The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation
A Uniform System of Citation, a style guide, prescribes the most widely used legal citation system in the United States. The Bluebook is compiled by the Harvard Law Review Association, the Columbia Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal. Currently, it is in its 19th edition. It is so named because its cover is blue. <ref> http://www.legalbluebook.com/Public/Introduction.aspx</ref>
Structure of The Bluebook
The Bluebook contains three major parts. The first part is the Bluepages, a how-to guide for basic legal citation. Unlike the remainder of The Bluebook, which is designed in a style and at a level of complexity commensurate with the needs of the law journal publication process, the Bluepages provide easy-to-comprehend guidance for the everyday citation needs of first-year law students, summer associates, law clerks, practicing lawyers, and other legal professionals. The examples used throughout the Bluepages are printed using simple typeface conventions common in the legal profession.
The second part is the heart of the Bluebook system of citation: the rules of citation and style. This part is subdivided into two main sections. The first section, consisting of rules 1 through 9, establishes general standards of citation and style for use in all forms of legal writing. The second section, consisting of rules 10 through 21, presents rules for citation of specific kinds of authority such as cases, statutes, books, periodicals, and foreign and international materials. The examples used throughout this part are printed using typeface conventions standard in law journal footnotes.
The third part consists of a series of tables to be used in conjunction with the rules. The tables show, among other things, which authority to cite and how to abbreviate properly. Individual tables are referenced throughout the book. Finally, there is a comprehensive index. <ref> http://www.legalbluebook.com/Public/Introduction.aspx</ref>
General Principles of Citation
The central function of a legal citation is to allow the reader to efficiently locate the cited source. Thus, the citation forms in The Bluebook are designed to provide the information necessary to lead the reader directly to the specific items cited. Because of the ever-increasing range of authorities cited in legal writing, no system of citation can be complete. Therefore, when citing material of a type not explicitly discussed in this book, try to locate an analogous type of authority that is discussed and use that citation form as a model. Always be sure to provide sufficient information to allow the reader to find the cited material quickly and easily. <ref> http://www.legalbluebook.com/Public/Introduction.aspx</ref>
The current edition of The Bluebook retains the same basic approach to legal citation established by its predecessors. The layout of The Bluebook has been updated to make the information easier to access. Some citation forms have been expanded, elaborated upon, or modified from previous editions to reflect the ever-expanding range of authorities used in legal writing and to respond to suggestions from the legal community. <ref>http://www.legalbluebook.com/Public/Introduction.aspx</ref>