“Blog” References

by Roger Alford

Ever wonder whether blogs have become mainstream? Typically one has no easy answer to the question of whether blogs have become an acceptable medium for academic discourse. We rely on anecdotes, intuition or hunches.

I thought it might be interesting to add yet another unscientific reference point to determine whether blogs have become mainstream. How? By considering how often the word “blog” is mentioned in various Westlaw libraries (specifically the JLR, ALLNEWS, and ALLCASES databases). Of course, this is not an accurate survey of actual blog citations, but it does give one a sense of the current trends.

Based on the numbers, it appears that blog references are already mainstream in the news media, are not yet mainstream in law reviews and journals, and have a long, long way to go before they are mainstream in judicial opinions. Here are the results for references to the word “blog” in the three databases over the past seven years:


2000: 34 references

2001: 120 references

2002: 545 references

2003: 3215 references

2004: 10,000+ references

2005: 10,000+ references

2006: 10,000+ references


2000: 0 references

2001: 1 reference

2002: 12 references

2003: 40 references

2004: 148 references

2005: 410 references

2006: 727 references


2000: 4 references

2001: 0 references

2002: 2 references

2003: 1 references

2004: 4 references

2005: 17 references

2006: 28 references


One Response

  1. Before checking my credit history, I ran another search in JLR: “web log” weblog. Results: 531 documents. But of course most of these, I imagined, also used “blog” as the shortened form. Surprisingly, the search (“web log” weblog) % blog generated 206 documents! At a glance, the majority of these results included weblog in a URL, not exactly an explicit reference to blogs, but probably an indirect use of one.

    The same search in ALLNEWS (i.e., either term but not blog): 5,725 documents.

    In ALLCASES: precisely 10.

    A couple rough conclusions: (1) Even where “blog” has caught on, the more formal term “web log” (or “weblog”) continues to enjoy relatively significant use. (2) I sure am glad I have free access to Westlaw.

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