Notes on the 21st Edition
The 21st edition of the Bluebook, released in July 2020, makes several changes from the 20th edition. For a summary of the changes, see the Preface to the 21st Edition on the Bluebook's website. Table T2, covering foreign jurisdictions, has been removed from the print edition but is freely available online: Link to T2 on the Bluebook's website. One change of particular relevance to journal cite-checkers: Tables T6 and T13.2 have been combined, so you no longer have to check one table to abbreviate common words in case names and another to abbreviate common words in periodical titles.
Sometimes The Bluebook can be ambiguous or does not contain a good example for how to cite a source you may encounter. In many situations, you may need to consult your law journal's internal style manual (e.g., The Redbook). Additionally, the following resources are designed to offer guidance on using The Bluebook.
You will encounter some citations that do not seem similar to any of the examples provided in The Bluebook. For guidance, one trick is to look at the practices of the law reviews that edit The Bluebook (Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and Yale Law Journal) as well as the past practices of your law journal to see how they have cited your source in previously published articles. Of course, the editors of these law journals may have been incorrect in their decision on how to properly cite the source, but it is still often helpful to see how other editors have interpreted the rules.
To easily search the content of other law journals for your source, you may wish to create a group of peer journals on Westlaw:
1. After logging in, you should see a "Favorites" box on the right hand side. (If you do not, scroll down to the bottom of the page, select "Edit home page," and then check "Favorites.")
2. Click on "Organize."
3. Click on "Add a Group," create a new group for "Peer Journals," and click on "Done Organizing" after saving it.
4. Start typing in "Harvard Law Review" into the general Westlaw search bar, and you should get a suggested result for the Harvard Law Review.
5. Click on the star next to its name to add it to your "Peer Journals" folder. Repeat the process for the Yale Law Journal, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Columbia Law Review, as well as your own law journal.
6. When you return to the home page, you should see these journals listed under "Peer Journals" in the "Favorites" section. You can now easily search the content within these specific law journals.
7. After finding an article that cites your source or a source similar to it in a law journal through Westlaw, you can check to see how the citation looks in the final, published version by looking at a copy of the article in the HeinOnline Law Journal Library.
Webpages are frequently modified or taken down. This has been a major problem in the past because many of the URLs that appeared in citations would often be "dead links" by the time an article was published. Perma.cc addresses the problem of "link rot." Perma.cc allows users to preserve links by making archival copies of webpages. As a result, future readers will always be able to see what a webpage looked like at the time when the Perma link was created, even if the webpage is subsequently changed or removed. Perma.cc has allowed authors and student editors to feel more confident about relying on electronic sources in citations.
To create a Perma link:
Step 1: Log in to your Perma.cc account.
Step 2:: Copy and paste the URL of the link you wish to preserve and select the appropriate folder where this link should be saved (e.g., your journal's folder). Click the blue "Create Perma Link" button.
Step 3: After a few seconds, you will see your Perma.cc record. You should add the Perma link URL (shown in blue near the top of the screen) into the citation by placing it in brackets following the URL, pursuant to Bluebook Rule 18.2.1(d). The Perma link will become permanent after 24 hours.
Occasionally, Perma links will be marked as private records. This frequently happens with resources that are behind a paywall, such as articles from the New York Times. Only the creator of the link and the organization that controls the Perma.cc account will be able to see the content at the Perma link, but you should still create Perma links for these sources to archive those webpages.
For more information on Perma.cc, please see our Perma.cc guide.
©Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305.