly: distributed systems provided by diverse actors allow for audience-oriented customization, encourage greater innovation, lower barriers for new entrants into the market, encourage greater care and authority (as when the publisher is also the law creator), conform better to our existing systems of organization for courts and legislatures, and can scale much larger over a more diverse collection of actors. In an environment as jurisdictionally and administratively complex as the United States, a distributed model may well be the only approach that works. Other, smaller jurisdictions provide counterexamples, notably Canada and Australia. Even there, there is no attempt for the systems to take in all the legal information that might be produced by agencies, municipal government, local commissions, and so on. There will always be a need for federation. That need becomes all the greater as multiple niche providers of legal information emerge to serve a diverse variety of audiences. We are on the brink of such a system, if we are not there already.

The price of such a federated, distributed system is the development of standards. In a system where there are only a few, supposedly comprehensive legal publishers, standards are whatever that publisher says they are. That is the system we had in the US until relatively recently, and it is one that commercial publishers fight very hard to maintain. Interestingly, it is also a system that has a deeply symbiotic relationship with the source publishers of legal information (reporters of decisions) I was talking about a moment ago.

41B043D0-D414-442D-BE1C-96CAADB18FEF.jpgThat profession, whose leading light once referred to his staff as “double revolving peripatetic nit-picker[s]“, is accustomed to looking for nits that might accidentally find their way onto the pages of the bound, authoritative volumes produced by an official publisher. This was not neglect on their part; it was what professional practice demanded at the time, and still demands today. But the world of published legal information is a much bigger, more digital place now, and they are adapting to it, but slowly. The websites of many courts and legislatures are not crafted with the same attention to detail as their printed output. A new understanding of best practices is needed — one that brings to the electronic realm the same meticulous concern with consistent metadata, citation, and organization that reporters of decisions have always brought to print. These are emerging, but slowly. And there are many costs associated with a lack of workable standards, though they may only be immediately apparent to those who try to build resources that span multiple court web sites without themselves housing the information.

Citation and, more generally, systems of legal document identifiers are just one example of legal metadata we should make transparent and interoperable. It is probably the most urgent case. Next time, I’ll move on to how broader interoperability might be done. Interestingly, many of the problems have already been solved.

E9150F1B-84C3-4CFC-B1B6-720AFED73FB0.jpgLet’s start with some talk about the audience for legal information. Such conversations are rare. Usually people in the open-access-to-law world jump right in at the high end of why. We make big statements about freeing the law, or protecting rights, or keeping government accountable. These are all very important things, but they are also a little abstract, disengaged, lacking in detail. Here I want to think about what people are really doing with law they find online. Compared with ringing statements made at ribbon cuttings and in press releases, this is pretty dull stuff.

Let’s start, too, with the inevitable disclaimers: I can only talk about what I can see. My vantage point is that of a provider of limited (but important) collections of American caselaw and statutes, and a certain amount of commentary in the form of Wikipedia-like articles on legal topics or analyses of current cases. Someone doing the same kind of work with, say, the recently-constructed and published laws of a developing country would see things very differently. Someone doing it under a different legal system, or in a place with less jurisdictional complexity or with a different economy would too. And like everybody else who tries to analyze Web behavior, I’m peering through a keyhole that’s covered with gauze. I’ll stipulate the limitations of Web statistics; they’re very poor absolute measures of anything (though they have a lot of relative value). At the LII we learn more from mailing lists and feedback from readers, and a lot from links to the site. Most our examination of our audience has been done to satisfy short-term goals, provide statistics for reports, or satisfy momentary curiosity. There is, by the way, a desperate need for systematic study of what’s going on on our site (and any interested social scientist can take this as an invitation to get in touch with us). What you’re about to read is a synthesis of scattered observations and anecdote that involves limited samples. But we have to start somewhere.

That said, let me make five observations about the audience for legal information:

The audience for legal information is not bipolar.

People — and by “people” I mean “lawyers” — generally believe that there are two consumers of legal information. The first is a “law person” — a judge, lawyer, academic, or student — who makes sophisticated professional use of caselaw, statutes, regulations, treatises. The other is the “man in the street”, someone who is having an episodic, traumatic encounter with the legal system: getting crushed by debt, getting divorced, getting arrested. This leads to a misconception: the idea that both the literature and the audience for it are sharply bifurcated. On the one hand, there is “legal information”, a specialist literature that the man in the street doesn’t want and couldn’t understand in any case. On the other, there is what I suppose one might call “advice to the law-lorn”, simply-written, presented in bite-size chunks via newspaper or television, and providing orientation for those participating in one of the episodes mentioned earlier, or perhaps trying to solve a consumer-protection problem.EF77255D-D887-4E9A-9562-5AB232F63019.jpg

A thoughtful look at the Americans with Disabilities Act shows that this just ain’t so. It’s written understandably — so much so that it can be understood by the bowling-alley operators, municipal building inspectors, and architects that it affects. Yes, there is caselaw interpreting it. But the language is easy enough to understand if you are a person who is trying to figure out what it most likely requires of you. And, no question about it, this law is of interest to a lot more people than lawyers, and for professional rather than personal reasons. It’s also an economic engine: think of all the carpenters and builders who have retrofitted ramps and lifts to existing structures. There are a lot of people out there who make use of this one law in their professional lives, and there are a lot of laws like this one. There are, for example, over 80,000 dry-cleaning businesses in the United States, most of them family-owned, and over 120 Federal regulations that pertain to the use of a single dry-cleaning chemical. And there are the usual almost-lawyer suspects: tax accountants, police officers, government officials. It’s a spectrum, lawyers at one end and “men in the street” at the other, with a vast majority within spitting distance of the middle: people who make relatively continual professional use of law but are not legal professionals.

Probably this was always the case, even before the Internet put the spotlight on it. Nolo Press has always catered to the small-business segment of this crowd, and a lot of trade papers have occasional columns that treat legal subjects for the benefit of whatever the trade might be. Tax-law aids and publications abound — there’s nothing surer. Federal agencies write field manuals and put up web sites that summarize relevant law for their officials and for the public. But as with a lot of other things, the Internet concentrates diffuse interest into prominence. It’s still foggy; the edges are indistinct and the contours shift a lot. But that audience of non-lawyer professionals is definitely there, and it’s important. Sure, other audiences are there: our secondary materials reflect their presence. Materials on bankruptcy, civil rights, and divorce are among the most-used resources in our WEX legal encyclopedia — but, interestingly, contracts and civil procedure come very close to divorce in popularity. And, by contrast, one of the highest time-on-page rankings goes to a Spanish translation of our page on partnership law.

The Internet audience for law is less interested in caselaw than it is in regulations and statutes

overview.jpgLawyers — and legal academics even more so — see the world through the lens of caselaw. The rest of the world starts with regulations. I once asked a group of law students to re-imagine the bromide “Ignorance of the law is no excuse”. I asked them to tell me who the ignorant person might be and what they might be ignorant about. Fourteen of fifteen imagined, generally, someone representing themselves in court on a felony charge. I’ll say more about pro se in a minute, but it’s the lone dissenter I’m interested in right now. He was a German lawyer, here to study American law, who listened very politely to all the other students and then announced that, to the contrary, it was probably somebody having a problem with a regulation.

He was right. The Internet audience cares vastly more about what it sees as the rulebook, and is not for the most part playing for stakes that justify deep research into interpretation. You can dismiss that approach as naive — if you believe that everyone who wants to learn about a rule is likely to be an exception to it, or that all rules are ambiguous to the point where relying on their text is dangerous. But in fact the rules are, much of the time, not so vague, and the Internet audience is assessing risk and reckonability. So, much of the time it concentrates first on regulations, and then on statutes, and only then on caselaw. And even when it comes to caselaw they are more likely interested in what has been said than in how it was said. Only about 15% of those who read Supreme Court opinions on our site read the majority opinion after reading the summary (syllabus) prepared by the clerk.

These notions are reflected in interesting ways in our statistics and in our link census. If you count users of the LII’s US Code by country, the ordering roughly parallels trade volume with the US (for a variety of complicated reasons it is not an exact match). Usage tends to track business hours, indicating professional use. The highest page-per-visit counts come from businesses. A look at our link census similarly reflects non-lawyer professional usage, particularly of statutes.

And by any account statutes and regulations are important. Transparency of trade law is very important to developing economies; the international investment community wants to know that there are rules, and what they are. And, as the World Bank “Doing Business” reports (particularly the 2004 edition) repeatedly recognize, street-level regulatory burdens have huge effects. The 20 worst economies in the world are the ones where it is hard to form and dissolve a business, to hire and fire, and to enforce commercial contracts. By contrast, the vast majority of judicial opinions affect only the parties. The question of why we have traditionally placed so much emphasis on access to caselaw will be explored in a future post.

The Internet audience is not trying to replace lawyers, or harm itself.

banana.jpgAs long ago as 1628, Sir Edward Coke suggested that legal materials should not be published in English “lest the unlearned by bare reading without right understanding might suck out errors, and trusting in their conceit, might endamage themselves, and sometimes fall into destruction.” Worries about sucking, endamaging, and destruction persist to this day, though the conceit is arguably heavily concentrated on the other side of the issue. There are echoes of this in the Michael Kirby speech I quoted last week, and outright ranting in a recent comment responding to a listing of free-to-air law sources in a blog run by the Wall Street Journal:

Citizens do not need access to this kind of information. This is as bad as the WSJ publishing data on hospital/doctor errors and malpractice rates!! It is irresponsible for the WSJ to publish information about these sites!! Please remove this article.

I shudder to imagine what sort of government this guy would want, but let’s stay with this idea of reckonability. The streets are not littered with the corpses of those who have self-prescribed after reading WebMD, and I very much doubt that courtrooms and jails will be flooded with pro se plaintiffs and defendants (the effect of abusing WebMD, though, may be happily Darwinian rather than drearily Dickensian). Here’s the thing — probably THE thing, in fact: people who are using the Web to look up law are doing so in the interest of making the legal system more predictable. They are trying to get a general idea of what to do. Just as people do when they seek medical information, they are reality-checking the advice of professionals, or perhaps the advice of friends, and they are trying to foresee and prevent the harmful interaction of prescriptions made by the gaggle of specialized advisors that surrounds each of us these days. They are not seeking to replace lawyers, though they may be trying to understand them, and make sure of their advice.

Richard Susskind has remarked the existence of a “latent legal market” that is unfulfilled because the legal system is a forbidding realm whose gates are built and guarded by the inhabitants themselves. In some ways this mirrors longstanding notions about “preventive law” as an idea that could be as lucrative for lawyers as preventive dentistry has been for dentists. If you accept Susskind’s idea, and I do, the availability of legal information should have the opposite effect: we will see more, rather than less, routine use of professional legal services as people come to accept and understand the need for them.

The Internet audience is not doing legal research as lawyers understand it

Which brings us to the next point. Dan Dabney, the creator of West’s KeyCite feature, makes a perceptive observation about legal research. A somewhat compulsive person wanting to know, say, the specific heat of tungsten might go to two or three web sites (an ordinary person would go to a single website that looked authoritative, but let’s make allowances for any scholars who might be reading this). Once they have discovered a few sources that agree, they assume the answer is good enough. Lawyers doing legal research, by contrast, visit every source they can possibly imagine in the hope of finding one that will support their argument. Or at least they do if they can afford it. John B. West himself set the stage for this idea in 1889, when he responded to complaints about the over-inclusiveness of the West reporters by saying:

It is one of the greatest merits of the National Reporter System that it gives all the cases. Some of our critics call it a ‘Blanket System,’ and we are disposed to accept the analogy. No policy of insurance is so satisfactory as the blanket policy; and that is the sort of policy we issue for the lawyer seeking insurance against the loss of his case through ignorance of the law set forth in the decisions of the highest courts. [23 Am. L. Rev. 396, 406-407 (1889)]

Comprehensive research is necessary to lawyers working in an adversarial system on behalf of clients who can pay for their time. Those interested in simple reckonability — who are doing research as a form of risk management, or trying to understand those who are working on their behalf — do not need so much. Nor do they seek information in the same way as lawyers do. 4ACC86FD-A619-4AEB-A08A-B218456DCFC6.jpg

Or do they? One study of lawyer information-seeking behavior — there are surprisingly few — notes an idea-forming stage during which lawyers prefer to deal with a limited number of sources until they know for certain where their argument is headed. That is what legal-research teachers call framing the question or formulating a research strategy, and in some ways it is not so different from what interested laypeople do. Both groups are trying, as efficiently as possible, to compose a mental map that will cover the surrounding terrain. The lawyer goes on to sketch a directed path to a known destination; the layperson contents himself with general knowledge of which pathways are possible and perhaps which landmarks and obstacles one might encounter along the way. Either or both might then rely on a more specialized guide — a specialist — to reach their specific destination. The layperson neither requires nor expects a step-by-step mapping in detail, or too much discussion of transportation choices, portages, and byways.

The overall point is that ultimate comprehensiveness of sources may not be as desirable as we are disposed to think. The lay audience for public information is doing a different kind of research.

The Internet audience uses law they find in unexpected ways

A final interesting but perhaps less important point. Legal research is not the only use of the legal infosphere, nor is the use of hyperlinks limited to crossreferencing or navigation. We’ve observed a tendency to use them to make assertions about legal relationships. So, for example, a popular fan site for the “Lord of the Rings” carries over 25,000 links to Title 17, the law of copyright — presumably as a declaration that the numerous photos and other movie material found there comes under the heading of fair use. Similarly, we get a lot of links from porn sites to the child-porn statute — an assertion about what the site operators are not doing. 18 USC 704, which deals with the appropriate use and reproduction of military medals, is used by Wikipedia and others to show that what they are doing is within the law. This is an interesting trend, and like many others mentioned here, needs further study. It’s also one of the oldest Web capabilities; we haven’t even started to talk about social tagging, or wikis, or other novel ways of presenting and interacting with legal text.

Finally

I’m written out, for now. What does all this add up to? One answer is “not much, yet”. To really understand the meaning of what the audience is up to, we need to look at those activities and practices by comparison with what we do when we build collections that ostensibly meet those needs. That will be the subject of the next post.

2DE5DE90-A87A-4B67-9847-4925F559C555.jpgAs a philosophical mascot, Jeremy Bentham makes trouble the way a real mascot does: he strays onto nearby lawns and does things you’d rather not watch. After all, this is the guy who designed a perfect surveillance regime long before Facebook, Google, or Flickr, and who had himself stuffed, mounted, and put in a display case [[note to self: use in future post on legal education]].

And Bentham could sure put the tort in tortured prose:

Proportioned to the extent of [[the field of evidence]] will be the number of persons, to whom, in the character of readers, independently of any such misfortune as that of feeling themselves stretched on the rack in the character of litigants, it may happen to find in the work, matter on some account or other not altogether devoid of interest: and in proportion as this supposition comes to be realized, a justification will be afforded to the words, by which, in the title-page, non-lawyers are spoken of as persons to whose use, as well as that of lawyers, it may be found applicable.

Uh huh huh. What an insanely laborious way to say “the idea of evidence is found in lots of places and lots of people will be interested in it, whether or not they’re involved in a lawsuit”. The passage is taken from Bentham’s Introductory View of the Rationale of Evidence, for the Use of Non-Lawyers as Well as Lawyers (we have our own take on it here at the LII).

Bentham’s cause – the idea of universal intellectual access to law — was nothing new. Coke played around with it more than a century earlier, and he was by no means the first. In fact it’s the penumbra of Coke’s well-known passage about ignorance of the law being no excuse, which can be read in context as a pitch for law in the vernacular. But it was Bentham who took the idea of public understanding to the limit:

He was no lover of the common law, which Blackstone put on a pedestal. On the contrary, he described the common law as a place of “dark Chaos”. He advocated substitution of the codification of law and its enactment in statutes passed by an elected Parliament which would take the place of the step by step accretion of common law principle, performed by analogous reasoning by judges of infinite variety. For him, codes and statutory principles would “mark out the line of the subject’s conduct by visible directions instead of turning [the subject] loose into the wilds of perpetual conjecture”. He had great powers of invective, often directed against ‘Judge and Co’ (ie the Bench and the Bar), whom he saw as a ‘sinister interest’ profiting from the operation at great cost to the public of an unnecessarily complex and chaotic legal system in which it was often impossible for a litigant to discover in advance his legal rights.

Those words are a paraphrase of HLA Hart, taken from an address given by Australian High Court Justice Michael Kirby at the Law via the Internet ’99 conference (the author gave the second-banana keynote speech). Kirby’s talk still rings true now, painfully close to a decade later:

Providing undigested legal material is not enough. It is essential that we provide citizens with the tools of thinking through problems, finding the applicable legal rules and deriving from legislation and case law any principle that must be obeyed….Throwing onto the plate of people, with fundamental misapprehensions about their legal institutions, a huge mass of undigested legal data will not truly make the law free and more accessible. It is the duty of schools and universities to help the next generation, including the overwhelming majority who are not lawyers, to appreciate the way in which law is written, may be found and is applied – at least in those matters which are of greatest concern to the ordinary person. Otherwise, Bentham and his followers will have been outfoxed once again by Judge & Co.

In the years since Kirby’s speech, we’ve seen enormous progress in making law available. Courts, legislatures, and agencies have all provided online warehouses full of their work product (and indeed the e-Government Act of 2002 requires Federal courts to do so). More recently, interest from open-access advocates among the technorati has resulted in admirable projects like public.resource.org, AltLaw, and an important and exciting venture in cross-subsidy for open access, Justia . They join an effort that started here at Cornell in 1992, one that has sparked more than 18 LIIs around the world. They now work with each other and with legal-information creators to provide open access to law. In parallel with these data-publishing efforts, there are technically innovative projects that take new approaches to search, that attempt to discover the structures within legal information, and that focus on the integration of legal information resources in ways required by new economic and political unions. But I would define making law accessible as something far more complicated than simply making it available and, frankly, it is a lot more expensive. It requires the availability that those projects imply, and the interoperability that some in other fields have thought about – and as Justice Kirby said, it also requires substantial amounts of explanation, commentary, and public education. These are things that a public legal information provider associated with a graduate law school in a great research university can do, perhaps uniquely well.

And, for the next few months at least, those issues of access, interoperability, and accessibility will be the focus of this blog – appropriately launched on Bentham’s 260th birthday. I’d like to explore some ideas about the Internet audience for law, and about how we can pull individual repositories together in ways that will better serve that audience. I’d like to say a little about what it takes to provide real explanations around raw legal information, and how we might think about making both information and explanation more discoverable. Some of it will be chatty, some theoretical, and some ridiculously technical in ways that suffer from the mutually reinforcing geek-pathologies of information scientists, legal bibliographers, reporters of decisions, and other people who worry about this stuff far too much. I won’t promise a regular schedule – my job here at the LII is a little too complicated for that – but I’m hoping for a fairly substantial post every other week.

In the meantime, happy 260th, Jerry. We’re still trying, and this time I think a couple of Judges & some of the Co. are along for the ride.

Best,
Tb.

PS: I’ve got a door prize for whoever concocts the best name for this damned blog. Suggestions will overwhelm the comments, so don’t post them here – send them to me directly at tom.bruce(you-know-what)cornell.edu. Winner to be announced March 14.