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Puerto Rico State Department launches Virtual Legal Library

As part of its policy to preserve the legal and historical heritage and fulfill its ministerial responsibility, the Puerto Rico State Department has launched its new Virtual Legal Library on the agency’s website. The library provides free access to an extensive archive of laws from 1902 to the present.

“In its initial phase, this website will allow citizens to conduct thorough searches of laws and joint resolutions, greatly simplifying the process of finding and accessing current and historical legislation and regulations,” Puerto Rico Secretary of State Omar Marrero-Díaz explained in the agency’s news release.

The online tool enables users to carry out precise and detailed searches using various parameters, including the law or regulation number, title, status and relevant keywords.

Users will also have access to a comprehensive compilation of important Puerto Rican laws, such as the Civil Code, Electoral Code, Penal Code and the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. 

“The website will be updated regularly with the latest laws, joint resolutions and current regulations,” Marrero-Díaz added.

In addition to making laws and regulations available in an online text format, direct links in PDF format have also been implemented. These provide a detailed view of the original documents as they were approved. 

The website will also offer the option for users to register to use additional features, including personalized searches. However, registration is not required for unrestricted exploration.

The virtual library was developed in collaboration with the Cyber Technology Division and Document Control Systems Inc., a local company, following an extensive document digitization process.

One of the main objectives of the project is the preservation of historical documents for future generations.

“Historically, the State Department has served as a repository for numerous historical documents, including all laws and regulations signed since the early 20th century,” Marrero-Díaz explained. “The process of digitizing the documents aims, in part, to preserve this heritage and promote historical, legal, and sociopolitical research.”

The Virtual Library project included the rehabilitation of the State Department’s vault, which involved an approximate investment of $200,000. It was coordinated with the General Services Administration, the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture and the State Office of Historic Preservation.

The secretary of State highlighted the importance of the initiative in strengthening citizen participation and promoting greater transparency in accessing legal information.

“This new website represents a significant step in our efforts to provide citizens with a powerful and user-friendly tool that allows them to understand and comprehend the laws that govern us, as well as a historical legacy for future generations about a chapter marked by the change of sovereignty under the Treaty of Paris,” he concluded.

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