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Bluebooking and Legal Citation: Bluebooking Books and Treatises

Rules for Books and Treatises

  • B15- basic format for books and treatises in court documents.
  • R15- detailed format for books and treatises in academic writing.
  • R3.1-3.4- detailed rules for citing multivolume works, footnotes, sections, paragraphs, and more.
  • R15.5 has special rules for citing works in collection, such as collections of essays, letters, and speeches. 
  • R15.6 has special rules for citing prefaces, forewords, introductions, and epilogues.
  • R15.8 has special rules for citing specific works, including Ballentine's and Black's law dictionaries, C.J.S., Am.Jur., Blackstone's Commentaries, the Federalist, the Manual for Complex Litigation, the Bible, Shakespeare, and, of course, the Bluebook itself.

Warning!

 

Caution sign with hand on orange background.

Caution by kaneiderdaniel/ CC BY SA 3.0

Do not rely solely on this page to Bluebook.

Please keep in mind:

  1. Your professor or court system may have special rules.
  2. Rules or situations may have changed since this page was last updated.
  3. We may be wrong! 

Double check with your professor, outside guides, and the Bluebook rules themselves.

If you notice a mistake, please contact caitlin.hunter@lls.edu.

Basic Bluebook Format for Books and Treatises

Basic Format

For a single volume book with a single publisher and edition, the basic format is John Nockleby et al., The Journalist's Guide to American Law 44 (2013). For a book with multiple volumes, add the volume number in front of the citation. For a book with multiple publishers or editions, add the edition and/or publisher before the date. For example, 3 Dan B. Dobbs & Paul T. Hayden, The Law of Torts § 606 (2d ed. 2016).

Formatting Tips

  • In academic writing, the book's author and title are in small caps. To make small caps in Word or other Microsoft products, highlight the text and press Ctrl+Shift+K on a PC or Command+Shift+K on a Mac.
  • In court documents, the book's title is underlined
  • The rest of the citation is in normal type.
  • If a treatise is organized into sections (§) or paragraphs (¶), R3.3 says to pin cite to the section or paragraph. To make the § or ¶ symbol in Word, select Insert > Symbol, then select § or ¶. Click Insert to add the symbol or Shortcut Key to create an easy to remember keyboard shortcut, like Alt S or Alt P. (See Screencap tab.)

If you have no idea how to Bluebook these California specific sources, you are not alone.

Attorneys citing these sources in California state court use specific rules found in the California Style Manual. However, the Bluebook has no specific rules for these sources and attorneys and judges citing these sources in federal courts and law review articles have come up with a dizzying array of formats. Some simply use the formats from the California Style Manual, some tweak the California Style Manual formats to bring them closer to Bluebook style, and some craft their own unique and personal formats.

It's safest to ask your professor or law review editor what they prefer. However, if you do decide to strike out on your own, here are some possible formats:

Rutter: 1 Robert E. Weil et al., California Practice Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial ¶ 3:487 (2017) (Volume, author, title, paragraph, and year. In practice, it's common to include the publisher as (The Rutter Group 2017) but Bluebook R15.4(a)(iii) only requires the publisher if citing a version not from the original publisher.)

CalJur: 1 Cal. Jur. 3d Abandoned Property § 10 (2014) (Analogized to the Am. Jur. format shown in B15.1 & R15.8(a). Page 1 of the Bluebook tells you that if a source is not mentioned, you should analogize to similar formats.) 

Witkin: 5 B.E. Witkin, California Procedure Actions § 1012 (5th ed. 2008 & Supp. 2016) (Volume, author, title, subject, section, and year. Section numbers repeat within different subjects so, to ensure that your reader can find the right section, include the subject. Page 1 of the Bluebook reminds you that the central function of legal citation is to help your reader find the source.)

In academic writing, the author and title are in small caps and the subject (e.g. Abandoned Property, Actions) is in italics (without small caps). See the examples in R15.8(a).

The Bluebook does not provide a format for the California jury instructions but the instructions provide their own suggested citation formats on the backs of their title pages:

The suggested formats are:

  • For the entire set of criminal jury instructions: Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2016 edition)
  • For the entire set of civil jury instructions: Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2016 edition)
  • For individual criminal instructions: CALCRIM No. 1
  • For individual civil instructions: CACI No. 1
  • For individual civil verdict forms: CACI No. VF-1

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Finding Citation Information for Books and Treatises

In print, you can usually locate the author, title, publisher, edition, and year on the front and back of the title page.

Generally, R18.2 requires you to cite all sources in print or an exact copy of the print and R15.9(c) reiterates that only the print version of a book is authoritative. 

As a practical matter, Lexis and Westlaw provide most of the information you need to identify a source by copying the citation shown on the top of the screen. However, you will generally need to re-format the citation and will often need to check further down or at the beginning of the book to locate the author's full name, the full title, the pincite, the publisher, or the edition. (See Screeencap tabs.) Additionally, you will almost always need to check the print to confirm the correct year.

In print, the front and back of the title page usually provide all of the information you need. The format for the book below in court documents and memos is:

Marc Weller, Contested Statehood: Kosovo's Struggle for Independence (2009)

Author and Title Shown on Front of Title Page

Publication Date Shown on Back of Title Page

Westlaw provides the basic citation for Witkin at the top of the screen. However, the Bluebook requires you to provide the author's full name (B.E. Witkin) and the unabbreviated title (California Procedure), both shown just below the basic citation. Additionally, you will need to move the edition to the parenthetical and identify the year of the print version. (See the box below on Finding the Year In Print.) The final format for court documents and memos is: 

9 B.E. Witkin, California Procedure Appeal § 507 (5th ed. 2008 & Supp. 2016)

 

Westlaw provides the basic citation for Cal. Jur. at the top of the screen. If you format Cal. Jur. by analogy to the special Am. Jur. format in R15.8(a), the only additional information you need to gather is the year of the print version (See the box below on Finding the Year In Print.)  The final format for court documents and memos is:

57 Cal. Jur. 3d Secured Transactions § 183 (2010)

 

Westlaw provides the basic citation for Rutter at the top of the screen. However, the Bluebook also requires you to provide the author (Robert I. Weil et al.) and the unabbreviated title (California Practice Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial), both shown just below the basic citation. Additionally, for works such as Rutter that are divided into paragraphs, R3.3 requires you to cite to the paragraph, rather than the chapter. Although Lexis and Westlaw usually identify the volume for most sources, Westlaw does not do so for Rutter. You will need consult the print version to verify the volume. Finally, you will also need to consult the print version to confirm the correct year. (See the box below on Finding the Year In Print.)

The final format for court documents and memos is:

1 Robert E. Weil et al., California Practice Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial ¶ 3:487 (2017)

Basic Citation Information

Identifying Specific Paragraphs

Lexis provides the basic citation for the treatise at the top of the screen. However, the Bluebook also requires you to identify the author, edition, and correct title, found at the beginning of treatise. Because sections of treatises on Lexis are often long, you may also want to cite to a specific subsection, shown within the text (e.g. [1][a].) Additionally, Lexis commonly provides the chapter after the volume (here, 18-134) but the Bluebook only requires the volume (here, 18.) Finally, you will need to consult the print version to verify the year. (See the box below on Finding the Year In Print.) The final format for court documents and memos is:

18 James Wm. Moore et al., Moore's Federal Practice § 134.02[1][a] (3d ed. 2017)

Basic Citation At Top of Screen, with Subsection Beneath It

Check Beginning of Book for Additional Information, Such As Authors and Edition

Lexis provides the basic citation for the jury instructions at the top of the screen. There is no clear Bluebook format for the California jury instructions but the jury instructions themselves suggest using the format:

CACI No. 2302

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Formatting the Author's Name

  • Use the author's full name as it appears on the publication (R15.1.) The examples provided indicate that authors who use initials are acceptable (e.g. B.E. Witkin) but only using the last name (e.g. Witkin) is not.
  • For two authors, R15.1 requires you to use an ampersand (e.g. Laurie Levenson & Alex Ricciardulli). For more than two authors, R15.1 allows you to choose between commas and an ampersand (e.g. John Nockleby, Jay Dougherty, Victor Gold, Allan Ides, Laurie Levenson, Karl Manheim & Daniel Martin) or et al. (e.g. John Nockleby et al.) 

Formatting the Title

Provide the title as it appears on the title page. Although Lexis and Westlaw commonly abbreviate the title, R15.3 tells you to provide the full main title and specifically prohibits abbreviating or omitting words (e.g. California Procedure not Cal. Proc.) 

Including Editions, Publishers, Editors, and Translators

  • R15.4(a)(ii) tells you to insert the edition before the date if the work has been published in more than one edition. When citing a new edition of a book that is not regularly updated or revised (most non-legal books and some scholarly legal books), use a second parenthetical to indicate the date of the original edition. 
  • R15.4(a)(iii) tells you to insert the publisher before the edition if the book is not by the original publisher.
  • R15.2 tells you to insert any editors or translators before the edition or publisher. 

For example:

5 B.E. Witkin, California Procedure Actions § 1012 (5th ed. 2008 & Supp. 2016)

Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (H.M. Parshley ed. & trans., Bantam Books 2d ed. 1961) (1949)

Often, you will see citations that include the original publisher if it is particularly high profile (e.g. The Rutter Group, Cont. Ed. Bar, Matthew Bender). This can help readers identify the reputation and location of the source and is sometimes required by the California Style Manual (an alternative style manual commonly used in California state court.) However, including the original publisher is never required by the Bluebook and, if you are complying strictly with the Bluebook rules, you should generally not include Rutter, CEB, or Matthew Bender as publishers.

Finding the Year In Print

R15.4 tells you to identify the year of publication. Often, this is straightforward. Most books are published in only one or two editions and you can usually find the date on the front or back of the title page.

However, many major sets of legal books, such as AmJur, CalJur, and Witkin, are continuously updated by new volumes and by supplements- softcover pamphlets inserted in the back of a main volume ("pocket parts") or placed next to the volume to identify any updates after the main volume was published. To find the year for these books, check for your section in both the main volume and any supplements and then format the date as shown in R15.4(d) and R3.1(c):

  • If you are citing text found only in the hardcover volume, use the year from the hardcover volume: (2006)
  • If you are citing text found only in the supplement, use the year from the supplement with "Supp." in front of it: (Supp. 2008)
  • If you are citing text from both the hardcover volume and the supplement, combine the two dates with &: (2006 & Supp. 2008)

Usually, the only way to be certain if there is a supplement is to check the print version of the source. However, a few sources, most notably Witkin, provide the supplement information online. (See Screencap tabs.)

Check the Date of the Main Volume Where the Section Is Found

Locate the main volume where the section is found and check for the text of your section. If you can't find the text of your section in the main volume, it's likely in the supplement only (see next step.)

If you do find the text of your section, identify the year of publication. Here, it is shown on the title page as 2008.

Check For A Supplement in the Back of the Book or Next to the Book

Here, the supplement is inserted in the back of the book and is dated 2016.

Check If Your Section Is Edited or Added In the Supplement

Here, the supplement jumps directly from § 507 to § 509, indicating that § 507 and § 509 have been edited but § 508 has not.

Accordingly, the dates are:

9 B.E. Witkin, California Procedure Appeal § 507 (5th ed. 2008 & Supp. 2016)

9 B.E. Witkin, California Procedure Appeal § 508 (5th ed. 2008)

Witkin is unusual because it provides the print date online. The year of the main volume is shown at the top of the page- here, 2008. The year of the most recent supplement is shown just beneath it- here, 2016. If your section is updated in the supplement, a large link labeled Supplement appears at the top of the page indicating that you need to cite the supplement- here, as:

9 B.E. Witkin, California Procedure Appeal § 507 (5th ed. 2008 & Supp. 2016)

If there is no Supplement link, your section is not in the supplement and can be cited to the main volume, such as:

9 B.E. Witkin, California Procedure Appeal § 508 (5th ed. 2008)

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Finding the Year Online

Some professors allow students to cite to Lexis or Westlaw. If your professor allows this, use the date the source was last updated in the database. (See Screencap tabs.) Format according to the example in R15.9(a):

25 Am. Jur. 2d Elections § 100, Westlaw (database updated May 2017)

The Bluebook does not provide an example for Lexis but, using the Westlaw format as a model, the appropriate format appears to be:

25  Am. Jur. 2d Elections § 100, Lexis (database updated 2017)

Westlaw provides an update date at the top of each section.

Lexis does not provide a last updated date but does provides a copyright date at the bottom of each section and at the beginning of the publication.

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