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An Introduction to The Bluebook

Overview

Rule 16 governs citing to periodical materials. These include continuously published materials such as law reviews and journals, other academic journals, newspapers, magazines, and newsletters. This section has been updated to reflect content in the 21st edition of The Bluebook.

Note the following:

  • Rules 16.1 and 16.3 specify that article titles need to be formatted in italics, but periodical titles should be formatted using both large and small caps. They must also be abbreviated according to Tables T13 (Institutional Names in Periodical Titles) and T10 (Geographic Terms)
  • Rule 16.7 covers "Special Citation Forms". This addresses student-written law review articles, book reviews, symposia, commentaries, multipart articles, and more.
  • Rule 16.8 discusses how to cite to periodicals available online or in commercial databases. 
  • Rule 16.9 contains guidelines for using id. and supra when citing to periodicals.
  • Rule 18.2 permits citation to online sources that are exact copies of printed sources. HeinOnline contains PDFs of the print versions of a vast number of law reviews and journals.

Tip: HeinOnline produces Bluebooked citations for law review & journal articles in their digital collection. When viewing an article in Hein, click on the "Cite" button located above the journal table of contents.

Consecutively Paginated vs. Nonconsecutively Paginated Periodicals

The Bluebook distinguishes between "consecutively paginated" and "nonconsecutively paginated" periodicals:

  • Rule 16.4 covers consecutively paginated periodicals, which include most law reviews. These are organized by volume and page numbers continue throughout all issues of the volume. For instance, Vol. 1, Issue 1 contains pages 1-100; Vol. 1, Issue 2 contains pages 101-200; and so forth. 
  • Rule 16.5 covers nonconsecutively paginated periodicals, which include many magazines. These have page numbers starting at 1 for each new issue.
Example law review citation (consecutively paginated) David A. Wallace & Shane R. Reeves, Protecting Critical Infrastructure in Cyber Warfare: Is It Time for States to Reassert Themselves?, 53 U.C. DAVIS L. REV. 1607, 1608 (2020).
Example magazine article citation (nonconsecutively paginated) Ethan Bernstein & Ben Waber, The Truth About Open Offices, HARV. BUS. REV., Nov.-Dec. 2019, at 83, 84.

Newspapers

Rule 16.6 governs citations to newspapers, which are generally cited like nonconsecutively paginated periodicals (with a few exceptions).

Print news articles may be cited as follows:

Evan Halper, Push Is On for Universal Voting by Mail, L.A. TIMES, Mar. 20, 2020, at A5.

Rule 16.6(f) governs citations to online newspapers, which may be cited instead of the print versions. Rule 18.2.2 also applies to these citations.

Evan Halper, Coronavirus Threatens the November Election. Can Vote by Mail Save It?,  L.A. TIMES (Mar. 19, 2020), https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-03-19/calls-mount-making-november-mail-in-ballot.