The Bluebook recommends using online sources if the internet resource will improve access to the information. Rule 18.2.3 states that you should first cite to the print source and then include a parallel citation to the internet source. The URL of the internet source is generally included. This applies to all sources covered in Rules 10-17.
Ex. John Doe, Fables and Follies of Blue Booking, 10 LAW REVIEW 65, 68 (2012), http://www.johndoe.com/articles/archives/lm78winter2001p.65.htm.
When a source is only published online, Rule 18.2.2 states you should cite the most "stable" electronic location you can find. The citation should include all information that can most clearly direct the reader to the source, and will generally look very similar to a print citation of an article, including:
Steven Lee Myers, Despite Rights Concerns, U.S. Plans to Resume Egypt Aid, The New York Times (March 15, 2012), http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/world/middleeast/us-military-aid-to-egypt-to-resume-officials-say.html?_r=1&hp
The Bluebook states that you should cite to traditional print resources over electronic resources. However, there are instances when the electronic version is acceptable:
Also, there are three basic rules for using an internet source when citing:
The various forms of internet sources and their citation guidelines are covered below, but Rule 18.1 proves a useful table for quick reference.
If a case is not published in a reporter, then the Bluebook says that it is acceptable to cite to a database. Rule 18.3 outlines which cases will fall into this category and how to cite these selected cases. In your citation you should include:
[Case name, Docket number, Database name/number, at *page (court Month Day, Year).]
NOTE: Pinpoint citations in a commercial database will be different than in print, since they use something called "star pagination." To do a pinpoint cite to a commercial database, you include "at" and the star page in the cite.
Rule 18.3 says that statutes cited from an electronic database will look the same as the print citation, except in the date parenthetical. With citations to print volumes the date of publication of the actual volume is cited, but in electronic databases these statutes are continually updated. Hence, your date parenthetical for an online statute will include the currentness information provided by the database (ex. "current through 2012 Leg. Sess."), commercial publisher name, and database name in the parentheses. So, a citation will generally include:
[5 U.S.C. § 555 (West, Westlaw through 2011 Leg. Sess.).]
Legislative, administrative, and executive materials are also cited just as their print counterparts are, according to Bluebook Rule 18.3. The only difference is that the name of the database and the identifying numbers are added at the end of the citation, much like a parallel citation.
NOTE: The Bluebook states that if the name of the database is unclear from it's identifier, include the name parenthetically at the end of the citation.
Rule 18.3.4 of the the Bluebook states that you may cite electronic versions of books, periodicals, and other secondary materials as you would the print version as dictated by Rules 15-17.