Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before…

In preparation for my stint here at ConOp, I asked Dan S. whether there was any method for checking if the topic I was thinking about blogging about had been preempted by someone else’s blog post.

After all, in writing a formal law review article, the first item on the agenda is to do background research to see if your topic has been taken, done to death, or how you might best add to the literature that’s already out there. There’s certainly no sense in expending all the time and effort that goes into writing a full-length article only to have duplicated someone else’s work.

But with blogs, such a search is difficult. Yes, there is Google Blogsearch. But even narrowing it down somewhat, you come up with too many blogs to read. You can’t read all the law blogs on anything resembling a regular basis or check that someone three months ago didn’t write something similar. (I used to feel the same way when I would sit in front of a Bloomberg terminal and watch the stories come across the news services. It truly is a humbling encounter that makes one aware of one’s own bounded rationality).

Anyway, Dan S. also remarked that it doesn’t really matter if there are a few comments on the same thing in the blogosphere. I suppose he’s right – after all, there’s a dialogue out there, and so long as you’re adding to it, then it’s okay if you’re not the first to have made the point. If you’re giving appropriate credit if credit is due, no worries.

So, I realize this request is somewhat recursive, but if this is the millionth post on pre-emption in the blogosphere, will someone please tell me?

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5 Responses

  1. Miriam Cherry says:

    Ah, the irony! My thoughts on preemption have been preempted…

  2. Eric Goldman says:

    So, the key recursive Q for you, Miriam–what research did you do before posting on researching posts?

    Also, was your title an allusion to the Smiths’ song of the same name [ http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/STOP-ME-IF-YOU-THINK-YOU'VE-HEARD-THIS-ONE-BEFORE-lyrics-The-Smiths/D3DFC878B31C5E56482568AB002A0F0D ], or am I dating myself?

    Eric.

  3. Miriam Cherry says:

    The serious answer: I put the words “scholarship preemption” into google blogsearch. Although it turned up a book by Alan Deshowitz, and many things about states vis-a-vis the feds, I did not find your post (sorry!) I’ve now been following legal blogs for about a year, and just hadn’t seen this discussion.

    Maybe that illustrates the point that both of us were trying to make. It’s not the easiest to find things. I’m not even sure, other than what I did, how to go about doing it. Or how much time it would take. Maybe comments and self-correction are the checks on this. Seems to have worked here.

    And, yes, the title was a play on The Smith’s song. (Morrisey has a new album out, but I haven’t yet bought it).

  4. Ryan Walters says:

    You might also try Sphere, another blog search engine.