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Electronic Footnote

Footnote 123 is actually an electronic footnote. My “Recent Development” article for the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution (JDR) contains one final footnote, numbered “123,” which points readers to its online extension here on this blog.   


Previously, Footnote 123 contained this explanation: “[Y]ou are now reading the footnote of an article that does not yet exist in published form. The article still needs to go through a final editing process. My own editing is over, and I can therefore give this electronic footnote a number, 123,based on its number in the print version.”


This explanation is now outdated, because my Recent Development is now finished and has been posted online at Footnote 123. The text for the print version of Footnote 123, which appears in the article, states the following:


“Footnote 123 is available online, and applies to the entire Recent Development. The author created an electronic version of Footnote 123 for the sake of keeping this article continuously updated. The author intends Footnote 123 to be a perpetual resource for displaying further research on Campbell, its impact, and its progeny.  If the URL should become inactive, this footnote’s contents will be in the possession of the author and will be made available through another online source. The current URL of Footnote 123 is: http://3lepiphany.typepad.com/


I will use Footnote 123 to do future research on the case of Campbell v. General Dynamics Gov’t Sys. Corp, 407 F.3d 546 (1st Cir. 2005), which is the subject of my article. I am taking the opportunity to use my Recent Development article on Campbell, and my Independent Study blog 3L Epiphany, to demonstrate how online media can transcend the time and space limitations of traditional publishing forms.


Footnote 123 enables me to perpetually update my article with the results of new research. I can report on further developments in the Campbell case, track any progeny within the First Circuit, and describe how other circuits are handling similar issues. If time allows, I will contact the attorneys involved in the Campbell case at both the trial and appellate levels. Should they be willing to share briefs and motions from the case, or describe their own opinions about Campbell's significance, I will post this information at Footnote 123


If other law review articles are written that cite to Campbell, or that even cite my own Recent Development (including Footnote 123), I will list them there. I may also collect news or business articles that describe the impact of the Campbell decision on the non-legal world.


My electronic version of Footnote 123 is therefore an unlimited resource, where I can update my article on Campbell for as long as I would like. And one aspect of this footnote I consider to be especially significant: Before my Recent Development was published and printed in JDR, I already posted it online at Footnote 123. The article existed in its final form online before it existed as a hard copy. Thus a footnote contained within the article has become the location of that article. This is one example of what I meant when I first referred to a Mobius strip, and when I made a paradoxical movie analogy.


I am especially thankful that the article is on the Campbell case, which concerns the use of new technology such as hyperlinks and mass emails. My one concern is that the URL of Footnote 123 may change for some reason in the future. Even if I keep 3L Epiphany online for years, unforeseen things could happen that will change the footnote's address. Should the URL fail, I will work out the details as to where the final version of Footnote 123 will be stored.


I predict that this method of blending old and new forms of legal publishing will become more common in the future. Students who wish to keep their law journal article perpetually updated can always link the last print footnote to an electonic footnote on their blog. This unusual feature may also rescue a student article from typical and near-certain obscurity.

February 13, 2006 in Electronic Footnote | Permalink


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» 3L Epiphany: Electronic Footnote from ambivalent comment
http://3lepiphany.typepad.com/3l_epiphany/2006/02/electronic_foot.html#comment-13939206 This sounds like a terrific idea. Your uncertainty about what might happen to this blog (and the URL you actually print in the published version of your note) sugg... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 13, 2006 9:02:17 PM


This sounds like a terrific idea. Your uncertainty about what might happen to this blog (and the URL you actually print in the published version of your note) suggests that what's needed here is a sort of permanent repository for these things. Something like SSRN (http://www.ssrn.com/) might be able to host electronic footnotes, but it would need to be some established organization that can make the webspace available and guarantee it will be there for years to come.

For your own purposes, how long are you really going to want to pay TypePad fees? Maybe it would be better to create a free blog on Blogspot for something like this -- then it could be online for free (to you) for as long as Blogger/Blogspot exists. I don't know if this is the best solution, but it's a thought.

Posted by: ambimb | Feb 13, 2006 9:01:42 PM

Thanks for the comment, Ambimb. I think you're right, except I really want the footnote to be part of this blog itself. I don't mind paying $5 a month for the rest of my life, assuming I one day earn an income. I would like to preserve 3L Epiphany for as long as I can to demonstrate the utility of a law student blog. Whether I'll add new posts after my 3L year is over is uncertain, but at least this footnote I'd like to keep online and continually updated.

Posted by: 3L Epiphany | Feb 15, 2006 10:57:34 AM

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