February 5, 2008
Some Evidence for the Assimilation of Blogs into the Structure of Legal Literature
|Why Cite to Blogs?|
|There are a number of reasons to cite to blogs. Ones usually identified are factual assertions, crediting/criticizing ideas, and using a blog post as supporting authority but one largely overlooked reason is the role blogs play as informal repositories of downloadable documents.|
Recently Balkinization's Jack Balkin and The Volokh Conspiracy's Orin Kerr observed that the law review citation rate for their blogs has increased somewhat significantly on an annual basis since 2004. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Blogs, as Jack Balkin writes "are being assimilated into the larger universe of legal writing and becoming part of the web of [legal] citations."
I took a quick look at annual blog citation rates for 2004-2007 recently and found similar increases. Using LexisNexis, instead of Westlaw (hat tip to PrawfsBlawg's Dan Markel who was wondering why no one seems to use Lexis-Nexis for citation counts anymore), I searched US Law Reviews & Journals Combined and US Federal & State Cases Combined by the domain name of three common blog service providers (blogspot.com, typepad.com, and wordpress.com) to estimate citation rates.
At the outset, I should emphasize that this search method underestimates the number of blog citations, possibly by a wide margin. For example, The Volokh Conspiracy was not captured because its URL, http://volokh.com/, does not identify a blog hosting service while Balkinization was captured because its URL, http://balkin.blogspot.com/, does include one of the blog hosting services I searched. Additional understating is likely due to the fact that this is a document count, not a pure citation count. (Any single counted document may cite two or more blogs, or more than one post from the same blog.)
This built-in undercount does not diminish from the fact that the below statistics do give a sense of the magnitude of the growth rate of blog citations. According to this estimate, blog citations in law reviews and court opinions have grown from about 70 in 2004 to over 500 in 2007 (and still counting since many law reviews have not completed their 2007 publishing cycle). I believe it is fair to say that for 2005 and 2006 blog citations probably grew exponentially on a document count basis, doubling each year.
It is unlikely, however, that any final count for 2007 will show a similar rate of growth. If the case, would this mean that blogs are "on the decline." Doubtful. It would simply mean that the blogging phenomenon is maturing. As with other forms of publication, with age comes acceptance and recognition of place within the structure of legal literature.
Click to enlarge. [JH]
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Joe Hodnicki over at Law Librarian Blog wrote a wonderful Feb. 5, 2008 posting entitled Some Evidence for the Assimilation of Blogs into the Structure of Legal Literature which documents the increased blog citations in both law reviews and courts. [Read More]
Tracked on Feb 9, 2008 9:09:55 PM
Great Post, something to think about there!
Posted by: Johnathon | Jun 9, 2008 6:46:03 PM