CommonLII has just announced that, thanks to Australian High Court Justice Michael Kirby, it is now making the English Reports from 1220-1873 available online. (Well, from 1457, really; the 1220 cases, of which there are a great many, are nonetheless outliers: the dates leap from 1220 straight to 1457. The data were provided by Justis.
The cases are in PDF and not searchable, so far as I can tell. OCR of that old type would be a nightmare anyway.
I have to say it is an impressive sight to look at the four centuries of links to this great historical resource now, thanks to Justice Kirby and the miracle of the internet, available to all, everywhere.
At the same time, CommonLII is announcing LawCite,
an international case citator and is the first product of a 3 year Australian Research Council funded project to research into automated systems for citation recognition.
I haven’t tested it — it’s in alpha — and it clearly deserves a test drive. If someone takes it for a spin, let us know how it fares.