To help judges resolve this tension, the Judicial Conference of the United States has released recommendations to the federal courts on how to handle internet-based materials.
After a six-month pilot project conducted by the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management (CACM), during which court librarians collected and examined citations to web-based resources in opinions, the conference developed its guidelines.
The CACM broadly recommends that judges at least consider some form of preservation for all internet-based materials cited in their opinions. Among the recommendations for handling internet case citations:
- Download a copy of a cited web page and include it as an attachment in the Case Management/Electronic Case Files System. From here, the page could be made retrievable via PACER
- Keep in mind that not all litigants have computer access
- Try to avoid linking directly to commercial databases, to avoid the appearance of an endorsement; and provide an appropriate disclaimer where such links are necessary
- Internet Materials in Opinions: Citations and Hyperlinking (The Third Branch)
- Judicial Conference of the United States Homepage