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Why Archive Legal Blogs?

July 28, 2022

We gather our information with ease. We Google our questions, use our phones to navigate us to our desired location, and read cooking blogs to discover new recipes. 

We don’t have to walk to the library in hopes of finding relevant books, consult physical maps for directions, or turn to our cookbook collection for dinner inspiration. Our information seeking habits have evolved alongside our technology. James W. Cortada notes that the “arrival of the Internet opened a new era of accessibility to information”. (OUPblog) However, the ease of access is not the only thing that has changed. The permanence of the vessels that provide us information has evolved as well. We have traded physical materials for electronic resources, such as apps, videos, and blogs. We don’t have the security of returning to the library to pick the book from the same shelf, to pull out the map from our stack in the glovebox, or to grab our cookbook from our personal collection. But the importance of returning to our information products is still important; we need to access it for reference, research, and reassurance. 

During the talk between Brewster Kahle and Tony Marx at the LIVE from NYPL event on April 25, 2022, Kahle explains that in the past, “libraries didn’t collect print because all of the real stuff was manuscript. It was ephemeral. Those were the blog posts of the time”. The thought that libraries didn’t find value in collecting books appears absurd to us today. However, the modern situation is the same: libraries do not collect and preserve one of the major vessels of internet publication, the blog.

If you pay close attention to where Google searches bring you, you will notice you often end up on blogs. A search for ‘how to fix a tire’ brings me to the Sullivan Tire and Auto Service Blog. A search for ’are dwi checkpoints legal missouri’ brings me to the Rose Legal Service’s Blog. Although the carrier of the information may be different than in times past, our information seeking behaviors stay the same. We want to reference a source that provides us with the knowledge to satisfy our questions and curiosities. So, how do we go about saving, maintaining, and curating a library of the information we use everyday? 

This is where my journey with the Open Legal Blog Archives begins. More legal blogs, which contain legal insight and commentary, are published today than in law reviews and law journals. Users of all types need access to this information. Blogs may feel as ephemeral as books did in the past, but we can create an archive to preserve blogs and provide them with the proper context for research and citation. This will create the permanence needed so that our legal information stays open and accessible for everyone with the reassurance that we can always return to the place we were informed.