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Bluebook Guide: Introduction

This guide introduces the Bluebook's uniform system of legal citation.


For legal professionals and students alike, The Bluebook is the go-to style guide for legal citation.  Its full title, The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (Columbia L. Rev. Ass’n et al. eds., 21st ed. 2020), speaks to its authority in the field.

If you need to access The Bluebook, you can find it on reserve at the UIC Law Library’s Circulation Desk or the Academic Success section on the sixth floor.  It is also available for purchase in print or online.


UIC Law Library Libguides are created to assist patrons and researchers. These research guides are not intended as legal advice.

Getting Started

The UIC Law Library is thrilled to introduce a supplemental research guide that will help UIC law students become proficient in The Bluebook and excel in their academic tasks and law review participation.  Our guide places a strong emphasis on academic rules (Whitepages) that are particularly relevant to students, rather than practitioner rules (Bluepages).  Throughout the guide, you will come across references to Bluepage rules (B), Bluepage tables (BT), Whitepage rules (R), and Whitepage tables (T) from The Bluebook.  We are confident that this guide will simplify the navigation of The Bluebook and prove to be an invaluable resource for all UIC law students.

Given the limited space available in law journals and strict page limits for legal documents, The Bluebook offers two sets of rules to maximize space for substantive discussion:  (1) rules for including and excluding case names, and (2) rules for abbreviations.  These rules build upon traditional conventions to accommodate modern constraints.  Larry L. Teply, Legal Citation in a Nutshell 85 (3d ed., 2021).  KF245 .T47 2021

Organization of The Bluebook

The inside front cover and subsequent page provide examples of commonly used citation forms in the typefaces used in law review footnotes as set forth in Rule 2 (Typefaces for Law Reviews), otherwise referred to as the Whitepages. 

  • The Preface to the Twenty-First Edition explains changes made between the present edition and its predecessors.  (p. VII)
  • The Contents navigates the structure of the entire book.  (p. IX)
  • The Introduction provides a brief overview of the structure of the book and general principles of citation. (p. 1)
  • The Bluepages are a how-to guide for basic legal citation.  The Bluepages provide an easy-to-comprehend guide for quotidian citation needs of practitioners, law students, and other legal professionals.  The Bluepages are accompanied with tables, providing information on (1) court documents and (2) jurisdiction-specific citation rules and style guides.  (pp. 3-60)
  • The Whitepages contain the rules of citation and style.  These rules are geared toward academic legal writing. The Whitepages have corresponding tables, which contain information on (1) U.S. jurisdictions, (2) foreign jurisdictions, (3) intergovernmental organizations, (4) treaty sources, arbitral reporters, (6) common words, (7) court names, (8) explanatory phases, (9) legislative documents, (10) geographical terms, (11) judges and officials, (12) months, (13) institutional names in periodical titles, (14) publishing terms, (15) services, and (16) subdivisions.  (pp. 61-226)
  • The above-referenced tables provide details like abbreviations for case names and which authority to cite for foreign materials, among other things.  (pp. 227-328)
  • The Index covers particular rules, referring to page numbers, not rule numbers.  (pp. 329-65)
  • The inside back cover and preceding page present examples of commonly used citation forms in the typefaces used in court documents and legal memoranda (corresponding with the Bluepages).

UIC Law Library

We are pleased to offer personalized research support to our esteemed law students through one-on-one consultations or small group meetings with our knowledgeable librarians.  Our team is eager to discuss research methodologies, recommend pertinent resources, and assist with specific legal research areas, such as legislative history or administrative law.  We encourage you to reach out to us with confidence and enthusiasm for a successful research experience.

Contact Info:
(312) 427-2737 ext. 729 (Reference)
(312) 427-2737 ext. 710 (Circulation)