We’ve Been Hoping for a Free Citator Equal to the Fee-Based Shepard’s, BCite, and KeyCite: Has the Time Arrived?

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Last year, to review the current state of citator services, we wrote a white paper comparing the citator services of Google Scholar, Fastcase, Casemaker, LexisNexis, WestlawNext, and Bloomberg. As much as we like our free access to Casemaker and Fastcase, we’ve always hoped that Casemaker and Fastcase would add a more robust, free citator (equal to Shepard’s, BCite, and KeyCite). But our comparison found that is not yet the case. We understand what a costly task it would be to create such a service.

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However, in March 2014, Carole co-spoke on a Crowdsourcing panel at the ABA TECHSHOW where she discussed the free legal research platform Casetext—a crowdsourcing site for case law that showed some potential in this area. Now, we've read about another possible solution to our hope for a better, free citator: the newly launched WeCite Project, a crowdsourcing project co-sponsored by Casetext and the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. Paul Lomio, library director and lecturer at law at Stanford Law School, lays out the details in his article at http://legalresearchplus.com/2014/03/19/wecite-projects-win-win-opportunities.

Lomio explains the project this way:

Along with the traditional crowdsourcing strategy of enabling a community of like-minded people to easily contribute, the WeCite Project is also giving law schools the unique opportunity to do their fair share in another win-win way: students learn about citators and citation analysis; the database grows. Already a number of advanced legal research classes have already participated and our class this spring will join the crowd… Importantly, any and all citator entries created under the WeCite Project (“wecites”) are public domain under a Creative Commons SA license. Casetext will also be creating an API to allow anyone to bulk download wecites. The beauty of crowdsourcing is that small contributions from individuals can aggregate into something magnificent. For those who are interesting in pitching in, instructions can be found here: https://casetext.com/wecite.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if Casemaker or Fastcase joined in this crowdsourced project to speed it along?

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