Oyez in beta

Jerry Goldman j-goldman at northwestern.edu
Thu Sep 7 11:16:26 PDT 2006

Dear Colleagues:

We are releasing a beta version of the Oyez Project. We seek  
experience from users, recommendations regarding features we have  
implemented, and ideas for new features that you would like us to  

You can access the site and help us out by visiting


What's new?

The list is long but overall the site has been completely  
rearchitected to deal with all the information we would like to  
share. We have lots of SCOTUS media.

1. Audio is now accessible from the home page or any page where we  
have planted an audio link.

2. New player for controlled playback (play, pause, stop) including  
synchronized transcripts when these are available.

3. More audio: virtually all SCOTUS audio from the 1990 Term through  
the 2004 Term is now accessible. We will provide a downloadable MP3  
as well as a streamed MP3. As older and newer audio becomes  
available, we will add it to the site.

4. MP3 downloads will include the transcript of the argument in the  
lyrics tag visible in iTunes.

5. High quality images of the justices, both photographs and  
portraits. (Portraits are formal commissions and are made public when  
justices are no longer on the bench.)

6. Images of all justice groups. These group photographs date back to  
the 1860s.

7. Improved voting data. We will report voting details in every case  
back to 1953 by integrating the Spaeth dataset into Oyez. Votes will  
be displayed using headshots of the justices. Active images will  
signal voting with the majority. Greyscale/washout will signal voting  
with the minority. You can sort the votes by seniority (the default  
setting) or by ideology. The ideological array is based on the Martin- 
Quinn index computed each Term back to 1937. The index arrays the  
justices from most liberal (on the left) to most conservative (on the  

8. Additional non-SCOTUS audio and video. We shall provide access to  
14 hours of interviews with Justice William O. Douglas. The  
interviews were conducted by Professor Walter E. Murphy of Princeton  
University while Douglas was still on the bench. We shall provide  
access to the nearly 40 hours of Justice Harry A. Blackmun's oral  
history. In each circumstance, the audio/video will be synchronized  
to a text transcript, facilitating searching and playback. (Both  
coming soon.)

9. Much improved search of all items.

10. RSS for searches and podcasts. Use this in your feedreader to  
stay up-to-date on new content.

PLEASE NOTE: When we go live with the full release, links to the  
current OYEZ site may no longer work. We will attempt to provide a  
cross-walk from the old site to the new site, but in many  
circumstances these links will no longer be valid. We shall do our  
best to limit the fallout from this switch.

We very much welcome your comments/suggestions/praise/criticisms.  
This is especially important between September 1 and September 15.  
You can send your comments to: beta at oyez.org. You can post a bug  
report directly from the beta website.

For the entire Oyez5 Team,

Jerry Goldman
Northwestern University

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