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A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique string of numbers, letters, and symbols used to identify web-based information assets such as articles, multimedia items, and datasets. A digital object minted with a DOI will be persistently discoverable through this identifier, as long as it lives on the Web.

DOIs are already ubiquitous in citations in the medical and scientific literature, primarily because the discovery of, access to, and linkages between the scholarship in these disciplines happens almost exclusively online. As is true with most content on the web, scholarly content in the sciences is published on multiple platforms and may be archived in multiple locations. In light of the fact that one may be hard-pressed to create a reliable static URL that other researchers can refer to under these circumstances, those who publish in the sciences have arrived at a consensus that DOIs are the gold standard for making research outputs easier to find, use, and share.

Why, then, has the legal academy largely eschewed DOIs for legal citation? Discussions are certainly taking place, but currently there are no practical guidelines for implementing DOIs in legal citations. The Bluebook takes no position on them and authors and law review editors either ignore them or are largely unaware of their benefits.

This paper argues that the implementation and development of a standard for DOI in legal citation is long past due. It will lay out a roadmap for legal scholars, institutions, and vendors for implementing DOI, with helpful tips for authors, librarians, and law journals on minting DOIs; and will provide examples for the Bluebook on what a rule for integrating DOI in legal citation might look like.