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Bluebook Citation 101 -- Practitioner Format


The Bluebook requires citation to printed material (provided it is available), unless there is an authenticated, official, or exact digital copy of the printed sources.  See R. 18.2

  • Authenticated:  those sources using encryption based authentication such as digital signatures and public key infrastructure (preferred by The Bluebook - look for certificates, seals,or logos)
  • Official:  materials that a jurisdiction has designated as "official"
  • Exact Copy:  unaltered copy of the printed source in a format that preserves pagination and other format attributes (most likely PDF)

Example:  The Ohio Supreme Court has designated the Supreme Court website as the Ohio Official Reports for opinions of the courts of appeals and the Court of Claims. See Ohio Rep. Op. R. 3.2,  These opinions are in PDF format and bear a watermark.

Rule 18.2.2 Direct Citation to Internet Sources

If there is no print format or if the print format is obscure and is, for all practical purposes unavailable, cite to the most stable Internet source available.

Elements of citation:

  • Author (if available)
  • Titles
    • Use title bar or page-identifying heading (use descriptive title if needed)
    • Include main page title and abbreviate it per T. 13
  • Date
    • Use dates that refer clearly to the material cited
    • Otherwise use last updated or last modified
    • Or last visited
  • URL (but not too long or complicated)


Eric Goldman, When Should Search Engines Ignore Court Orders To Remove Search Results?,Tech. & Marketing L. Blog (Sept. 4, 2013),

Bill Ong Hing, Understanding SB1070 from the Lens of Institutionalized Racism and Civil Rights, Legal Services N. Cal., (last visited Sept. 5, 2013).

Rule 18.2.3 Parallel Citation to Internet Sources

A parallel citation to an Internet source may be provided if it substantially improves access to the source.  Follow the regular rules for citing the source and then add the parallel Internet citation.

Elements of Citation

  • Original print citation
  • Introduce the parallel citation with available at
  • URL


Commission on Women in the Profession, American Bar Association, From Visible Invisibility to Visibly Successful: Success Strategies for Law Firms and Women of Color in Law Firms (2008), available at

D. Andrew Austin & Mindy R. Levit, Cong. Research Serv., The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases (Aug. 27, 2013), available at

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 201-1 (date), available at

Traton News, L.L.C. v. Traton Corp., No. 12-4139 (6th Cir. June 11, 2013), available at

Short Form

  • Id., per R. 4.1
  • Supra per R. 4.2

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