How to Cite References in Blue Book Form


The Bluebook is a standardized format and guide for making legal citations in the United States. The book has many rules for citing references. These rules have standardized how legal offices, attorneys, researchers and judges cite sources in written documents. There are extensive rules for all types of reference materials, but the most common uses of Bluebook citations are for citing books and periodicals. Following the Bluebook format will ensure that you are using the proper citation formats in your work.

Citing Books

  • Write down the volume number, if the source is a multivolume reference.

  • Write the author's full name next to the volume number. For law-review footnotes, use large and small capital letters for the author's name.

  • Write the title of the book. If the citation is for a court document or legal memorandum, italicize or underline the title. If the citation is for a law-review footnote, use large and small capital letters for the title.

  • Cite the page number of the specific reference.

  • Write the number of the book edition, followed by the year of publication, in parentheses.

Citing Periodicals and Law Journals

  • Write the author's full name, followed by the title of the article or headline. Underline or italicize the title or headline.

  • Write the volume number, followed by the abbreviated name of the law review, if applicable. The Bluebook has a list of acceptable abbreviations for periodicals in the back of the book. If the citation is for a law-review footnote, use large and small capital letters for the name of the law review.

  • Write the number of the page where the article begins, not where the specific reference is located.

  • Write the year of publication in parentheses.


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