The Berkeley Electronic Press is developing a new, personalized, scholarship distribution network: Selected Works. The idea is simple: the press hosts a webpage that showcases the author’s work, permits visitors to perform full-text searches, and enables distribution by email and RSS to interested readers. I suppose the tagline would be: “a better, more personalized, SSRN page.”
The service kindly has allowed me to beta-test the product, and you can find the result here. Check it out, sign up to receive notices when I upload new content (including the articles I’m currently working hard to finish) or new functionality (I’d like very much to get together a syndication of various blogs I read). Shucks, sign up if you just want to be one of the folks I email in the middle of the night when I’m working on a paper and need a synonym for “pathbreaking.”
Big picture issues: (1) the ultimate success of services like this one will make it harder for law reviews to sell their catalogues, meaning that current students will need, ever more, to the foot the bill for the production of legal scholarship; (2) a bigger, cheaper, pipe demands more, though not necessarily better, content; and (3) these two trends can’t work together forever.