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Pritzker Legal Research Center


Legal Citation & Organizing Research

Overview

If you are new to legal citations, The Bluebook can feel overwhelming and intimidating. The resources on this page will help you familiarize yourself with The Bluebook and understand how to cite legal materials in proper Bluebook format. 

The publisher does not offer an institution-wide subscription to the online version of The Bluebook, but you may be interested in purchasing it for personal use because it allows you to search The Bluebook by keyword and access it anywhere.

We also have print copies of The Bluebook available for checkout in our Study Aids section (located behind the circulation and reference desks). 

Bluepages vs. Whitepages

The Bluebook is primarily written for academics and practitioners. If you are writing a brief or motion that will be filed with a court, then follow the Bluepages. The Bluepages (located toward the beginning of The Bluebook and literally printed on blue paper) provide guidance on how to include in-text citations. Alternatively, if you are writing a law review article or research paper, then follow the Whitepages. The Whitepages provide guidance on how to use citations in footnotes. The numbering scheme for both the Bluepages and Whitepages correspond with one another (e.g., B10 and R10 both address how to cite cases, B16 and R16 both address how to cite periodical materials, etc.). 

The main difference between citations following the Bluepages and citations following the Whitepages is the typeface used. For instance, titles of books and articles are italicized in non-academic citations (Bluepages). In contrast, titles of books use large and small caps but titles of articles in periodicals use italics in academic citations (Whitepages). 

For convenience and easy reference, the front cover of the Bluebook provides examples of commonly used citation forms in law review footnotes while the back cover provides examples of commonly used citations forms in briefs and memoranda. 

Tutorials & Guides

The LexisNexis Interactive Citation Workstation is an online tutorial offering many exercises on how to correctly cite to material in Bluebook format. To access this workstation, click on the tiles in the upper left corner of Lexis and then select "LexisNexis Interactive Citation Workstation."

The following resources are available in print at the law library. 

No Relevant Examples?

It is not uncommon for the The Bluebook to lack a relevant example for how to cite a particular type of source. If you are a member of a journal and are cite-checking an article, first check your journal's internal guide (e.g., Purplebook) for guidance. Otherwise, look at the past practices of your journal to see how this source (or a similar source) has been cited in a previous issue. Alternatively, check the practices of other reputable law journals (e.g., Harvard Law Review, Columbia Law Review, and The Yale Law Journal).