Apr 5, 2011

Posted in Uncategorized

First Edition of the Bluebook (1926) = 28 Pages. 19th Edition of the Bluebook (2010) = 511 Pages.

Update: Also check out my modest proposal to wean law review editors off the Bluebook.

Over the last 85 years, over 19 editions, the Uniform System of Citations, commonly known as the Bluebook, has increased from 28 pages to 511 pages.

What is the marginal utility of increasing the length of a citation manual by over 500 pages? Sure, I’m certain there are new sources that did not exist in the 1920s–namely electronic sources, certain international doctrines, hell a number of states did not exist in 1926–but 500 additional pages? Judge Posner is right: the Bluebook is an absolute travesty.

And if you notice, I did not write the citations to the Bluebooks in the proper format, yet, somehow, you knew what I was talking about. Shocker.

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  • M

    This post came at the perfect time. I just spent 8hrs working on a stupid research and citation exercise that had nothing to do with anything I’ve studied all year!

  • Jon

    “hell a number of states did not exist in 1926”

    If by “a number” you mean 2 (which is indeed “a number”), you are correct. The only two states that did not exist in 1928 are Alaska and Hawaii. Out of curiousity, I looked at the 1928 version of the Bluebook and there are still provisions for citing to Alaskan and Hawaiian law. So, the fact that two states were not formally admitted to the Union yet is of no moment to the question of why the Bluebook has gotten larger — which ultimately supports your point.

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