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An Introduction to The Bluebook

Overview

This guide provides an introduction to The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (20th ed.), with a focus on preparing citations of selected materials for academic law journals. 

The reference librarians can help with your Bluebooking questions. Email lawlibref@ucdavis.edu, contact us via chat, call us at 530-752-0210, or schedule a Zoom video appointment.

Structure of the Bluebook

The Bluebook is divided into two main parts:

  • The Bluepages, in the front of the volume, provide rules on citing authority in non-academic legal documents.
  • The Whitepages, comprising the rest of the volume, provide rules on citing authority for academic law journals. Rules in the Bluepages often refer to the Whitepages.

There are several ways to quickly locate rules or citation examples:

Quick Reference: Law Review Footnotes table  Inside of the front cover
Quick Reference: Court Documents and Legal Memoranda table  Inside of the back cover                                           
Index (find rules and page numbers by keyword) Back of the volume
Table of Contents (find major rules and tables) Back cover

More Tips and Resources

  • The Bluebook website offers a Quick Style Guide to users who sign up for a free account. 
  • Lexis Advance offers the Interactive Citation Workstation, which offers practice exercises for Bluebooking a variety of legal materials. Find it in the menu in the top left corner after signing into Lexis Advance.
  • The Georgetown Law Library offers several video tutorials on Bluebooking statutes, case law, and law review articles.
  • The Harvard Law Library offers a guide on Bluebooking for LL.M. students with helpful FAQs.
  • The University of Washington Law Library's Bluebook 101 guide links to Bluebook citation Powerpoints and worksheets.
  • If you are stuck, try searching online databases containing law review articles, such as Westlaw, Lexis, and HeinOnline, for examples of Bluebook citations to the document you are citing.