It’s a rare Internet user that has not experienced the frustration of a bad web link. Nothing is more frustrating than coming across a link that leads nowhere. This “link rot” occurs over time as information is removed from web sites or moved to another online location. Unfortunately, the original URL remains the same in the referencing document – and the user goes without. The inability to obtain online information referenced in a court opinion, however, goes beyond mere inconvenience as the information cited could be critical to the holding and important to judges and attorneys in considering other cases. Continue reading Federal Court Libraries Preserving Internet Citations in Opinions
When Supreme Court justices cite Internet sources in their opinions, how do they ensure the integrity of those sources for future legal scholars? The answer, unfortunately, is not very well, as illustrated by this dose of digital schadenfreude visited upon Justice Alito.
This was the central problem explored by a one-day conference at Georgetown University on October 24, “404/File Not Found: Link Rot, Legal Citation and Projects to Preserve Precedent.”
Over six sessions, the program identified and addressed the risks of citing to ephemeral online sources in court opinions and legal scholarship, frequently highlighting a key distinction between “link rot,” or the disappearance of a cited link, and “reference rot,” which occurs when the cited reference is no longer the same as it was when the author cited it. Archived recordings of each of the day’s sessions are available at the conference website. Continue reading What’s Rotten About Legal Scholarship, and How to Cure It: A Georgetown Symposium