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Published by Kevin O'Keefe, CEO & Founder of LexBlog

Publishing Platform Deficiencies of Many Large Law Firms Make Inclusion of Their Blogs In Secondary Law a Challenge

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December 13, 2022

As the Open Legal Blog Archive works on a library of large law firm blogs, things get hairy when thinking forward as to how such blogs get researched and cited as secondary law.

Blogs have been considered secondary law in legal briefs and court decisions for some time. Seems obvious as to how they’d be cited – by author, title of post and url.

But what if a large body of blogs were aggregated into one “law library” for ease of research, citation and syndication to other libraries

Aggregated, via RSS, requiring an RSS feed of the title of the post author, the title of the post, the title of the blog and date.

For guidance on blog citation, I took at a summary of the Bluebook’s rules that prescribe how to cite various legal documents, as put together by Georgetown University Law Center.

Law reviews, journals, and other periodicals seem most analogous to law blogs.

Rule 16 covers how to cite law reviews and journals, newspapers, and other periodic materials.

A citation to a consecutively paginated journal article includes the following six elements:

  • Author’s full name as it appears on the article
  • Title of the article (underlined or italicized)
  • Volume number
  • Journal title abbreviation (see Table 13)
  • First page of the article
  • Date of publication

Unlike a law review, legal blogs are not consecutively paginated, nor is their a volume number or first page.

What there is of common is the author’s name, title of the article, title of the blog (journal) and date of publication.

Blog posts do have something increasingly common for citation, a url. One can click a link and go directly to the item cited.

The indexing and archival of blogs for research and citation gets hairy though when legal publishers, mostly law firms, do not set up their blogs with a RSS feed.

Blogs, by nature include a RSS feed.

A RSS feed gives blog publishers a lot options when it comes to distributing their content with your audience and beyond – such as with legal research platforms and libraries.

The RSS feed of a legal blog includes the author, title of the blog, title of the blog post, the date, and even more.

RSS makes it very easy for legal blogs to be indexed as secondary law.

A library, such as the Archive, can aggregate and curate blogs with RSS feeds and make such content available to third parties for research and citation.

Let alone preserve the blog posts, something not done when publishers delete posts deleted and change urls.

Problem is that far too many law firms, apparently of apparent ignorance, publish their blogs without an RSS feed.

The outcome may mean their blogs will be not included in secondary law, with their lawyers not receiving the status and recognition among lawyers and the judiciary as the lawyers publishing on RSS enabled platforms.

Interesting road ahead as this is all sifted out.