Monday, November 30, 2009

Legal Research in the Digital Age

From Nathan Kozuskanich, “Originalism in a Digital Age: An Inquiry into the Right to Bear Arms,” Journal of the Early Republic 29:4 (2009): 586, 606:
The digitization of historical documents into comprehensive archives with keyword search capabilities opens up a new avenue for scholars to recover the usage and meaning of key constitutional phrases, like "bear arms." …

Although digital research cannot be a substitute for traditional historical methods, it can give legal scholars access to a wealth of resources that have been relatively unused in constitutional research. Indeed, a historical focus on context and change over time can complement the legal focus on structure and precedent.