Skip to Main Content

Bluebook Basics

A short primer on Bluebook citation formats for federal and state cases and statutes, as well as books, journals, and other secondary sources. N.B. Citation examples use non-academic citation format (i.e., the format for briefs and legal memoranda).

Books, Reports & Other Nonperiodic Materials - Examples

Rule B15 (page 22) & Rule 15 (page 147)

  • Single volume book
    • Carol Gilligan, In a Different Voice 125 (1982).
  • Book with multiple volumes
    • 3 Michael B. Mushlin, Rights of Prisoners § 2.2 (4th ed. 2009).

For additional examples, see the Basic Bluebooking--Secondary Sources in Legal Documents tipsheet, provided courtesy of the Law Library at the Pace Law School. 

Periodical Materials - Examples

  • Consecutively paginated journals
    • Rules B16.1.1 (page 23) & Rule 16.4 (page 160). Table T13 (page 320) provides a list of institutional names in periodical titles. 
    • Corinna Barrett Lain, Upside-Down Judicial Review, 101 Geo. L.J. 113, 122 (2012).
  • Student-written materials (notes, comments, recent developments, etc.)
    • Rules B16.1.3 (page 24) & Rule 16.7.1 (page 163), table T13 (page 320)
    • Robert Johnson, Note, Extraordinary Rendition: A Wrong Without a Right, 43 U. Rich. L. Rev. 1135 (2009). 
  • Non-consecutively paginated journals
    • B16.1.2 (page 24) & Rule 16.5 (page 160), & table T13 (page 320)
    • Thomas Keil & Tomi Laamanen, When Rivals Merge, Think Before You Follow Suit, Harv. Bus. Rev., Dec. 2011, at 25.
  • Newspapers
    • B16.1.4 (page 24) & Rule 16.6 (page 161) & table T13 (page 320)
    • Linda Greenhouse, The Court Changes the Game, N.Y. Times, June 30, 2009, at A21.
For additional examples, see the Basic Bluebooking--Secondary Sources in Legal Documents tipsheet, provided courtesy of the Law Library at the Pace Law School. 

Special Citation Forms

  • Rule 15.8 (page 153)
    • 17 Am. Jur. 2d Animals § 27 (2007).
    • Black’s Law Dictionary 750 (9th ed. 2009).
  • American Law Reports annotations 
    • Rule 16.7.6 (page166)
    • Marjorie A. Shields, Annotation, Snowboarder's  Liability for Injuries to or Death of Another Person, 15 A.L.R.6th 161 (2006).

For additional examples, see the Basic Bluebooking--Secondary Sources in Legal Documents tipsheet, provided courtesy of the Law Library at the Pace Law School.


Rule 18.2 (page 176)

The Bluebook prefers citation to print sources over online sources, unless the online source is an official, exact copy of a printed source. If the online sources is an authenticated, official, and exact copy of a print source, cite to it as if in print. If the online source "shares characteristics of a print source," (that is, it is fully divided into permanent page numbers like a PDF, and has elements of a print source such as volume numbers and publication dates), then cite the source as as if it was print, and append the URL to the end. 


Rule 18.2.2 (page 177)

Internet Sources

If an internet source cannot be cited as a print source (see Rule 18.2), then cite according to Rule 18.2.2. See examples on pages 174-175 for clarification. Follow typical typeface and other rules according to analogous Bluebook rules regarding author, title, abbreviation, etc. 

In general,

  • (a) Provide the author's name when available, or institutional author when no author is clearly indicated

Eric Posner, More on Section 7 of the Torture Convention, Volokh Conspiracy (Jan. 29, 2009, 10:04 AM),

The Butterfly Conservatory, Am. Museum of Nat. Hist., (last visited Feb. 13, 2020).

  • (b) Use the webpage "Title" either taken from the "title bar" at the top of the browser or from another clearly announced heading. 

David Waldman, This Week in Congress, Daily Kos (Jan. 19, 2009, 12:20 PM),

  • (c) Include the date and time as provided by the website, preferably in the form of a "time stamp". If no date or time are provided, use a parenthetical "last visited" note. e.g. (last visited Dec. 15, 2004). 
  • (d) Append the URL of the source as it appears in the browser bar. 
  • (e) It is encouraged to use website archiving tools (like to ensure readers a reliable way to access the cited sources. Append the archival URL after the browser URL in brackets. 

Letter from Rose M. Oswald Poels, President/CEO, Wis. Bankers Ass’n, to Elizabeth M. Murphey, Sec’y, SEC (Sept. 17, 2013), [].


Rule 15.9 (page 154)

Commercial electronic databases

  • When citing secondary materials from a commercial database like Westlaw or Lexis+, provide the complete citation according to Rule 15 as well as a citation to the database.

Abbey G. Hairston, Leave and Disability Coordination Handbook 110 (2009), Westlaw LDCHBK.

25 Am. Jur. 2d Elections § 100, Westlaw (database updated May 2014).


All examples taken from The Bluebook, 21st edition

Short Form Citation

Rule B15.2 (short form books) (page 23), B16.2 (short form consecutively paginated journals) (page 24) & Rule 15.10 (page 155)

"Use id. to refer to a book or other nonperiodical material cited in the immediately preceding citation. Otherwise, use 'supra.'" [1] 

"Once a book, report, or other nonperiodic material has been cited in full ..., a short form employing either 'id.' or 'supra' may be used to refer to the work in subsequent citations." [2] 

Rule 4 (page 79) addresses the use of short citation forms, including the use of 'id.' in Rule 4.1 (page 79) and use of 'supra' in Rule 4.2 (page 81). 

Look at the examples listed in Rule B15.2 on page 23 of the Bluebook. 


[1] The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation 23 (21th ed. 2020). 
[2] Id. at 155.  

Book Citation - Single Volume

Book Citation Example

Book Citation - Multivolume Book

Multivolume Book Citation Example

Article Citation

Law Review Article Citation Example

Legal Encyclopedia Citation

Encyclopedia Citation Example

American Law Reports Citation

ALR Citation Example