Clicklaw Wikibooks are collaboratively developed, plain language legal publications that are published and kept up-to-date on a wiki, where they can also be printed and downloaded. They are free to download and share with British Columbians who seek reliable, up-to-date information to address legal problems or learn about the law. Courthouse Libraries BC launched Clicklaw Wikibooks in 2012, and the program relies on the guidance of our Advisory Committee, which includes contributor organizations and other stakeholders from the legal and library community.
About Clicklaw Wikibooks
Clicklaw Wikibooks cover a variety of BC legal topics using plain language so people don't need legal training to understand them. They are available in print and digitally, and range in size from small booklets to 1,000+ page manuals. They are collaboratively developed in the sense that many different legal professionals and law-related non-profit organizations contribute content and help keep it accurate, while Courthouse Libraries BC manages the platform and helps recruit volunteer authors and reviewers. Many titles in the Clicklaw Wikibooks collection were originally print publications or even stand-alone websites that were redone as Clicklaw Wikibooks to ensure the legal information is:
- highly accessible both online and in print,
- accurate and up-to-date, and
- affordable to produce and maintain.
A significant factor in determining whether a printed legal resource is accessible is whether it is publicly available in libraries. For this reason, we work closely with public libraries through the LawMatters program.
Clicklaw Wikibooks help solve two central challenges with publishing legal information:
- Law is constantly evolving: It can be cumbersome and time consuming to keep a legal publication up-to-date using the traditional book publishing model. A wiki is easy to update without emailing versions back and forth between author, editor and reviewer. The wiki platform has a robust version history and comparison feature, and changes made are instantly available to readers.
- It's hard to offer multiple formats of a resource An up-to-date website can be excellent, but rarely is it also available in print or to read offline—and there are many for whom computers or the internet are simply not accessible. On the other hand, information in purely printed form is comparatively costly to produce and share, and it does not get spread as quickly or as widely as internet-based forms. Clicklaw Wikibooks lets authors and law-related non-profit organizations edit their content in a single place. Meanwhile the platform automatically generates multiple formats. PDF and EPUB files are generated for printing or off-line reading, and users can order the book by mail at the cost of print-on-demand.
For more on Clicklaw Wikibooks, see the Clicklaw Wikibooks Guides.
Using Clicklaw Wikibooks
How you use Clicklaw Wikibooks depends on whether you are a member of the public who needs legal information, or a contributor (i.e. one of the authors, editors or reviewers of a Clicklaw Wikibook) who wants to edit your organization's content.
Here is a list of Clicklaw Wikibooks Guides covering how to use this website. Guides are written for users, contributors and editors, and wiki administrators, as well as generally for copyright questions, and how to print or export Clicklaw Wikibooks.
We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clicklaw Wikibooks strives to be a quality legal information resource and an attractive publishing platform for organizations who produce public legal information. Clicklaw Wikibooks follow best practice guidelines for the development and maintenance of online public legal education and information (PLEI). The specific goals adopted by the Advisory Committee include user-centric goals, contributor-centric goals, and goals around efficiency and sustainability:
- Plain language legal information for a public audience
- Maximum accessibility (barriers: regional, language, literacy, disability, technology, age)
- Familiar and simple for end-users to use
- Strong multiple format export (print and digital) from single source
- Simple for editors and content partners to use
- Develop and foster a skilled community of legal content volunteers who can work on more than one project
Efficient & sustainable
- Easy to administer
- Works for most PLEI publishing needs, most of the time
- Helps PLEI organizations collaborate and work together
- Supports public libraries
- Cheap and efficient technology to develop and maintain
- Achieve economies of scale and progressive affordability
- Free, open source and open license
Clicklaw Wikibooks is operated and maintained by Courthouse Libraries BC with the assistance of the Clicklaw Wikibooks Advisory Committee. Members of the Advisory Committee are selected from contributor organizations and stakeholders, with an emphasis on diversity to reflect the needs and interests of public users, volunteer editors, contributor organizations and public libraries.
When considering new titles to add to the Clicklaw Wikibooks collection, the Clicklaw Wikibooks Advisory Committee considers the same content criteria guidelines as Clicklaw, www.clicklaw.bc.ca, our sister website.
About the wiki platform
Clicklaw Wikibooks uses MediaWiki, a free software open source wiki platform originally for use on Wikipedia. We adapted and customized the MediaWiki platform in key ways. Only approved people can edit Clicklaw Wikibooks, and the options for downloading titles from the collection in PDF and EPUB, or for ordering them as print-on-demand books, have been streamlined. Improvements and customization are ongoing, and the Clicklaw Wikibooks Advisory Committee considers a scorecard approach balancing principled and practical considerations for technical enhancements to the platform.
- Alignment with user-centric needs
- Alignment with contributor-centric needs
- Alignment with admin-centric needs
- Alignment with public libraries’ needs
- Cost of implementation
- Ease of implementation
List of Clicklaw Wikibooks
There are currently 3,800 legal information and supporting pages hosted on Clicklaw Wikibooks. See the full list of Clicklaw Wikibook titles.
Thank you for thinking of us! You can donate to our organization, Courthouse Libraries BC. Your donation will go toward building the information technology infrastructure that is critical to our services. Please visit our Canada Helps secure page to make your tax-deductible donation today.