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A: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

John Horty Pioneers Computer-Assisted Legal Research


In 1960 John Horty, Director of the Health Law Center, University of Pittsburgh, pioneered computer-assisted legal research by having the texts of relevant statutes related to health law keyed into punched cards and then transferred to magnetic tape where they could be searched and retrieved on IBM mainframes by “key words in combination” (KWIC). The scope of Horty's database gradually expanded to include the rest of the Pennsylvanian statutes, the opinions of the Pennsylvania Attorney General on education, the complete statutes of New York, and decisions of the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas and the United States Supreme Court. Using the KWIC method of electronic indexing allowed legal researchers to customize a search free from the constraints of traditional print-based indexing tools.


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