Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Webloggers, or “bloggers,” say recent experiments with backlinking could benefit all kinds of online publishing. Instead of pointing readers only to sources for the item they have just read, backlinks also point to newer material that item inspired, making it easy to follow a path through the Web’s marketplace of ideas. And because they can be updated automatically to reflect new incoming links, backlinks turn static Web pages into active hubs of related information.If you ever have done legal research, this should be sounding familiar. In the legal realm, we use citation services like Shepard's and KeyCite to track a case -- and particular reasoning within cases -- forward and backward, as other lawmakers pick up the discussion and develop the law. But there are differences between legal citators and weblog backlink systems. As West says of KeyCite, "Lawyer-editors put all cases and other information through a rigorous editorial analysis before the material can be added...," while weblog-related systems aggregate citations algorithmically, based on links. Legal citation services also are priced to reflect their dedication to accuracy. But legal citation services aren't always accurate. They miss things. Shepard's and KeyCite reports on a given case can yield different results. Imagine the improvements in accuracy, however, when "rigorous editorial analysis" takes a hit of some of the automated tracing and tracking features being developed in the weblog arena. Consider:
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