More on Blogs as Scholarship

bloggership1a.jpgRecently, I blogged about a National Law Journal article about law blogs and scholarship. Doug Berman points out that blogs and blog posts are even being cited by judicial opinions. Indeed, Berman’s blog was recently cited by the Ohio Supreme Court, and in the past it has even been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mike at Crime & Federalism observes:

Scholarship is something that moves our legal knowledge forward. If x-article or blog post helps us understand something we hadn’t understood, then it’s scholarly. . . .

Anyhow, I’d love to hear those who disapprove of blogs to explain what separates Doug Berman’s blog from his casebook or a sentencing treatise. If Orin Kerr writes a lengthy entry about the PATRIOT Act, is it not scholarly because he publishes it online?

Larry Ribstein observes:

[S]ome blogs have a lot to do with scholarship in the sense of importantly contributing to the process. My blog, for example, conveys scholarship-relevant information, and I learn the same from other blogs. I also use my blog to germinate and develop ideas that eventually appear in polished scholarship.

Rick Garnett at PrawfsBlawg notes:

Look, of course it is true that most blogging looks a lot more like “chit chat” than like “scholarship.” But isn’t there a pretty big chunk of middle ground here? My sense is that — at least in the law-blogger world — a fair bit of what gets blogged and blogged about does “have [something] to do with scholarship”: People blog about what others are writing about, about what they are writing about, about what they plan to write about, or what they tried to write about. No one thinks that blogging could or should take the place of scholarship. But it seems quite a stretch to suggest that law-blogging does not have — unlike, e.g., enthusiastic and engaged conversations around the lunch table, or during a workship? — anything at all to contribute to the scholarly enterprise.

And here’s a link to the lineup at Paul Caron’s conference on blogging at Harvard this April.

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2 Responses

  1. John Armstrong says:

    Blogging looks a lot more like “chit chat” than “scholarship”. I’m wondering how many people who assert that have ever been in an academic department.

    In mathematics departments for sure, and from all indications in all other departments, there’s no line to be drawn between the two. As far as I can tell, the academic community would grind to a halt if it weren’t for social interactions bringing specialists into contact with each other to exchange work ideas along with play. What ends up in the library may look like scholarship, but what goes on in the lounge is the real thing.