Yale (Lite) on Legal Scholarship

The Pocket Part (“A Companion to the Yale Law Journal”) tackles the impact of the web on legal scholarship. Itself an uncertain manifestation of the online scholarship phenomenon, the PP gives us some bite sized things to provoke thought:

  • Christopher A. Bracey , A Blog Supreme?

    Although online scholarship takes shape within and against prevailing modes of scholarly production, it has developed, like jazz, into a distinctive idiom of intellectual engagement with its own cultural aesthetic, norms, and the like. And like jazz, it retains a certain mystery and mystique that proves compelling to proponents and confounding to its critics.

  • Eugene Volokh , Law Reviews, the Internet, and Preventing and Correcting Errors

    [T]he second step [in switching technologies] is to ask: how we can take advantage of features of the new technology that don’t just emulate the old technology, but go beyond it? From which limitations of the old technology can we now free ourselves?

    Searching is one obvious answer, which Lexis and Westlaw pioneered decades ago. But there are other answers, answers that can help legal research be more accurate and not just easier, more comprehensive, and cheaper. In this Essay, I’ve tried to offer three such answers—devices that, with modest work on the part of law reviews (plus some help on the part of electronic delivery services), can harness the Internet to avoid reader errors, to deter and correct author errors, and to extend articles’ productive lifespans.

  • Ann Althouse , Let the Law Journal Be the Law Journal and the Blog Be the Blog

    In short, you [Yale Law Journal] don’t need to tart up your web presence with blog-like new features. The blogs already exist and are optimized to do things in the best bloggish way. And the law journals already have an important and enduring function that a secondary project might dilute. Let the law journal be the law journal and the blog be the blog. I think that trying to merge them will only make both worse.

  • Jack M. Balkin , Online Legal Scholarship: The Medium and the Message

    Blogging, in fact, is sui generis. It blurs the traditional boundaries between scholarship, teaching, and service because it transcends the normal audiences and expectations of legal scholarship. Over the years, legal scholarship has become an increasingly self-contained community where scholars write only for each other. Bloggers have burst out of that model: they talk to many different audiences, they teach the world about law, and they perform a public service by drawing attention to the legal and policy issues of the day.

  • Paul L. Caron , The Long Tail of Legal Scholarship

    Does the long tail theory apply to the market for legal scholarship? Data from Tom Smith’s ongoing research project, The Web of Law, paints legal scholarship as a hit-driven market, in contrast to the long tail theory’s predictions. Smith’s data from LexisNexis’s Shepard’s database of 385,000 articles published in 726 law reviews reveals a classic 80/20 distribution of citations in cases and other law review articles: the top 17% of articles get 79% of all citations. The head of the tail is enormous, as the top 0.5% of articles get 18% of all citations, and the top 5.2% of articles get 50% of all citations. The tail ends abruptly, as 40% of articles are never cited at all.

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