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Bluebook Citation


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Colleen Skinner
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LexisNexis Interactive Citation Workstation (ICW)

The Law Library recommends the LexisNexis Interactive Citation Workstation (ICW) as the best resource for practicing Bluebook citations. The resource is available through your LexisNexis login. The ICW allows you to practice citing sources and gives immediate corrections and guidance on properly citing. The ICW is updated yearly and so is applicable for the current Bluebook edition.

Basic Legal Citation

Introduction to Basic Legal Citation by Peter Martin (2020)

This free resource housed at the Legal Information Institute (LII) explains the reasoning behind legal citation forms and offers answers to common questions on citing print and electronic sources. Video tutorials and blogs help emphasize the instruction.


Information on this guide was borrowed with permission from Paul McLaughlin at Florida A&M University Libraries.


A screenshot of The Bluebook homepageThe Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation is the dominant citation authority governing how American legal documents are cited. Becoming familiar with its rules is essential for your legal career.  

It is vital that sources you rely on in your legal writing, such as cases, statutes, and regulations are cited with sufficient precision so they may be easily found by a reader of the document. Precise citation also indicates the jurisdiction and weight of a primary authority. A statement that is not cited indicates original thought, and should only take place when what you have written came entirely from your own head. Improper citation can result in a plagiarism accusation.

Bluebook Layout

The Bluebook is divided into four basic parts: the Bluepages, the Whitepages, the Tables, and the Index.

A screenshot of a bluepageThe Bluepages are found at the beginning of the book and are blue in color. The Rules begin with the letter "B" and are used by practitioners as a guide to citing court documents and legal memoranda.  




A screenshot of a whitepageThe Whitepages are the in-depth rules of citation and style. The pages are white in color with a dark blue bar across the top of the page. The Rules begin with the letter "R" and are used by legal scholars writing law review articles. There are 21 rules in the Whitepages, and they can be subdivided into two major groups. Rules 1-9 cover the general citation standards, while Rules 10-21 are the rules for specific sources, such as cases, statutes, books, and articles.


A screenshot of Bluebook tablesThe Tables are used in conjunction with the rules. The pages are white with a dark blue bar down the outside edge of each page. They are used by both practitioners and scholars and contain information on which authority to cite and how to abbreviate words. Finally, the Index is a comprehensive listing of all of the Bluebook's content.

Useful Bluebook Features

The Bluebook has several useful features to help you locate the appropriate rule to cite your source.

Inside front cover: A quick reference guide to the Whitepages that provides examples of citations to commonly used rules.

Table of Contents: Provides a list of the contents of The Bluebook, including a list of rules and subrules and their page numbers.

Index: An index of topics and where to find information on those topics in The Bluebook. (Example: Not sure which rule to use to cite the Model Rules of Professional Conduct? Look up "model" or "professional" in the Index and it will refer you to page 133, where there is a sub-rule on how to cite to that source.)

Inside back cover: A quick reference guide to the Bluepages that provides examples of citations to commonly used rules.

Reference Chart




Pages in BB


Typeface, citation placement, signals, and other style matters.



Local Citation Rules

Explanation of how to convert Bluebook citations to local citation styles found in local courts.




Citing federal and state cases.

Rule 10


Short Forms for Cases Citing the same authority multiple times. Rule 10.9 116


Citing federal and state constitutions.

Rule 11



Citing federal and state statutes.

Rule 12


Legislative Materials

Citing federal and state legislative materials.

Rule 13


Administrative Materials

Citing administrative and executive materials

Rule 14



Citing books, reports, white papers, treatises, dictionaries, and encyclopedias.

Rule 15



Citing law reviews, magazines, and periodicals.

Rules 16 & Rule 17


Electronic Sources

Citing internet sources, such as Westlaw and LexisNexis.

Rule 18


U.S. Tables

Official names of reporters and statutory compilations for U.S. federal and state courts.




Abbreviations for case and court names, phrases, geographic places, government organizations and periodicals.




Comprehensive index to entire Bluebook

Back of Bluebook


Adapted from Georgetown Law Library