Internet-based materials are more and more commonly cited in all kinds of legal documents, including judicial opinions. One problem raised by this practice is the ephemeral nature of web pages, which often change URLs or simply disappear with little or no notice. At the same time, there is obvious value in seeking out and citing relevant information on the web.
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