The Bluebook at Eighteen: Reflecting and Ratifying Current Trends in Legal Scholarship
26 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2006
The latest edition of the Bluebook has arrived, and for citation aficionados, the publication of a new edition of the Bluebook is an event to be simultaneously heralded and critiqued. Contrary to public opinion, the Bluebook is not merely a compilation of abstract rules regarding the citations of sources. This Article presents the Bluebook as an important chronicler of legal scholarship and practice. New rules and amendments to old rules serve as archeological proof of changes in how scholars and practitioners view and use "the law." Like high school students rushing to grab a copy of their school's yearbook to glimpse what personalities and events captured the eye of school photographers, legal scholars can trace movements in the law and legal scholarship from edition to edition.
The Eighteenth Edition is no exception to this theory. This Article traces changes in the latest edition to recent developments in legal research and citation practices. For example, the Eighteenth Edition ratifies current practices of citing to electronic sources, including working papers and weblogs, and reflects controversies such as debates over citing to unpublished federal opinions. In addition, the Eighteenth Edition, published in the summer of 2005, is notable in that it is the first edition of the citation manual that was produced in the shadow of a known competitor, the ALWD Citation Manual, which was published for the first time in 2000. The impact of the appearance of a competitor can also be examined by analyzing changes from the Seventeenth Edition, particularly the revamping of the Practitioners' Notes into the new "Bluepages."
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