Friday, July 17, 2009

Scholarship alert part II: "The Decline and Fall of the Dominant Paradigm: Trustworthiness of Case Reports in the Digital Age"

This one also comes to us from a New York Law School professor - this time Professor William Mills - and can be found at 53 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 917 (2008/09).  From the introduction:

It is axiomatic that our American common law, based in the principle of precedent and the rule of stare decisis, relies on accurate case reports published in authentic sources. But when citing American court opinions as legal authority, authors, for the past century or more, have given little thought to the accuracy of the case reports or the authenticity of the sources wherein the reports were found. This remains true in the digital age, when authors doing research are increasingly likely to have relied on the Internet as their primary or sole source of case law.

Of course modern authors still face technical citation issues, which require them to choose from among various parallel case law sources in constructing their citations. These issues are resolved by reference to citation manuals, which guide the author in choosing the most reliable and authentic source. It is unlikely, however, that many legal authors pay much attention to the underlying systems that support the dissemination of accurate case reports through authentic sources. Modern authors who have discovered case law on the Internet routinely translate their citations into the style demanded by the citation manual, without stopping to consider the possibility that the source specified in the manual might differ from the Internet source that they actually consulted.
 
I am the scholarship dude.
 
(jbl)

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