Saturday, July 29, 2006

Lists: of downloads and of books

It's a lovely Saturday in July, which means it's time for something a little different.  Dedicated propertyprof readers know I love lists--like rankings of law journals based on citations

As a side-note here, you may recall that I've previously expressed great skepticism of ssrn downloads as a measure of quality.  And I've commented previously about bepress' strange ranking of law journals, based on submissions through bepress (another measure based on "downloads" of a sort.)  Fellow propertyprof William S. Brewbaker suggeted earlier this week that there's an inverse relationship between downloads and quality.  I tend to agree with him.  Yet, Brian Leiter is increasing my faith in lists of ssrn downloads as a measure of quality.  And so is Theodore Seto, whose study of ssrn downloads ranks the University of Alabama graduate tax law program as number six based on ssrn downloads.

But I do like these lists of books, even if they're rather odd.  I came across this one recently that lists 250 great authors of western civilization (I can't remember which blog pointed me to it--so my apologies for not giving the customary shout-out.)  Great links to the works, as well.  And human events has another list, of the 10 most harmful books of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Makes for mighty interesting thinking.

My colleague Paul Pruitt and I are working on another list: the 5000 books in the University of Alabama library that were burned in the closing days of the Civil War.  Paul's suggested a great title: "Burned Books."  Not a lot of law books in there, but I'll be posting some on our progress.

Alfred L. Brophy
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