Bluebook Guide

The purpose of this guide is to introduce The Bluebook and basic concepts of legal citation to new law students.

Supplemental Materials

The library collection includes several resources useful for students and researchers just starting to use legal citations generally and Bluebook format citations specifically.

  • The current edition of the User's Guide to the Bluebook can be found under the call number KF245 .D853 in the Williams library.  The 2000 edition is available online.  It is a useful guide for students just beginning to use The Bluebook.
  • The current edition of Understanding and Mastering the Bluebook can be found under the call number KF245.B37.  The 2007 edition is available online.  This is a convenient collection of explanations of the Bluebook rules.
  • The current edition of Legal Citation in a Nutshell can be found under the call number KF245.T47 and is also available online.  This resource is useful for explaining the components of a legal citation and reviewing how they are presented in Bluebook format.

Further resources are maintained by the Writing Center; a collection of Bluebook-related guides may be found under the heading "Bluebook Citation" on its Guides and Handouts page.

Citation Practice

As noted previously, The Bluebook is a vast, complex citation manual, and it will take some time (and a lot of patience) to learn the rules and understand legal citation. The best way to learn The Bluebook is simply to start using it.

One resource for additional practice with legal citation is Lexis's Interactive Citation Workstation (ICW). ICW is an online tutorial that helps law students build their basic citation skills. It is a good supplement to the instruction provided in introductory legal research and writing courses.  Login to Lexis and go to Interactive Citation Workstation (found under the Lexis product switcher). For more information, see the LexisNexis Interactive Citation Workstation Guide for Students.