A free, accessible, hyperlinked version of the Mueller Report

The Internet Archive, the Digital Public Library of America and Muckrock have released a version of the Mueller Report as an Epub with 747 live footnotes, fully compliant with both Web and EPUB accessibility requirements.

The Mueller Report is arguably one of the most important documents in American Politics. However, when the report was made available to the public, by the Department of Justice (DOJ), on the morning of April 18th, 2019, the formatting left much to be desired. For one thing, it was initially published as a PDF image file with no text, which meant it could not be searched. That version of the report can be found here. An updated version of the report, with searchable text, was published by the DOJ on April 22nd, at the same URL and with the same filename (report.pdf). More importantly, while the report had 2,390 footnotes, only 14 of those referenced links to live web pages. In addition the report suffered from many formatting issues that made it less than accessible to reading disabled people and was not compliant with US federal law “508“accessibility standards.

The Internet Archive hoped it could help make the report more useful, by adding links to as many references in the footnotes as possible, as well as help make it more accessible to the reading disabled community. To do this, we teamed with MuckRock to crowdsource the identification of web-based resources referred to in footnotes. Later we worked with a team of interns to carefully research every footnote and, in some cases, the multiple references each one contained. We identified 733 external resources (added to the 14 available in the original report, for a total of 747 links) which we archived via the Wayback Machine, the Internet Archive’s TV News Archive, and uploaded to its collections. We included links to archived webpages to guard against the ephemerality of web-based resources. In particular referencing archives guards against link rot (when URLs go dead, e.g. return a status code 404) and content drift (when the content associated with a URLs changes over time.)

The Mueller Report – Now with Linked Footnotes and Accessible. [Mark Graham/Internet Archive]