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An Introduction to The Bluebook

Overview

Rule 15 covers books, treatises, encyclopedias, reports, white papers, dictionaries, and all other "nonperiodic materials" (meaning they are not continuously published, such as newspapers or law journals).

Rule 15.9 governs how to cite to online books and nonperiodic materials, including ebooks and materials in commercial databases. If materials are available both in print and in a commercial database, their database version may be cited.

Special notes for citing books:

  • Rules 15.1 and 15.3 specify that book titles and author names (both individual and institutional) should be in large and small capitals.
  • Rule 15.8 covers "Special Citation Forms" for frequently-cited or well-known works, such as: Black's Law Dictionary, American Jurisprudence, The Federalist Papers, the Bible, and others.
  • Rule 15.10 covers the use of id. and supra when referring to already-cited books and other nonperiodic materials.

Below are examples of citations to commonly cited types of nonperiodic materials. *While large capitals are used in these examples, Rule 15 calls for use of both large and small capitals, as noted above.

Book with single author: KAARYN S. GUSTAFSON, CHEATING WELFARE: PUBLIC ASSISTANCE AND THE CRIMINALIZATION OF POVERTY 1 (2011). 
Ebook

ISMATU ROPI, RELIGION AND REGULATION IN INDONESIA 17 (2017) (ebook).

*Rule 15.9(c) notes that "ebooks should cited only if they are the sole media through which the book is available." Cite first to print book versions, if available.

Online government report GENE FALK ET AL., CONG. RES. SERV., WORK REQUIREMENTS, TIME LIMITS, AND WORK INCENTIVES IN TANF, SNAP, AND HOUSING ASSISTANCE 4 (2014), https://greenbook-waysandmeans.house.gov/sites/greenbook.waysandmeans.house.gov/files/R43400_gb.pdf. 

Legal encyclopedia in Lexis

2 AM. JUR. 2D Adoption 1, Lexis (database updated 2020).
Legal dictionary in Westlaw Breach of Care, BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY (11th ed. 2019), Westlaw (database updated 2019).