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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.

Overview

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. 18.2.1

  • 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, http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/LegalResources/rules/reporting/Report.pdf [https://perma.cc/772J-5ALP]. 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

  • Author (if available)
  • Titles
    • Use title bar or page-identifying heading
    • Include main page title and abbreviate it per T. 10 & 13 (use large & small cap font)
  • Date
    • Use dates that refer clearly to the material cited (for blogs, include time-date stamp)
    • Otherwise use last updated or last modified
    • Or last visited
  • URL (but not if it is too long or complicated -- use the root URL if that is the case and append a parenthetical)

Examples

Eric Goldman, When Should Search Engines Ignore Court Orders To Remove Search Results?,Tech. & Marketing L. Blog (Sept. 4, 2013), http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/09/when_should_sea.htm [https://perma.cc/U2AN-2TXE].

Bill Ong Hing, Understanding SB1070 from the Lens of Institutionalized Racism and Civil Rights, Legal Services N. Cal.: Race Equity Project, http://www.equity.lsnc.net/understanding-sb1070-from-the-lens-of-institutionalized-racism-and-civil-rights (last visited Sept. 9, 2015).

Bluebook R. 18.2.2: Perma cc

The 20th Edition of The Bluebook Rule 18.2.1(d) states:

“Archiving of Internet sources is encouraged, but only when a reliable archival tool is available.  For citations to Internet sources, append the archive URL to the full citation in brackets” – the rule includes the following example:

Letter from Rose M. Oswald Poels, President/CEO, Wis. Bankers Ass’n, to Elizabeth M. Murphy, Sec’y, SEC (Sept. 17, 2013), http://www.sec.gov/comments/s7-03-13/s70313-178.pdf [http://perma.cc/B7Z7D9DJ].

Perma.cc is also the example used to demonstrate the archived sources rule in the Rule 18.1 Basic Citation Forms for Internet Sources table on page 179:

Rocio Gonzalez, Puerto Rico’s Status Debate Continues as Island Marks 61 Years as a Commonwealth, Huffington Post (July 25, 2013, 9:00 AM), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/25/puerto-rico-status-debate_n_3651755.html [http://perma.cc/C6UP-96HN].

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

  • Original print citation
  • URL

Examples

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), http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/wome/woc/VisiblySuccessful.authcheckdam.pdf.

D. Andrew Austin & Mindy R. Levit, Cong. Research Serv., The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases (Aug. 27, 2013), http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/213995.pdf [https://perma.cc/RM46-46PS].

Short Form

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

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