Scribd Scans

Scribd is a free service that lets you put your document or image files online, where they are available to the public. Now Scribd is offering to scan your print documents and put those online — for free. You mail in your documents, wait some weeks, and then enjoy your words in pixels. Even accounting for the fact that Scribd is in complete charge of the project and so can move as slowly and as selectively as it wishes, this is a remarkable offer.

…and it got me wondering: would this be a good way to put public domain case reports online? Scribd offers not only scanning but the conversion via OCR to searchable documents, which would be a boon to researchers using older legal material. And though one of the terms imposed by Scribd, naturally, is that your scanned material be available on Scribd, they don’t seem to require exclusive rights. CanLII could do worse than to phone up Scribd and propose a large scale conversion of early Canadian law, given the stinginess of law societies and governments in this respect.


  1. Simon is probably right that for some type of material, Scribd can be a helpful resource. Indeed, why not use Scribd besides Flickr, YouTube and the other Deezer. I do not share his enthusiasm though for using such services to bring back to light older legal material. For me, part of the interest in disinterring older legal material is to search them and to link them with more recent documents.

    Fortunately, there are many initiatives at various stages of implementation to digitize older Canadian legal material. BTW, many of the projects I know are funded by ‘stingy’ law societies and the law foundations.

    But, let’s forget the big picture for a minute… My own personal goal in this field, established long ago, is to have a complete collection of SCC decisions accessible for free on the Internet and I am please to report that we are making progress. Let me summarize the situation:

    The Goal: all SCC decisions(E+F) 13 527
    Published (SCC/LexUM site) 4 400
    Scanned by CanLII and LFO 2 642
    SCC Project (70-84) 1 964
    Remaining 4 521

    Note : LFO designates Law Foundation of Ontario.

    So when the SCC project (the addition of 1970-1984 decisions is funded by the Court) will be finished later this year over 2/3 of the files of the whole SCC collection will have been published and will be accessible.

    For sure, someone can put them all on Scribd, but the real thing for me is to have them on the SCC decisions web site and on CanLII.


  2. Do let us know if we at could be of assistance in some way? Best regards Manoj (ceo-edocr)