Frequent Answers and Questions (FAQs) about the American Wiki Encyclopedia

Get fast answers to most of your questions. You can also use the Search tool at the page to find answers quickly.

Other resources:

About our Entries

What is an Orphan Work?
What is an Out-of-Print Work?
What is a Rightholder?

What are Orphan Works?. A work to which the rightholder cannot be identified or, if identified, cannot be located.(Definition as in the Final Report of 3.06.2008 of the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) – Copyright Subgroup on European Digital Libraries established by the Eurupean Commission in relation to the i2010 Digital Libraries initiative, as adopted by the HLEG on 4 June 2008.)

About Case Law

How far back do the case law databases go?
To determine the currency of a case law database, select to search only the one database and click Continue. This will bring up the search page for the database. Located at the page, beneath the last search field, is a link titled “Currency.” Clicking this link will send you to a page that lists the currency for that database.

How do I limit my search to one state in Federal District Court Opinions database?
On the Federal District Court Opinion search page, there is a field titled “District Court” where you can enter the state name you are searching for. If you are searching for multiple states, list all the state names you wish to search, separated by the OR connector.

Why did you change my submission?

We often edit submissions for reasons of spelling, grammar, or clarity, or to format them for visual consistency. We’re happy when a story submission comes in with no changes needed, but most comments get at least a tweak or two. Sometimes we’ll shorten a submission to emphasize its key points or points, remove links not relevant or central to the story posted, swap anchor text to make links easier to read, or substitute a better link for one that may be broken, expired or paywalled (or not the best link for some other reason). When two submissions offer different sources, we may combine them into a single story. Sometimes, too, we may fold links to relevant previous Encyclopedia of Law comments into the text, or add these links separately. Though we do so in good faith, we apologize in advance and strive to correct any errors that this tweaking introduces.

Could you explain why my submission was declined?

The Encyclopedia of Law tries to select the most interesting, timely, and relevant submissions, but can only run a fraction of those submitted; there are probably as many reasons for stories to get declined as there are stories. Think positive: read our submissions guidelines for some hints about increasing the chances that we’ll run yours.

Can I submit a comment anonymously?

Yes. If you log in, though, the editors can follow up with questions if for some reason we’d otherwise like to run your story but some crucial word or link is missing.

About Tags

What are tags?

Tags are text labels you can add to a story that help categorize stories by content or category. Clicking the tag icon will open a text field for tagging. Type in a tag, then press the space bar. Repeat for all tags you’d like to add to the entry in the Encyclopedia.

Note: Adding the same tag more than once does not increase its weight; once is enough. Tags help sort entries, and help you search for related ones. More tags help!

Everyone can see them! Tags are public and flexible (rather than private and permanent). So one day, we might define new system tags and usurp more namespace. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you!) Because tags on the Encyclopedia of Law are public, and are used to inform the moderation system, we monitor tag abuse. Please tag in good faith.

What syntax do tags require?

Tags should be all-lowercase; leave out punctuation and spaces—a space is used to enter multiple tags.
Numbers can appear but can’t be first. Smoosh them together: “law2,” not “law 2.”
Keep your tags brief (64 characters max).

What tags are defined?

Certain tags trigger alerts to the editors, which means there are a few cases where we poach the namespace a bit. Just a few, for now.

How can I see what others are tagging?

You can see some of the most popular tags at lawi.us/tags.

How can I see entry that have been tagged with a particular term?

For any tag, you can see the stories it’s been applied to by going to lawi.us/tag/$tag (replace “$tag” with the term you’re curious about).


Where can I get the Encyclopedia of Law’s main feed?

The syndication feed for the Encyclopedia of Law front page is available in RSS 0.9, RSS 1.0, and Atom 1.0 formats. Please don’t request feeds more than once every 30 minutes.

What other feeds are available?

On most pages, if there is feed content available, it will be noted in the of the page.
Wherever you see rss below, you can also substitute with atom to get an Atom 1.0 feed, such as content_type=atom and journal/atom, or append atom to the end of the rss.lawin.org URLs (although some feeds, like Zoo and some search results, need some more work for Atom).

Append the section name to the index link for individual section feeds.

Leave a Comment