28 September 2008

Constitutional Sources Project

ConSource is a non-partisan effort to collect, digitize and cross reference all the primary source material related to the creation of the Constitution. They seek to make it available to everyone--students, lawyers, judges, teachers, professors--as part of what I consider to be an ongoing effor to Democratize history. It is an excellent cause that, as a student of history, I hold near and dear to my heart.

I've written previously about the good work done by ConSource here, here, here, here, here, here, here, & here.

They recently kicked off a capital fundraising drive and I've happily agreed to do what I can to aid them in their efforts. Longtime friend and friend of this blog, Matt Berry, penned a letter explaining ConSource and their future goals. Please, give it a read and donate if you can. If you can't, please spread the word or do whatever else you can to aid us in bringing off this wonderful national service.

As many of you know, for the past couple of years I have been actively involved with the Constitutional Sources Project—now known across the country as ConSource.

A registered 501c3 non-profit organization, ConSource was founded with the singular goal of created an online, searchable database of all original source documents used by the Founders of this country in drafting our Constitution. And after three years of research, the project is now getting closer and closer to its ultimate goal of containing every constitutional source from antiquity to the 27th Amendment.

With the help of other donors and countless volunteers, ConSource has become an innovation all its own. It offers the only source for searchable text transcripts, high-resolution original images, advanced searching, and scholarly certification standards for its documents. Moreover, no other database in American Constitutional history has allowed for real-time cross-referencing of individual documents within the Constitution.

In offering what it does, ConSource has gained a reputation across the legal community. In the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the US Supreme Court used the ConSource legal database in their decision—see related article on law.com here: http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202423267162

ConSource was proud to receive official endorsements from former US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and current Justices Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia—all three of whom have participated in events held on the project's behalf. On the political side, ConSource recently received a bipartisan show of support signed by Senators Harry Reid, Orrin Hatch, Samuel Brownback, and Edward Kennedy.

The project is now housed in Washington, DC on K Street at the renowned international law firm Winston & Strawn, and has close to 200 student volunteers from BYU and Yale working on new source documents. As always, ConSource is forever grateful for the support it receives from the generous donors, supporters, and volunteers. Preserving these documents is vital to the relevance of our Constitution for generations to come.

With the unexpected attention and growth ConSource is proud to announce the preparation for the launch of ConSource 2.0. Along with many aesthetic and user-friendly upgrades, version 2.0 will also include a number of new data search options as well as hundreds of recently added digital papers, including the notes of Benjamin Franklin.

Three years ago we could not have anticipated the amount of attention ConSource has received, and we would have been shocked at the amount of traffic the site would attract—over 200,000 unique visitors each month and growing. It is because of this success that we set out to develop a stronger web platform to handle the volume of users now taking advantage of ConSource.

We need your help in facilitating these upgrades, and introducing more people to the thoughts that built this great nation.

This project would not have happened without the help of our many generous donors, volunteers, and public advocates. As the influence of ConSource has broadened, so has the understanding of our founding principals. We ask that you help us continue this effort in any way you can. To contribute to this vital cause please go to:

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.