Google on Monday launched a new website called Constitute. Developed by the Comparative Constitutions Project with seed funding from Google Ideas, the goal of the project was to make the world’s constitutions easily available to those in countries that are drafting new constitutions or those that are updating existing ones.
The site is a treasure trove of information as it contains digitized versions of constitutions from 160 countries around the world. The data is fully searchable as users can narrow down information using nearly 350 tagged topics including political parties, religion, year or country, just to name a few.
Sara Sinclair Brody, Google Ideas product manager, said the aim is to arm drafters with a better tool for constitution design and writing. It has traditionally been difficult to compare and contrast existing constitutional documents across various languages due to the fact that texts are locked up in libraries or are stored away on the hard drives of constitutional experts.
Being able to see what others have had success with will likely go a long way in drafting a new constitution. At the same time, the site allows the average citizen to learn more about their own country’s set of laws and will no doubt be useful to students around the globe with regard to education, research papers and the like.
The idea for the project came to life in 2008 when researchers found that many countries undergoing constitutional reform didn’t have access to other countries’ documents which in turn made it difficult for them to make changes of their own.