This wiki is the fourth electronic platform on which the collection of materials integrated here has appeared. The work was first launched in 1991 on LEXIS where it lived awkwardly and for but a brief time. (At that point LEXIS lacked hypertext capability and delivered all content through small screen fulls of character-based monochrome display.) That company's decision not to proceed with its original plan of placing the treatise and its accompanying library of primary law materials on CD-ROM, prompted their migration to the Thomson Corporation's Clark Boardman Callaghan division, which released "Social Security Plus" in 1994. Thomson's acquisition of the West Publishing Company in 1997 brought "Social Security Plus" and a competing West CD-ROM into uncomfortable proximity. Rather than allow their merger, I reclaimed copyright in 1999 and brought the compilation to the open Web, as part of the Legal Information Institute's online collection. It has been there ever since, evolving as the legal resources on the open Web have expanded. In 2012, I converted the work to wiki format with the aim of opening it to revision and improvement by others.

Even from the beginning, though, this project has far more than a single person endeavor. Meeting the challenges of building a new reference work, from scratch, for electronic publication necessarily required contributions of many kinds, from many quarters. Those who have helped in major ways are far too numerous to mention so I must acknowledged them by category, secure in the knowledge that the individuals know both who they are and the depth of my gratitude. The National Center for Automated Information Retrieval and Cornell University furnished the necessary time, space, and funds to launch this project in 1988. Mead Data Central furnished data and an initial experimental run on LEXIS along with a serious opportunity to explore the design issues of CD-ROM publication. Clark Boardman Callaghan took on the challenge of building and publishing the full work on CD-ROM. My Legal Information Institute colleague and collaborator Tom Bruce aided its move to the Web in countless ways. In addition to these institutions (of which only Cornell and its Legal Information Institute remain) and their people, I am deeply indebted to successive cohorts of student assistants who wrestled with the thousands of Social Security decisions that had to be read and classified against an evolving reference work structure, making use of an ever changing set of software tools, to several law colleagues at institutions scattered across the map who not only shared and, at times, helped buoy my enthusiasm for this new form of law scholarship but furnished useful criticism, and finally to my family who have been very, very patient.

Peter W. Martin - 2012