As Slaw approaches its fourth birthday, we thought it might be fun to challenge the research skills of our readers, contributors and lawyers and librarians around the world. Ten days ago, Simon F told us about the World Digital Library.
Paris, Washington D.C.—The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and 32 partner institutions today launched the World Digital Library, a website that features unique cultural materials from libraries and archives from around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, films, sound recordings, prints and photographs.
Where it becomes interesting is when one examines the list of items that UNESCO has chosen as being the most important or significant legal materials from around the world. They picked these 13 items (in order):
1. A Summary Explanation of the Pronouncements of the Scholars and Theologians (1699?) (Mamma Haidara Library, Timbuktu)
2. Maghili’s Tract on Politics (1504?) (Mamma Haidara Library, Timbuktu)
3. Mandate for Nauru (1921) (Library of Congress and HMSO)
4. Constitution of the Republic of Togo, May 3, 1963 (1963) (Library of Congress)
5. Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda (1962) (Library of Congress)
6. The Shares According to Siraj (published 1886) (Library of Congress)
7. The Constitution of India (1950) (Library of Congress and Dehra Dun)
8. Bill of Rights (1789) (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington)
9. Engrossed Declaration of Independence (1776) (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington)
10. Constitution of the United States (1787) (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington)
11. Affidavit of Loui Young Stating that He is the Father of Louie Jock Sung, and Deposition of Non Chinese Witnesses (Documents Were Executed in New York City) (1909) (National Archives and Records Administration, Washington)
12. A Friendly Gift on the Science of Arithmetic (1499?) (National Library and Archives of Egypt)
13. The Constitution of Japan (The Official Gazettes, a Special Edition) (1946) (National Diet Library, Tokyo)
Let’s just say that UNESCO has picked an unusual list, and not necessarily what most of us interested in legal information might pick as the most important or significant legal materials from around the world — effectively the legal heritage of mankind.
Which brings us to the contest.
Both Simons have picked fifty items of legal information which strike us as being sufficiently significant that UNESCO might want to include them in its World Digital Library as representing the legal heritage of mankind. Your task is to identify what those items are, simply from the date they occurred—or were published.
|1750 BCE||451 BCE||450 BCE||348 BCE||160 BCE|
Send your entries (on one item or any number) by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll track the winners. You don’t have to have all the dates / answers to submit an entry, so keep the entries coming. At the start there are a lot of low-hanging fruit where you can easily guess the answer.
There will be a prize awarded to the winning contestant, we hope at Slaw’s Fourth Birthday gathering. The marking rules are:
1. Five points for the first reader to identify the significance of a date for legal information. For each item, the winner is the first answer received with an item that matches for a specific date our list of the significant items. [So there can, in theory, be fifty different item winners].
2. An extra five points if you can tell us where the item or object is—physically and on the web (since the World Digital Library does need to point to a location).
3. One point if you’re a runner-up in identifying the significance of a date for legal information.
4. And we’ll award five bonus points for every submission (up to a maximum of 25 points per reader) of any other item of legal information which we haven’t spotted and which strike you as being sufficiently significant that UNESCO might want to include it in its World Digital Library as representing the legal heritage of mankind. So what did we miss??
5. The contest winner will be the person who gets most points by the time all items have been identified—or midnight GMT on May 31, if we have stumped the collective legal research expertise of Slaw readers.
As the submissions come in, we’ll report on the answers to items successfully guessed and report how the contestants are faring — if you would prefer to use a pseudonym in competing, feel free, but please give us a good (and consistent) email address.
And if we assemble a good list we’ll submit it to UNESCO to join the Mandate for Nauru in the World Digital Library’s digital archive of the legal heritage of mankind.