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Legal Scholarship and Digital Publishing: Has Anything Changed in the Way We Do Legal Research?

WithE. Dana Neacsu

SUMMARY. Scholarship, including legal scholarship, depends on the reliability of sources used so that subsequent scholars can build upon the work. Reliability is here defined as including accurate access to sources that reproduce faithfully the original source. Legal scholarship depends on the existence and reliability of accessible materials to verify the accuracy and validity of the ideas advanced in the source. The growth of digital publishing, 1 which includes both distributing information directly in electronic format and the conversion of paper materials into electronic format, threatens the established reliability of source materials. The current legal literature has failed to address this issue; the author’s examination of 20 law review articles, all containing at least four citations to the Internet, found that 12 of the 20 contained an online source which could 106no longer be accessed within a year of the online source’s publication. The author suggests that librarians and scholars be aware of the risk digital publishing presents to future research. [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: <[email protected]> Website: < http://www.HaworthPress.com > © 2002 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.]