What is Jerry Goldman’s Oyez Project?
The Oyez Project is a multimedia archive created by Jerry Goldman and is devoted to the U.S Supreme Court. It is an unofficial archive containing all kinds of media, especially audios of oral arguments. The project, which is displayed as a website, was supported by the National Science Foundation and received grants from National Endowment for the Humanities. These are among other academic institutions that support the website.
The website is administered by Jerry Goldman, which currently teaches law at Chicago-Kent College of Law. The project contains audios from as far as 1955, which is the year in which audio recording system was installed in the Court. The website aims to become an authoritative source for these recordings. At the moment, it is held as a non-official source for audios. The website is listed by the Supreme Court as authentic.
The project is not only a collection of multimedia recordings. Through the website, Oyez provides information on every case throughout history and also provides a tour in the Supreme Court building.
Research professor Jerry Goldman had the idea of creating a Supreme Court multimedia experience during a Cubs game. The collection phase of the project was concluded in 2011, thanks to a grant from Google. As of today, all the audio since 1955 has been digitized and available on the website. All of the arguments and opinions have been transcribed. The speakers have been identified and labeled. All this comprises a total of over 14,000 hours or more than 66 million words.
Since 1955, when the Court started to audio record its proceedings, the recordings began accumulate. They were first recorded on reel-to-reel tapes. The Court decided to archive these tapes at the National Archives and Records Administration where they remained for years. They were available to scholars and researchers, but only for educational purposes.
In 1993, a political scientist at the University of California, Peter Irons, faced the Court’s rage when he made these tapes public. In the end, the Court backed down and declared the tapes open to the public. Jerry Goldman, using the modern online tools, made all this material more accessible to people through the Internet.