Law blogs metadata

New law bloggers already ask how is my blog ever going to get discovered. “What if I blog and no one comes?”

I am of the belief that if you build it, they will come. That being if you publish a good niche blog and engage influencers by referencing them and linking to their blogs, you won’t be able to keep people away with a stick.

In a world though where so much content is being published, the discovery of law blogs and posts is going to be an increasing challenge. The use of metadata may be the key.

Metadata is merely data describing other data making the finding and working with particular instances of data easier.

Look at the publishing industry for an example of the importance of metadata in the discovery of books.

Anders Breinholst, CEO of Denmark’s Pubfront, suggests that the following metadata be used to describe a book.

Author, title, ISBN, publisher, genre, language, original title, translator, media review, date published, subject, keywords, book length, number of words, chapter length, time period, readability rating, pace, key attributes, content rating, dialogue, word types, distinct word prevalence, mood, sentiment, entities, specific references, places, people, action, character ages, expected same readers as specific books.

In the case of a blog or blog post, meta data could include, among other things, the following:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Law firm
  • Date published
  • Subject
  • Keywords
  • Area of the law
  • Jurisdiction
  • People referenced
  • Companies referenced
  • Cases referenced
  • Code sections and regulations referenced
  • Social media accounts of author
  • Influence of author as a blogger and social media user
  • Blogs and reports cited
  • Social media references of the post
  • Citations of the post on other blogs

Some of these items may already be referenced in law blogs via a standard WordPress set up. But they’re very limited – a meta descriptor tag used for a description in Google; tags, which are used in a half hazard manner and not in sync with other blogs; title; author; and date.

Long term, it’s going to take more than random metadata. It’s going to take a structure to the metadata.

Some of this metadata could be generated by software analyzing posts. Other metadata may need to be generated “by hand.” At the end of the day though, it’s going to take a curator of law blog content beyond the blog publishers themselves.

The LexBlog Network is generating close to 250 law blog posts a day. Rather than looking at pushing blog content at people, something that’s going to reach a saturation point and something that serves little purpose when it comes to using law blog posts as secondary legal authority, we’ll need to look to metadata for the discovery of law blogs and posts on the network.

And we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to good law blogs. Publishing by lawyers looking to learn, network, grow a reputation and advance the law is going to grow exponentially in the years ahead. Proper use of tagging and metadata will become essential for discovery.

My hunch is that we’ll be among those tracking blogs and posts published not only by “customers” of LexBlog’s publishing solution, but content from all credible law blogs. We’ll then use metadata generated hopefully by software to help in the discovery and use of law blogs.