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Bluebook Rules: Internet Citation

Overview

Citing to internet sources is becoming more ubiquitous. Rule 18 is the go-to rule for internet, e-media, and other nonprint resources.  You can find Rule 18 in the White Pages on page 178. 

General Internet Citation Rules

When it's okay to cite to internet sources:

  1. When a state designates an online source "official" for a particular legal document. Rule 18.2.1(a)(ii).
  2. When a print source is practically unavailable cite to the print but also indicate the online source's location. Rule 18.2.1(b).
  3. When a print source is available, provide a parallel citation to an internet source, if the cite would "substantially improve access." Rule 18.2(c).
  4. When the source doesn't exist in a traditional printed source. Rule 18.2.2.
  5. When a traditional printed source exists but either can't be found or is practically unavailable. Rule 18.2.2.

Citation Form

Internet citation's should include: title, pagination, and publication date as they appear on the webpage. Rule 18.2.2.

The table below provides examples of different internet citation forms. The table is reproduced from Bluebook Rule 18.1.

Basic Internet Sources Citation Forms

Authenticated or Official Documents

Office of Mgmt. & Budget, A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America's Promise (2009).

Unaltered Scanned Copies of Print Source

United States v. Grigg, 498 F.3d 1070, 1072-73 (9th Cir. 2007).

Documents for Which Print Copy is Practically Unavailable

Conference Report, German Soc'y for Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English, Mediated Drama/Dramatized Media: From Boards to Screens to Cyberspace (June 17-20, 1999), http://fb14.uni-maize.de/projects/CDE/conf/1999/.

E-Version Improving Reader Access to Source Also Available in Print

Santa Monica, Cal. Mun. Code ch. 3.20 (1976), available at http://qcode.us/codes/santamonica/.

Online-only Sources

Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream, http://www.benjerry.com (last visited Oct. 6, 2008).

Subheadings Linked from Main Page of Website

David S. Cloud, Gates Budget Eyes Next Gen. Warfare, Politico (Apr. 12, 2009, 3:43 PM), http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0409/21123.html.

Dynamic Webpages, Such as Blogs

Asahi Shimbun, A-Bomb Disease Ruling, Japanese L. Blog (Mar. 27, 2009, 9:29 PM), http://japaneselaw.blogspot.com

Online Source Requiring Form, Query, or Unwieldy URL

Driving Direction from N.Y. to New Haven, CT, Google Maps, http://maps.google.com (follow "Get Directions" hyperlink; then search "A" for "New York, NY" and search for "B" for "New Haven, CT"; then follow "Get Directions" hyperlink).

Online Source that Preserves Original Pagination, such as a PDF

Kenneth W. Simmons, Retributivists Need Not and Should Not Endorse the Subjectivist Account of Punishment, 109 Colum. L. Rev. Sidebar 1, 3 (2009), http://www.columbialawreview.org/Sidebar/volume/109/_Simons.pdf.

Dynamic websites, such as blogs, within larger websites Vanessa Williams, "The Cosby Show" and the Black American Dream, Wash. Post: She the People (Oct. 12, 2014), http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/10/12/the-cosby-show-and-the-black-american-dream.
Social Media Posts Jeffrey Toobin (@JeffreyToobin), Twitter (Aug. 30, 2014, 6:10 AM), https://twitter.com/JeffreyToobin/status/505704145035468800.
Archived sources Rocio Gonzalez, Puerto Rico's Status Debate Continues as Island Marks 61 Years as a Commonwealth, Huffington Post (July 25, 2013, 9:00 AM), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/25/puerto-rico-status-debate_n_3651755.html [http://perma.cc/C6UP-96HN].
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