The Bluebook is organized into three major parts. The Bluepages are found in first part of the Bluebook and are designed to guide practitioners in citations for non-academic legal materials such as court documents and legal memoranda.
The second portion of the Bluebook, the white pages, sets forth the Rules and contains detailed explanation and examples of the Rules. The white pages employ typeface conventions for law journal footnotes throughout. Rules 1-9 in the white pages present general citation standards; Rules 10-21 present rules of citation for specific types of authority.
The Tables are found in the third portion of the Bluebook. The Tables provide comprehensive information on abbreviations and citation conventions for specific jurisdictions. Table 1 covers United States jurisdictions and Table 2 covers foreign jurisdictions. Table 1 is further subdivided into four parts. Table T1.1 covers federal judicial and legislative materials; Table T1.2 covers federal administrative and executive materials; Table T1.3 covers states and the District of Columbia; Table T1.4 covers other United States jurisdictions, such as Puerto Rico and the Navajo Nation.
The Bluebook has both a table of contents and a subject index. Review the table of contents to obtain a general understanding of the organization of the Bluebook. Use the index to locate specific information.
Bluebooking for Practitioners and for Legal Writing
Students drafting legal research and writing assignments should begin by consulting the Quick Reference for practitioners on the inside back cover for examples of common citation forms. The Quick Reference further directs the user to greater detail found in the Bluepages, as well as to the corresponding Rules. If the Quick Reference does not seem to direct you to appropriate Bluepages or Rules, look at the Table of Contents or use the Index in the back of the Bluebook. Use Table 1 to ensure that you are using the appropriate abbreviations and format for the jurisdiction. It is important to know that many jurisdictions have unique citation practices. Those practices take precedence over Bluebook rules when submitting documents to those courts. (Bluepages Table 2).
Beware - Typeface conventions for law reviews are different from those for legal memoranda and court documents.
Remember that the white pages of the Bluebook are directed toward law review footnotes. Check the inside back cover or the Bluepages to determine what should be underlined or italicized in legal memoranda.
Bluebooking for Law Journals and Research Papers
Begin with the Quick Reference on the inside front cover which outlines common citation formats for law review footnotes. The Quick Reference will direct you to general Rules in the white pages. The Rules elaborate on the information found in the front table. If the Quick Reference does not seem to direct you to appropriate Rules, look at the Table of Contents or use the Index in the back of the Bluebook.
Bluebook 19th Edition
One hundred pages longer than the previous edition, the 19th Edition includes several major changes including considerable expansion & clarification regarding citing to material found on the internet, improved coverage of administrative agency materials, and increased guidance for citing to foreign and international sources.
Beware - if you ‘import’ a citation from an older publication, verify that the citation style has not been revised in the 19th edition.
Changes to the Bluepages found in the 19th edition include a complete renumbering as well as guidance for citing to electronic case filings (B7.1.4), a new entry on citing internet sources (B10), and improved guidance for the use of quotations. (B12).
Rule 1.5(b) now expands upon the directives found in Rule 10.6.3, dealing with the order of multiple parentheticals in single case citations. New Rule 10.4(b) now allows the writer to omit the court abbreviation in case citations if the jurisdiction “is unambiguously conveyed by the reporter title”.
The most significant changes to the Bluebook appear in Rule 18, particularly Rule 18.2:
“The Bluebook requires the use and citation of traditional printed sources when available, unless there is a digital copy of the source available that is authenticated, official, or an exact copy of the printed sources as described in Rule 18.2.” (emphasis added)
Other noteworthy changes to Rule 18 include instruction on author information (Rule 18.2.2(a)) and guidance on providing information about dates, including time stamps for blogs (Rule 18.2.2(c)).Time stamps for audio and video recordings, including podcasts (such as YouTube), are also described (Rules 18.6 & 18.7).
Extensive reorganization of Rule 14 dealing with citation to administrative materials is particularly timely considering the growing importance of administrative law. The new rule 14 has been compressed and become more intelligible. Much of the information previously found under Rule 14 has been moved to Table T1.2 which now has agency by agency citation details.
Rule 20.2.4, which deals with languages that do not use the Roman alphabet, has been expanded to include detailed citation instructions for Chinese language materials.
Rule 21 has been revised considerably, including the removal of the entry for the East African Court of Appeal and the addition of the International Criminal Court to Rule 21.5.7 and ICSID to Rule 21.6. Rule 21.7.11 clarifies the format for citing to U.N. materials found on the internet. Rule 21.9 now explains how to cite to the various European Union treaties since the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009.
Noteworthy new features of Table 1 include public domain citation information and reorganization into 4 subparts. Table 2 now includes internet sources for foreign jurisdictions and the addition of entries for seven countries not previously included.