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Cite Checking Resources: Bluebooking

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.


The next step in completing a cite check assignment is Bluebooking.

  • Check that the form of the citation conforms to the Bluebook.

Getting to Know Your Bluebook (21st Edition)

Getting to Know Your Bluebook
21st Edition [page numbers in blue]

I.   Familiarize yourself with the sections of the Bluebook

a.   Use post-it flags to mark important sections

b.   Some major sections that you may want to flag:

i.   Cases (p.95)

ii.   Statutes (p.120)

iii.  Legislative (p.135)

iv.  Books (p.147)

v.   Periodicals (p.157)

vi.  Electronic (p.174)

c.   Some additional sections to flag:

i.   California jurisdiction table (p.246)

ii.  Case name abbreviations (p.304)

iii.  Journal title abbreviations (p.304 & 312)

iv.  Signals (p.62)

v.   Parentheticals (p.65)

vi.  Quotations (p.83)

II.  Learn the most common rules

a.   How to cite periodicals

i.   Including typeface (R.16) & journal title abbreviations (T.6 & T.13)

b.   How to use signals

i.   Including formatting and typeface (R.1.2; R.2.1(d))

c.   How to cite books

i.   Including the multiple authors rule (R.15.1(b))

d.   How to cite cases

i.   Including typeface (R.2.1 & R.2.2)

ii.   Including using the state tables (T.1)

iii.  Including unreported cases (R.10.8.1 & R.18.3)

e.   How to order signals and authorities  (R.1.3 & R.1.4)

f.   How to cite statutes

i.   Including whether/when a date is required (R.12.3.2)

g.   How to cite electronic materials (R.18)

h.   How to cite legislative materials (R.13)

i.   How to format quotations (R.5.1)

i.   Including how to format an ellipsis (R.5.3)

j.   Whether to italicize a period (seriously!) (R.4.1)

Other Bluebooking Resources