– database as personal ebook publishing generic book cover

We recently did a soft launch of

The Free Law Reporter™ (FLR) is an experiment that builds onCarl Malamud’s Report of Current Opinions (RECOP).(more info about RECOP fromJustia,Robert Ambrogi and Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase). The RECOP bulk feed can be found at

The goal of FLR is to develop a freely available, unencumbered law reporter that is capable of serving as a resource for education, research, and practice. The first step is to use FLR to provide greater access through enhanced and alternate formats of the weekly feeds coming from RECOP.

One of the features of is that you can do a search for cases and then download all of the results as an epub file.  There is a long tradition of “books as databases” … white pages, almanacs, catalogs, etc. and we wanted to explore the idea of the ebook as a portable and perhaps easier to search/read mini-database.  We don’t have the resources to do a full-blown Ipad/Iphone app, but by supplying content from the database of cases, we can deliver to these platforms via the Kindle app, Ibooks and other ereader apps.

The feature mountain we are now climbing is how to create better searches that can be turned into better ebooks.  Some possibilities we are exploring…

  • all cases decided by a particular judge – think of lawyers who are preparing to go before such judge
  • all cases that reference a complex search term – think current awareness as ebook instead of as RSS stream.  The Kindle/Ipad can be a better reading experience than Google Reader, though Flipbook has me excited.

Controlling the epub from the database – or better yet – letting the user control it – opens up our possibilities of publishing to new vistas.  That’s the point, I guess.   More on this later.

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