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Source Collection

For law-student editors and other researchers who are editing articles, checking citation format, and collecting sources.

Sources - Frequently Asked Questions

Rule 10

Unreported "Cases"

  • Q: How do I find an "official" copy of an unreported case?
  • A: It depends. See Bluebook Rules 10.8.1 and 10.8.3 to determine if you'll use a document from a database like Bloomberg Law, Lexis, or Westlaw. For court filings and other litigation-related documents, you can sometimes find the materials in Bloomberg Law's docket search.
    • Note: You can't borrow Federal Appendix volumes in print via ILL. Instead, use the online version from West.

Rule 12

  • Q: My author is talking about a federal law in the text, and she cited a bill, and a date, and the Statutes at Large, instead of the U.S. Code. Should I always change statute citations to point to an official code?
  • A: No. Check Rule 12, because some claims in text should be supported by citations to legislative activity that happens before codification.
    • Some authors have strong opinions about citations. Consult with your lead article editor before making significant changes to the sources in a footnote.

Rule 16

Newspaper Articles

  • Q: An "exact copy" of my article is only available in microfilm at another library. Do I have to get this exact copy?
  • A: Probably not. Refer to Rule 16.6(f), which says that "online newspapers may be used in place of print newspapers." (In general, the Law Library won’t ILL newspaper microfilm for journal editors because the process tends to be difficult. Instead, you can use an online source.)
    • For citation-formatting purposes, examples of citations to electronic newspaper articles are in Bluebook rules 16.6(e) and 16.6(f). And recall that you can search law reviews in Westlaw or Lexis to see how other journals have formatted their citations.
    • Let a Law Librarian know if you have a special need to review an exact copy of the print version. (For example, if the author says something about how the article was placed on the page.) In that case, we can look into microfilm at other libraries.

Finding Samples from other Journals

  • Q: How can I find examples from other journals that have dealt with a citation like mine? 
  • A: One way is to use Westlaw. Search for citations in articles published by the journals of the schools that publish the Bluebook. In Westlaw, click into [ Secondary Sources > Law Reviews & Journals ], then search for unique terms from your citation. Sample search for a citation to a DoJ press release:
ADV: ("press release" /10 "Dep't #of justice") & CI(Yale Colum. “U. Pa.” Harv.) & DA(aft 2014)

Note: Every new edition of the Bluebook makes some changes to the format of citations in several rules. So editors should be careful when re-using citation formats from articles published before the most current edition.