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Need help figuring out common citation formats from The Bluebook? Look no further!
Last Updated: Aug 30, 2011 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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About this Guide

Have you noticed signs like this in the Professional Center Library?

citation sign

These handy citation references are scattered through our stacks to remind you of proper citation formats for the legal authority you're looking at. This guide takes a closer look at the citations and provides a little explanation along with the Bluebook rules that govern each citation. Each of the signs in our stacks now include a QR code that links you back to this guide.


Citation Manual

This guide primarily refers to The Bluebook, the standard guide for legal citations. When appropriate, however, it refers to supplemental sources of information.

Cover Art
The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, 19th ed.
Call Number: Perm. Reserve KF245 .U55 2010
ISBN: 9780615361161
Multiple copies available; older editions in the stacks.


Basic Citation Formats


United States Supreme Court Cases: Brown v. Bd. of Educ., 349 U.S. 294 (1955).

United States Supreme Court Case with Parallel Citations: O'Connell v. Kirchner, 513 U.S. 1303, 115 S. Ct. 891, 130 L. Ed.2d 873 (1995).

United States Court of Appeals Cases: McHenry v. Fla. Bar, 21 F. 3d 1038 (11th Cir. 1994).

State Supreme Court Cases: In re Estate of Hewitt, 721 A.2d. 1092 (Pa. 1998).
                                   Singleton v. Haywood Elec. Membership Corp., 357 N.C. 623 (2003).

State Appellate Court Cases: MBNA Am. Bank, N.A. v. Cardoso, 707 N.E.2d 189 (Ill. App. 1st Dist. 1998).


Constitution: N.C. Const. art. I, § 4.

United States Code: 19 U.S.C. § 2411 (1994).

Statutes at Large: Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-3, 107 Stat. 6 (1993).

State statute: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 145-24 (2010).

Secondary Sources

Legal Encyclopedias: 67 Am. Jur. 2d Robbery § 91 (1985).
                                  30A C.J.S. Entertainment and Amusement § 65(a) (1992).

Dictionary Entry: Black's Law Dictionary 593 (9th ed. 2009).

ALR: Erwin S. Barbre, Annotation, Validity and construction of state statutes forbidding area price discrimination, 67 A.L.R. 3d 26 (1975).

Law Review Article: Timothy Davis, Race and Sports in America: An Historical Overview, 7 Va. Sports & Ent. L.J. 291 (2008).

Treatise: Suzanne Reynolds, Lee's North Carolina Family Law (5th ed. LexisNexis 2002 & Supp. 2010).

Film: 12 Angry Men (United Artists 1956).


A Note About Examples and Generic Citations

The examples are formatted appropriately for citation in briefs, in terms of typeface. Academic writing should use slightly different typefaces, which we are not able to display here. The generic citations provide a general guide for the different rules; substitute in the information from your document for the appropriate red words, leaving the black words and punctuation in place. Then consult the Bluebook for appropriate typefaces for each element. For example, if the guide shows:

author, article title, volume journal title initial page, page cited (date),

your final citation should look like this:

David Rudovsky, Police Abuse: Can the Violence be Contained?, 27 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev 465, 500 (1992).

Citation Help

Here are some online & print sources that will help you sort out citation issues.

Just Ask...

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Kate Irwin-Smiler
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I work in the Reference Department, which means it's my job to help students, faculty, staff and the public with research questions.

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