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W&L Law’s Digital Repository Tops One Million Downloads

Scholarly Commons, the online institutional repository at Washington and Lee University School of Law, hit one million downloads on Sept. 5. The repository achieved this milestone in less than three years, faster than similar online collections at much larger institutions. W&L’s archive is one of only 14 Digital Commons law repositories to break the million-download threshold.

Scholarly Commons preserves and disseminates the intellectual output and history of the law school. It includes access to the faculty’s scholarship and the content of the school’s student-run journals. In addition, materials digitized from the Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Archives, home to the papers of the former U.S. Supreme Court Justice and W&L graduate, are available. Justice Powell’s Supreme Court Case files have been downloaded over 6000 times.

Content from Scholarly Commons has been downloaded by users in North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Australia, and Africa and in a total of 74 countries. W&L Professors Nora Demleitner, Joshua Fairfield, Lyman Johnson, Timothy Jost, David Millon, and Doug Rendleman have authored the most downloaded faculty scholarship. Together these authors account for 14,052 of the total 67,011 downloads in this series.

The bulk of the downloads come from the student journal archives. In all, 924,938 articles have been downloaded from the Washington and Lee Law Review, the Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, and the Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment. The most popular article is “Privacy and Freedom” by Alan F. Westin, published in the Washington and Lee Law Review in 1968. It has been a downloaded 7,546 times.

“It is exciting to see our faculty’s scholarship and our student’s work consumed on a world-wide basis,” said Caroline Osborne, Assistant Dean for Legal Information Services. “You can literally see in real-time via the readership map persons around the world downloading our content.”

Other schools in the one-million download club include Duke, Yale, UC Berkeley, Boston College and William and Mary.