Sunday, January 9, 2011

Follow Up: Is It Proper To Cite To A Shortened URL In An Appellate Brief?

A few weeks ago I had a post titled "Is It Proper To Cite To A Shortened URL In An Appellate Brief?"  Woodrow Pollock made a good point in the comments.  He stated that "It also permits someone (the author of the brief, for instance) to keep track of how often the court views the cited link (if at all)."

A great feature with shortened url's is that you can track the usage for the short url.  However, that might not be a great feature if you are using it to monitor the number of times a court views a citation in a brief.  At least with the google url shortener, anyone can monitor the statistics for a shortened url and not just the author.  The Google help page for the url shortener states:

The Google URL Shortener provides analytics tracking for all short URLs. To access your short URL’s analytics, just add ".info" after any short URL. For example, detailed analytics for is available at
The Google URL Shortener currently reports short URL click analytics across various categories. The different analytics categories currently available include the raw click counts, and their distribution across referrers, browsers, platforms, and geographical locations. Additionally, you can slice this data across different time periods.
Just add ".info" to the end of the shortened url and you can view the analytics for that shortened url (of course, not for the longer original url where you end up after entering the shortened url).  

Jim Dedman at the Abnormal Use blog had the following to say on the subject:
Jeffrey Kuntz of The Florida Legal Blog asks an interesting question: "Is It Proper To Cite To A Shortened URL in An Appellate Brief?" As Kuntz notes, there is a risk inherent in such citations, as the abbreviated link may itself expire, and if it does, there is no way to ascertain the nature or domain of the original link. Best to use the full URL, we think.
Until there is some clarification in the appellate rules or in the Bluebook, I agree with Dedman. 


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