Professor Martin was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1943, but grew up in Minnesota. He graduated from Harvard College in 1965 with an A.B. in History and received a J.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1968. After two years in West Africa with the Peace Corps, where he taught law at the University of Liberia, he returned for his M.L.S. degree at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was the only Norwegian-American ever to be offered a minority scholarship.
Professor Martin, who started his library career at the UT Law School, served as the director of the Georgetown University Law Center Library from 1976-1981 and as the director of the Harvard Law School Library from 1981-2008. After he retired from Harvard, he served as the interim director of the Tarlton Law Library and the Jamail Center for Legal Research from August 2008 until September 2010. He now helps coordinate the joint degree program between the Law School and the School of Information.
Martin's research interests include the international trade in cultural property and digital forms of scholarly communication. He is also professionally concerned with the future of legal information resources and their accessibility, particularly free access to legislation, court decisions, and other official law texts.
Martin has published articles on the electronic library and information networks, on the law of interstate compacts, on methods of legal research, and on collection development policy for law libraries. He served as project director of the Annual Review of Population Law, which, with funding provided by the United Nations Population Fund, for twenty years summarized legal developments relating to family planning, maternal and child health, status of women, population mobility, and related issues. He developed the first course in Advanced Legal Research at Harvard and co-taught a course on artificial intelligence and law. For his last ten years at Harvard, he taught a seminar on visual arts and the law. He chairs the advisory board of the China-United States Conference on Legal Information and Law Libraries first held in Beijing in May 2009.