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Showing posts from May, 2018

Creatively Harvesting Bluebook Data

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As late as 2016, I was ready to join Justice Posner and give up on The Bluebook. After research into the use of algorithms in the era of big data, however, my thinking has changed.

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ran an article articulating the concerns with following a particular citation style. The problem with the rules-heavy approach to teaching [citation] isn’t just the rigidity with which students are taught those rules or follow them. It’s that too often students are taught rules without any context or justification. That’s just "the way things are." Students are left following rules just because a [law review editor] told them to, none the wiser about their function or history. It’s a recipe for seeing writing as foreign or external — something a student is supposed to do but not necessarily understand. Just follow the rules, kid, and there won’t be any trouble.

Instead of taking this approach to citation, the author leads a discussion not about citation st…