Nuts and Bolts of Scholarship – Get it all in a Binder!

As I was skimming through the latest blog postings on Google Reader, I ran across this entry on “Revisiting the Nuts and Bolts of Scholarship” on Empirical Legal Studies.

The post calls attention to the article THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF SCHOLARSHIP or The “NEW” Rules for Legal Scholars, by Cheryl Hanna (Vermont Law School).  For anyone new to legal academia, this is a handy article offering very useful advice for the new scholar embarking on a writing career.

But, what really, really caught my eye was the advice that Hanna offers, not once, but twice in the article.  She explains:

“One of the most frustrating parts of writing a law review article is doing the footnotes. I suggest that for every article you get a binder. Have your research assistant photocopy everything that you cite. You can then send this binder to the law review editors, saving yourself the problem of remembering where you read something and them the task of pulling sources.”

And, later in the work:

“send the editors your binder of citations. They will instantly love you and work harder on your behalf.”

All I have to say: The Librarians will LOVE you, too!

If all authors supplied a binder to the journals with all of their works cited, what a wonderful world this would be.  Imagine how much more time journal editors would have to really work on the articles and find new content to publish if they weren’t so bogged down in cite-pulls.

And, the fiction of citing to the official version of a code or to the hard copy of a journal would be exposed.  Students regularly come to the reference desk looking for a paper copy of a source that is on-line — the source that the author probably used on-line, too.  If the binder were supplied with all accepted articles, this would be simple and transparent.

Now if only the law journals were to require that all authors submit such a binder…..we can dream.

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