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Bluebook Guide: Periodical materials

A LibGuide to the Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. Updated for the 20th edition.

Periodical title not listed in T13?

Have no fear!

Use T10 (Geographical Terms) and T13 to create a Bluebook abbreviation.

For example, the fictional "Philadelphia Journal of Law and Order" would be abbreviated:

Philadelphia → Phila. (T10.1 U.S. states, cities and territories)

Journal → J.

of → (omitted, see explanation at beginning of T13 on p. 510)

Law → L.

and → &

Order → Ord.

(Spacing follows R6.1. No space between L. and J.)

Giving you...

Phila. J.L. & Ord.

Other periodicals

Not all periodical citations are citations to articles written by professors and published in consecutively paginated law journals. 

Here's a cheat sheet for the Bluepages and Whitepages rules for citations to different periodicals:

  • Nonconsecutively paginated journals and magazines: B9.1.2, R16.5
  • Student-written work: B9.1.3, R16.7.1
  • Newspaper articles: B9.1.4, R16.6

Additional help with the bluebook

Periodical citation: B16

The periodical citation rules, the rules for journals, magazines, and newspaper articles, start at B16 on page 23 of your Bluebook.  You will find that the bluepages rules for these sources are fairly skeletal and mostly refer to the applicable whitepages rules.

Remember, if you are citing sources for non-academic legal writing, you should follow the typeface conventions in the bluepages, even if you are applying a whitepages rule.  For more, see B1 or the "Bluepages" page of this guide.

Full citation: B16.1

First, let's assume that you are citing a law journal.  The first thing to note is that most law journals are what the Bluebook calls "consecutively paginated journals."  Hence, you will follow B16.1.1 to create a full citation to an article in such a journal.  (As noted above, B16.1.1 provides very little guidance and points you to R16.)

Example: Nuno Garoupa & Chris William Sanchirico, Decoupling as Transactions Tax, 39 J. Legal Stud. 469, 470 (2010).

created from this:

39 JLEGST 469 

Journal of Legal Studies
June, 2010
 DECOUPLING AS TRANSACTIONS TAX
Nuno Garoupa, Chris William Sanchirico

A full citation to a consecutively paginated journal has seven elements:

  1. author(s) R16.2
    1. Bluebook rule tells you to follow R16.1.1 (rule for books and other non-periodic materials), but use ordinary type
    2. List authors' names in the order in which they appear, separated by an ampersand ("&")
  2. title of work R16.3
    1. cite the full title as it appears on the title page
    2. capitalize according to R8: generally, capitalize all words except articles, conjunctions, or prepositions when they are four or fewer letters
  3. volume number
  4. abbreviated periodical name 
    1. See T13 for abbreviations of most publications
    2. Can create an abbreviation using T13 and T10, see sidebar on this page
  5. first page of article
  6. pincite
  7. year of publication

 

Short form citation: B16.2

When can you use a short form?  Once you've given a full citation to a work from a periodical, you can use a short form in subsequent citations.

Two basic short forms for periodicals:

  1. Id.: used to refer to periodical material cited in immediately preceding citation
  2. Supra: see B15.2
    1. used as a short form when Id. is not appropriate
    2. contains: author's last name, "Supra," (underlined up to but not including the comma), and a new pincite
    3. where your document cites to more than one source by the same author, include a short reference to the title of the cited source.  i.e. Feinberg, Mediation, supra, at 15.

Remember: The above example are for short form citations in court documents and legal memoranda.  For those in law review text and footnotes, see R16.9.  For Id. and Supra in footnotes, see R 4.1 and R 4.2, respectively.