As with any reference book, The Bluebook becomes easier to use once you know where to find the information you need. The Bluebook consists of four main sections.
The first section is the "Bluepages," which provide information on basic legal citation. The Bluepages contain condensed versions of the full rules and are intended to "provide easy-to-comprehend guidance for . . . everyday citation needs." (The Bluebook, p. 1). The next section is the full rules on citation and style. There are currently twenty-one rules on the basic standards of citation and how to cite specific legal documents. The third section contains sixteen tables that provide information on the proper authorities to cite and lists of abbreviations. Finally, The Bluebook has an index in the back that will help you find applicable rules.
The following table summarizes the main rules (R) and tables (T) of The Bluebook that will likely be most relevant to first-year law students. Typeface conventions are addressed in the text of The Bluebook (B).
|B2||6-7||Typeface conventions for court documents and legal memoranda|
|R1.2, R1.3 & R1.4||58-63||Introductory signals, order of signals, and order of authorities within signals|
|R4||78-81||Short citation forms (i.e., citing materials cited previously)|
|R14||143-148||Citing regulations and administrative materials|
|R18||178-189||Citing electronic sources and Internet sources|
|T1||233-306||Preferred U.S. federal and state sources and abbreviations|
|T6||496-498||Abbreviations for case names|
For a complete list of all the rules and tables, see the back cover of The Bluebook.