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Journal Staff Research Guide

A guide to help law journal staff members with the process of writing and editing law journal articles.


As discussed in more detail in the Overview for Locating Sources, 2L staff members on a law journal are typically responsible for editing the citations in the articles that their journal is publishing and ensuring all citations are correctly formatted according to The Bluebook.

This section of the guide covers a few key Bluebook rules that you will need to know in order to do this job thoroughly and accurately. This is simply a starting point, however. For more information on Bluebook rules, see the section below on Need more Bluebook help? or ask a librarian. We are happy to help with Bluebook questions!

Short citations

Before you start Bluebooking a citation, first check to see whether the source was cited earlier in the article. If it was, you may need to use a short citation form (commonly known as a "short cite").


Case: Martinez-Fuerte, 473 U.S. at 557.

Article:  Ackerman, supra note 5, at 1425.

Book: Schelling, supra note 1, at 310

See Rule 4 for general guidance on short citation forms.

Note that short cite rules vary depending on the source! For example, the short citation form may be used for cases if the case was already cited (1) in the same footnote or (2) in one of the preceding five footnotes. If the case was cited six footnotes ago, then a full citation is required. In contrast, once a journal article has been cited in full, you should use the short citation forms id. or supra for all subsequent citations regardless of how far apart the footnotes are.


The short citation form id. (Rule 4.1) may be used when the source being cited is the same as the source in the immediately preceding footnote. However, id. may only be used when the immediately preceding footnote contains only one authority.


FN1: Chalfin v. Specter, 233 A.2d 562, 562 (Pa.1967).

FN2: Chalfin, 233 A.2d at 563. Id. at 563.


When a source has been sited in full in the article, the short citation form supra (Rule 4.2) may be used in subsequent citations. Supra is mainly used for books and articles. Do not use for cases, statutes, regulations, or legislative materials.

A supra cite refers the reader back to the footnote where the full citation can be found:

Example: Reich, supra note 16, at 5.

Use the linked cross-references in Word to ensure your supra references remain accurate throughout the editing process!

Names of periodicals

According to Rule 16.1, the names of periodicals (including includes journals, magazines, and newspapers) should appear in small caps and should be abbreviated according to Tables T6, T10, and T13. You can find these tables in the back of your Bluebook.


Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education =  J. of Contemp. Water Rsch. & Educ.

Michigan Law Review = Mich. L. Rev.

William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review = Wm. & Mary Env’t L. & Pol’y Rev.

Note that small caps is not the same as ALL CAPS.

To quickly change normal text to small caps, highlight the text you want to change and use the following keyboard shortcuts:



Online sources

Rule 18.2 requires citing to traditional print sources (or exact digital copies) when possible.

Online sources with "print characteristics" should be formatted like a print source with a URL appended directly to the end of the citation. See Rule 18.2(b)(ii) (ex: news and journal articles published online only).

Online sources that are not available in print and do not have "print characteristics" should be cited according to Rule 18.2.2 (ex: blogs, social media, commercial websites, etc.)

Online newspapers may be used in place of print newspapers and cited according to Rule 18.2.2. See Rule 16.6(f).


Online source with print characteristics:

Fed Trade Comm‘n, Consumer Fraud in the United States 12 (2007),

Online source:

@LegalRebels, Twitter (Mar. 24, 2014, 10:36 AM),


Whenever a URL is included with a citation, Rule 18.2.1(d) encourages archiving the link.

Note that the Bluebook requires a URL for citations to internet sources (meaning a source that is not available in print) and encourages adding a URL to "obscure sources" and "online sources with print characteristics." See Rule 18.2.1(b) and 18.2.2(d).

Journal staff members are typically given a account for archiving links. Here is a quick tutorial on how to create permalinks with Perma Tutorial.

Need more Bluebook help?

Try the Lexis Interactive Citation Workstation trainings:

  • Log into Lexis+ and select Interactive Citation Workstation from the main page (under Tools & Resources).
  • Select Student Citation Manual Exercises > Bluebook
  • Scroll to the bottom of the list for "law review" trainings.
  • For more information, see the Interactive Citation Workstation Student Guide

Consult one of these helpful books and guides:

Finally, you can always consult a librarian! Email us at or stop by the law library to meet in person (a librarian is typically available in the library Monday through Friday from about 8:30AM to 4:30 PM).