Thomas R. Bruce, Director
Tom, along with Peter Martin, founded the LII in 1992. He has been its sole director since 2004. Tom wrote much of the original software used at the LII, and in 1993 wrote Cello, the first Web browser for Microsoft Windows. LII engineers -- no fools, these guys -- know better than to let him write code any more, but occasionally he slips some in when they're not looking. Usually, a server dies about ten minutes later.
Tom has worked on legal information projects on four continents, including projects in South Africa, Japan, Vietnam, Zambia, Sierra Leone, and the Seychelles, most recently as a consultant for the Open Society Institute. He has been a fellow of the Center for Online Dispute Resolution at the University of Massachusetts, and a Senior International Fellow at the University of Melbourne Law School. For more than a decade, he was a digital-projects consultant for the Harvard Law School Library. He has been an invited expert for the Hague Conference on Private International Law, and has testified before Congress on legislative information as a public good. In 2009, the ABA Journal named him a “Legal Rebel”, one of 50 innovators doing the most to remake the legal profession in the United States. In 2011, the legal publisher Fastcase named him to a similar group. He most recently completed work on a Linked Open Data metadata model for legislative information at the Library of Congress, and serves as an advisor to the US House of Representatives Bulk Data Task Force.
Tom has a couple of degrees from Yale in subjects that have absolutely nothing to do with law or computers. He once covered the field at Harvard Stadium with a six-foot layer of smoke, and has worked as a stage- and production manager for opera companies in (among other places) Houston, Chicago, Miami, Columbus, and Omaha, where an elephant wreaked havoc during a production of Aida (he is still remembered in Omaha as a stage-management god). He also worked for the American Repertory Theater, the New World Festival of the Arts, and as the Director of Special Technical Projects for Spoleto Festival USA; for Eastern Airlines and IBM trade shows. He's also earned his living as a rock roadie and jazz-tour lighting designer, a commercial-refrigeration installer, and as a writer of things best forgotten. His work was once hailed as “an act of artistic vandalism” by Opera News.
For fun, he buys and sells antique tools, rides bicycles for distances long enough to be considered inappropriate to oversized middle-aged men, and builds furniture for friends and, infrequently, in unlikely places. He is also a big fan of Sloppy the Reader
Sara S. Frug, Associate Director
Sara wrangles projects for LII, where she has been working from time immemorial. Although rumors persist of a dot-com stint and a research post at Harvard Business School, she remains skeptical. She has supervised the LII Supreme Court Bulletin, brought the site into compliance with accessibility guidelines, and built out the content management system for the Wex legal dictionary / encyclopedia. More recently, she has run engineering work on the LII's version of the CFR and related projects.
Brian Laurence Hughes, Web Developer
Brian Hughes got his B.A. in linguistics at Harvard. For 18 years Brian worked in university library systems. He began as evening circulation/reference at Northeastern Law School and ended as evening circulation/reference at International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School. He moved to computer support and then computer programming, both at the Harvard Law School. While at HLS, Brian was the PHP programmer for Terry Martin & Tom Bruce’s Leda project.
Brian became a programmer for the LII in September 2000. He mostly works with PHP, Python, Subversion and MySQL, and has hand a hand in LII’s donation systems, the Supreme Court project (the script that constructs the LII Bulletin was written by him), among others.
Brian lives in Andover, Massachusetts and works from his home. His wife Cathy Conroy works at Harvard Law School. Among Brian’s interests are classical music, languages, science (particularly physics) and nature (particularly trees).
Valarie Kimber, Administrative Coordinator
Valarie’s first real job out of college had nothing to do with her degree in human services. But over 12 years she grew to love working at a commercial printing company, and even earned the nickname “film chick” while working the prepress department. Valarie ended an illustrious career as a printer because she yearned for a more stable and calm environment.
So, she took a job at the Cornell Law School in 2008, working with the law journals and handling the administration of the Continuing Legal Education program. At some point over 3 years, she completely forgot her wish for stability and calm because she joined the LII team in 2011.
She enjoys cooking, wine touring, reading, traveling to Mexico in the winter with her daughter. She does not enjoy housework or shoveling snow.
Favorite LII feature: Nolo's Plain English definitions in the Wex legal dictionary.
Daniel Nagy, Sr Systems Administrator
Dan has 15 years working in legal IT working within law schools. He has a BS from Berry College in Rome, GA in addition to various and sundry certifications. He splits his time between his lofty tower office in Ithaca, NY from where he can see most of the surrounding landscape and his home in Owego NY, where is helped in his work by various small sentient creatures. Dan’s work for the LII includes keeping the servers in good working order, and growing the unique technical infrastructure which provides a platform for the collections the LII makes available to the public.
If you look at the site, you will see his handiwork just about everywhere. So you are pointed here to marvel at the quick and steady load time on the main page:
In the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC there is a quote; "I am not afraid of new inventions or improvements…”. It is carved in a stone plaque over the men’s restroom.
David A. Shetland, Programmer/Analyst
Dave Shetland has a now-distant background in broadcast technology, several decades of training and experience in computer programming, and a lifelong passion for tinkering, sawing wood, and digging backyard holes, occasionally in the right places. His sawing and digging at the LII have been largely in the US Code, where the major toolbox has been the XML data format. XML is at the core of LII automated US Supreme Court processing as well.
Challenges faced in making US Code information more accessible have provided a base for current adventures with the Code of Federal Regulations. One area is that of citation tagging, so that the text of a citation becomes a link. Another is structure discovery inside the section, turning labeled paragraphs into a truly nested structure, with appropriate link targets.
The two-level citation tagging is illustrated in http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode42/usc_sec_42_00000402----000-.html#e_2_C by the excerpt "...under section 415 (f)(5), 415 (f)(6), or 415 (f)(9)(B) of this title and..." The "of this title" is part of the content of the outer tag that encompasses all three cites plus the keyword "section" so that the individual cites know what title they are pointing to, and what sort of thing within it.
The fact that we just linked to a specific nested paragraph demonstrates a bit of the structure discovery.
Wayne Weibel, Interface Developer
Wayne is the junior member of the LII team. He possesses a BS in Computer Science and an MA in HCI (Human Computer Interaction) both from SUNY Oswego. He is the Swiss army knife, complete with corkscrew, of LII; working on and helping out on everything from the databases, to XML, to the website you are seeing and using now. And, honestly, if he has done his job right, you will not ever be aware of what has been done (unless you are meant to), or the insomnia that was inspired. Some examples follow:
- Wex: the Nolo entries are brought in from an eXist XML database
- CFR: powered by developed Drupal module (read - war of attrition with Drupal)
- Donation page: you may have gone here from a splash over (or heard others curse about said splash over)
25 (not really) Random Facts:
- Favorite Constitutional Amendment: IX Non-Enumerated Rights (1791)
- Taking latin in high school helps (a little): http://topics.law.cornell.edu/wex/law_latin
- Least favorite US Code Section: Title 17 § 1001
"To wish to be better than the world is to be already on the threshold of immortality" -F.H. Bradley