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Bluebook 101

Basic information for get started with The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation

Differences between the 19th and 20th Editions

The new 20th edition of The Bluebook was published in the summer of 2015. Here's a list of the major changes from the 19th to the 20th edition.

20th Edition
Bluepages The 19th Edition has 12 Bluepage Rules (B1 B12). The 20th Edition has 21 Bluepage Rules (B1 B21).
1.4(e) Clarifies the order of authorities when federal and state legislative materials are cited together.
1.5(b) The order of parentheticals has been changed to reflect the removal of the “internal quotation marks omitted” and “available at” parentheticals.
3.2(b) Provides additional guidance for citing a range of pages and a single footnote within the range in the same citation.
3.5 Provides guidance on the naming conventions for subdivisions that are numbered or otherwise designated in a piece.
5.2(d)(i) No longer requires indicating the omission of internal quotation marks.
5.2(f) Provides guidance on the use of internal quotation marks.
10.2.1(f) Requires the omission of all geographical terms that follow a comma.
10.2.2 Clarifies that words in a case name that would be abbreviated according to T6 should not be abbreviated if the words are part of a state, country, or other geographical unit that is the entire name of a party.
10.9(a)(iii) Provides additional guidance on the formation of slip opinion short forms.
11 Provides guidance on the citation of multiple amendments, sections within the same article, and clauses within the same section.
12.9.4 Combines former rules 12.9.4 and 12.9.5, provides guidance on citing principles, and revises the citation format of model codes, restatements, standards, and guidelines.
13.5 Clarifies what year should be cited when a debate occurs in a different year from publication in the Congressional Record.
14.2(b) Expanded to include detailed information on citing comments to agencies.
14.2(d) Provides information and examples for citing guidances, manuals, and opinion letters.
14.4 Provides detailed information on citing administrative sources found on commercial electronic databases.
15.8(a) Updates the citation formats for Ballentine’s Law Dictionary and Black’s Law Dictionary.
15.9 Removes language that requires the use of “available at” in parallel citations.
15.9(c) Introduces a citation format for ebooks, stipulating that the print versions of books are authoritative, but that ebooks may be cited if they are the sole media through which the book is available.
16.6(a) Requires that opinion pieces in newspapers be cited as “Opinion” rather than “Op-Ed.”
16.6(f) Clarifies that online newspapers may be used in place of print newspapers.
18 Updated in a number of areas to account for the increasing use and varied forms of Internet sources. The rule no longer separately categorizes Internet citations as either direct or parallel; all citations are treated as direct.
18.2.1(b)(ii) Provides for the direct citation of Internet sources that share the characteristics of a print source such that they can be fully cited according to another rule, whether or not the source is in print.
18.2.1(d) Provides guidance on how to cite Internet sources using archival tools.
18.2.2(a) Provides guidance on citing author information on social media platforms.
18.2.2(b)(iii) Details how to cite titles for blogs contained within a larger website.
18.2.2(b)(v) Details how to cite titles for social media posts.
18.3 Catalogs where within The Bluebook guidance is provided for citing various sources found on commercial electronic databases.
21 Expanded to include new rules for citing materials from the International Monetary Fund and the International Criminal Court and has adopted simpler ways of citing United Nations documents.
T1 Revised to reflect the most current titles for the various statutory compilations, session laws, and administrative compilations and registers.
T1.3 The abbreviations following the states and District of Columbia have been revised to follow the abbreviation convention for jurisdiction names in the date parenthetical of cases. The citation formats for these sources have been updated to reflect their unique breakdown of information.
T2 Updated to reflect changes in local law and legal citation.
T13 The format has been changed from an inclusive list of periodicals to a more general guide to abbreviating periodicals. If a word in a periodical title is not included in any of the previously listed tables, T13 prescribes including the full word.
T13.1 Contains the abbreviations of common institutional names.
T13.2 Lists common words for in periodical titles. The table also prescribes abbreviating geographical terms according to T10.