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Bluebook Citation 101 -- Academic Format

If writing a scholarly article, you will need to provide correct attribution to your sources. This guide provides basic information on Bluebook citation in the scholarly format. Students writing seminar papers will find this guide invaluable.

Dictionaries

Rule 15.8 of The Bluebook (20th ed. 2015) governs the citation of dictionaries.

Elements

The citation should include the following:

  • Word (italicized)
  • Dictionary (large and small caps font)
  • Edition
  • Year

Example

Replevin, Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014).

Restatements of the Law

Rule 12.9 of The Bluebook (20th ed. 2015) covers the citation of restatements.

Elements

The citation should include the following:

  • Restatement series (large & small cap font)
  • Section
  • Copyright date of the volume

Example

Restatement (Third) of Torts § 46 (2012).

Legal Encyclopedias

Rule 15.8 and BT.1 of The Bluebook (20th ed. 2015) covers the citation of encyclopedias. 

Elements

The citation should include the following:

  • Volume
  • Encyclopedia abbeviation (large & small cap font)
  • Article title (underlined or italicized)
  • Section
  • Copyright date of the volume (in the parenthetical)

Examples

88 C.J.S. Trial § 192 (1955).

17 Am. Jur. 2d Contracts § 74 (1964).

14 Ohio Jur. 3d Civil Rights § 82 (2006).

Legal Periodicals

Rule 16 of The Bluebook (20th ed. 2015) covers the citation of law reviews.

Consecutively paginated law reviews and journals (R. 16.4)

Elements:

The citation should include the following:

  • Author's name
  • If the article is written by a student author, the designation of the piece
  • Title of the article (in italics)
  • Volume number (if no volume, use the year as the volume and don't put the year at the end)
  • Abbreviation of journal name (large & small caps font, see Tables 10,13, and 13.2 in the Bluebook; also see http://lib.law.washington.edu/cilp/abbrev.html for abbreviations)
  • The beginning page number
  • Year
Example

Charles A. Reich, The New Property, 73 Yale L.J. 733, 737-38 (1964).

Nonconsecutively paginated periodicals (R. 16.5)

The citation should include the following:

  • Author
  • Title of the article (in italics)
  • Abbreviation of journal name (large and small caps font, see Tables 10 and 13 in the Bluebook)
  • Date as it appears on the cover
  • the word "at"
  • The beginning page number

Example:

Susan A. Berson, Starting Up: If You're Hanging a Shingle in 2011, A.B.A. J., Jan. 2011, at 40.

Newspapers (R. 16.6)

 The citation format for newspapers and newsletters is largely the same as for nonconsecutively paginated periodicals. See your Bluebook for specific exceptions involving special designations, place of publication etc.

American Law Reports

Rule 16.7.6 of The Bluebook (20th ed. 2015) covers how to cite ALRs.

Elements

The citation should contain:

  • Author
  • The word "Annotation"
  • Title (italicized)
  • ALR volume
  • ALR series (large & small caps font)
  • Page number
  • Copyright date of volume

Example

William B. Johnson, Annotation, Use of Plea Bargain or Grant of Immunity as Improper Vouching for Credibility of Witness in Federal Cases, 76 A.L.R. Fed 409 (1986 & Supp. 2015).

Treatises

Rule 15 of The Bluebook (20th ed. 2015) covers citing treatises. There are many variables in citing a treatise so definitely consult the rule for its many permutations. 

Elements

Generally, a citation to a treatise should contain the following elements:

  • Volume (if applicable)
  • Author (large & small cap font) (see R. 15(b) for more than 2 authors and R. 15(c) for institutional authors)
  • Title (large & small cap font)
  • Section and/or Page
  • Editor, translators (if applicable)
  • Edition
  • Copyright Date

If you have an institutional author, abbreviate (use Tables 6 & 10) only if it is unambiguous. Do abbreviate United States.

Examples

2 Joseph M. Perillo & Helen Hadjiyannakis Bender, Corbin on Contracts § 1.1 (1993).

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