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Cite Checking Resources: Introduction to Cite Checking

This guide is designed to help law students start their first cite checking assignment, and is also intended to be a reference that students can return to at anytime for assistance with typical cite checking questions.

Introduction to Cite Checking

This guide is designed to help you start your first cite checking assignment, and it is also intended to be a reference that you can return to at anytime for assistance with typical cite checking questions.  Please come to the reference desk if you have questions about individual citations.  We are happy to help.

How to Cite Check

The remainder of this guide will provide details to help you with the following steps in the cite checking process:

Preparing & organizing

Locating and pulling sources

Checking sources

  • Check the accuracy of the author, title, publication year, and page numbers.
  • Check that all claims are supported by the sources that are cited.
  • Check that pinpoint citations, id., supra, and infra cross-references are provided and correct.
  • Confirm that the source is current.
    • Shepardize or Keycite, and check the supplement when applicable.

Bluebooking

  • Check that the citation form conforms to the Bluebook.

Preparing

  • Read your assigned footnotes and text.
    • Footnotes are often divided into ranges.
    • You may have to read some parts of the article outside your range.
  • Familiarize yourself with editing symbols or word processing tools (e.g. track changes).
  • Organize yourself (e.g. create a spreadsheet with an entry for each source or just look through all of your footnotes and determine which are books, which are articles, which are available online, etc.).
  • Locate and pull sources.

Organize yourself before pulling sources

Some journals require cite checkers to create a spreadsheet with an entry for each source in each footnote that they are responsible for checking (you can view a sample in the "Documents" box on the left side of this page).  The column headings in this spreadsheet may include: Footnote Number, Author, Title, Source &Date, Call No./URL, Current Location, etc.  Once such a spreadsheet is completed, it can be sorted in a number of ways to save time during the process of pulling the sources.  If you have a large number of footnotes/sources for which you are responsible, you can save time by grouping like resources together.  If you pull all of the cases at one time, then pull all of the articles next, and then locate all of the books, you will be using your time more efficiently!

Many journals do not require that cite checkers make a spreadsheet, but even if you decide not to do so, it will be easier to locate and pull your sources if you look through your assigned footnotes and mentally group the like sources together.  For instance, if you are sitting down in front of your computer with the library’s online catalog open in your browser, you may want to flip through all of your footnotes and pick out all of the citations to books, looking up each book in the online catalog and leaving all of the other citations for a second round in which you might focus solely on cases or articles, etc.