Origins of Bibliometrics, Citation Indexing, and Citation Analysis: The Neglected Legal Literature
- Legal citation
Historians of bibliometrics have neglected legal bibliometrics almost completely.
The Report of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Virginia State Bar Association in 1895 noted that ‘Among publishers, Mr. Charles C. Soule, of the Boston Book Company, is pre-eminent in his knowledge of legal bibliography. In his circular for November, 1894, he gives a table showing the comparative frequency of citation of the Federal, English and State decisions, outside of their own respective jurisdictions, compiled from the last official volume of each prior to 1894” (Report of the Committee on Library and Legal Literature, p. 53). The table, ranking the jurisdictions by number of citations to them by other courts, was reprinted in the Virginia report (p. 54).
A more elaborate citation analysis appeared in the American Bar Association report for 1895. Frank C. Smith, the Secretary of the Committee on Law Reporting, compiled a large table setting forth the number of cases reported from each American court of last resort from June 1, 1894 to May 31, 1895 and the number of times each state and federal court cited each other state and federal court, as well as English courts, during that period. He also computed the total number of citations in the cases examined, the total of citations to a court’s own precedents, the total to other courts’ decisions, the totals of citations by common-law tribunals to courts of other common-law states and of code states, and similarly for code-state tribunals.
The study of citations in court decisions has continued to be a popular research endeavor (e.g., Maggs, 1930; Mott, 1936; Merryman, 1954, 1977; Landes & Posner, 1976; Friedman, Kagan, Cartwright, & Wheeler, 1981; Caldeira, 1985)