The Bluebook–Twentieth Edition

The new edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (20th ed. 2015) was published earlier this month, and copies are now available at the Georgetown Law Library!  I know everyone is eager to get their hands on a copy and really, really wants to know — what’s new in this edition?

Well, the twentieth edition is about fifty pages longer than its predecessor and now comprises a full five hundred and sixty pages of torment guidance, so to paraphrase Judge Richard Posner, I haven’t read the entire thing.  However, let’s take a look at some of the changes…


The preface to the new edition lists many of the significant changes, which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The Bluepages (“practitioner” writing section) have been expanded to parallel the rules in the Whitepages (“academic” writing section).  Now, there is a basic Bluepages rule for every Whitepages rule, except for B17 and Rule 17, which are “Court and Litigation Documents” and “Unpublished and Forthcoming Sources,” respectively.
  • Rule 18 includes many changes to citing online sources and should be read carefully before citing materials under the new edition. An important addition that will help preserve information is Rule 18.2.1(d), which encourages the use of Internet archiving tools like and provides guidance on how to include a permanent URL in a citation.  On a related note, The Georgetown Law Library has long supported the preservation of online information with its participation in The Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group and
  • Another amendment to Rule 18 worth noting is that there is no longer a distinction between direct and parallel citations to online sources. All citations are treated as direct, which means not writing “available at” before a URL if a source is available in print and online.
  • Table 13, which used to list abbreviated titles for most U.S. law journals, is now “a more general guide for abbreviating periodicals” and lists abbreviations for common institutional names in Table 13.1 (e.g., Georgetown = “Geo.”) and other common words in Table 13.2 (e.g., Journal = “J.”). To format the proper abbreviation for a journal title, consult T13.1, T13.2, and Table 10 (geographical terms).
  • This edition includes new guidance on foreign and international materials. For example, Rule 21 now has a rule for citing International Monetary Fund materials and Table 2 (citation to foreign materials) has been updated and expanded.

For more detailed information on the new edition, see the useful compilations of changes published by the Warren E. Burger Library at the William Mitchell College of Law and the Pace Law Library.

Need help with The Bluebook and legal citation?  Visit the reference desk and the librarians will be happy to assist you.  Additionally, the Georgetown Law Library has a Bluebook Guide that will be updated later this summer to reflect changes in the twentieth edition.

Image Credit:  MTV/Warner Bros.

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The United Nations: Another Charter has a Birthday

version of UN logoThe United Nations Charter is 70 years old today, and the UN Dispatch has recommended a  nice piece by Mark Goldberg on Global Dispatches and his tribute to the UN and its founding in the form of a podcast. In that podcast we hear Goldberg’s interview with author Stephen Schlesinger, who has written a book about the early history of the UN and its founding. Fact and anecdotes are analyzed and compared in the podcast, The UN Charter Turns 70,  and it is available on iTunes and Google Play. Did Churchill really get confronted in the bathtub and was the name “United Nations” just dreamed up? Find out bathtubnotreallychurchillsthrough this painless and entertaining way to learn the history. (Hat tip to UN Wire from the United Nations Foundation).

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Happy 800th Birthday Magna Carta!

King John sealing Magna Carta

800 years ago today King John met the rebel Barons at Runnymede to sign and seal what would become known to posterity as Magna Carta, or the Great Charter. While King John may indeed have signed and sealed it on this day eight centuries ago, he had no intention of honoring it. He’d already made plans to appeal to the Pope to have the Charter nullified for having been signed under duress, which news he shared with his English subjects in early August of 1215 thus plunging the realm back into the turmoil of civil war. Fortunately for posterity, John would not outlive the conflict and upon his death in 1216, William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke and the newly appointed Regent to John’s son and now King, Henry III, reissued a revised version of the Charter. Marshall would again reissue it in 1217, and King Henry III would himself reissue it upon reaching his majority in 1225. It was only at this point in history that the Charter was titled Magna Carta in order to distinguish it from the Charter of the Forest clauses which had been reissued as a separate charter. Henry’s son, Edward I, would also reissue Magna Carta by having Parliament enact it in 1297 thereby securing its place in English legal history as the ‘first statute.’ It is in this later form that Magna Carta would come to be revered and appealed to as guaranteeing the rights of English, and later colonial American, subjects.

In honor of this 800th anniversary day, Georgetown Law Library is pleased to announce a small online collection of annotated late 16th and early 17th century imprints of the statutory compilation titled – Magna Carta cum Statutis. While all of Georgetown Law’s five annotated imprints have notations throughout in law-French, the professional language of English lawyers of the day, only three of them have extensive notations on the leaves containing Magna Carta and the 1608 imprint contains no notations about Magna Carta at all. The most extensive annotations are in copy 1 of the 1587 imprint that was signed by its owner on the title page – “Liber Richardi Bell de Grais Inn” [Richard Bell of Gray’s Inn’s book]. Complete images of all the leaves in these five imprints are available through Digital Georgetown.


Bell’s notations on clause 29 (clauses 39 and 40 of the 1215 Charter), known today as the Due Process Clause.

We have also prepared a research guide on the history and legacy of Magna Carta. This guide includes links to treatises, articles, and books.

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Summer Reading & Movies

Now that the pace has slowed down a bit, is there time in your schedule for a novel or a movie? Check out our leisure reading section on the left hand side of the Reading Room Reserve section in the Williams Reading Room. Our movie DVD collection is on your right after you exit the Reading Room Reserve section. Here are some of the recent additions:

tomb     Was the Tomb Empty?  by Graeme Smith

                                                               Until She Comes Home, by Lori Roy            home

god    God Help the Child, by Toni Morrison

                                                                                 House of Cards, First Season       cards


Come visit the library for your summer reading pleasure!

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blatter just say no

Sports Corruption, Part Deux (the FIFA edition) UPDATED!!!

It would appear that FIFA got jealous at all the attention the NFL was getting for their corrupt practices and has decided to pull the spotlight back to the other football. The one the rest of the world likes. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice issued indictments for 14 individuals within FIFA. Seven of those individuals were arrested in Switzerland on Wednesday, May 27. The Swiss officials are working with the U.S. in their investigation into FIFA’s alleged corrupt practices, which include (but are most likely not limited to) receiving $150 million worth of bribes from the early 1990s for football tournaments in the US and Latin America via US and Swiss bank accounts. Another case against FIFA officials is for money laundering in association with the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Somehow, despite all of this, Sepp Blatter managed to be re-elected for a fifth term as president of FIFA and began his newest term by ingloriously blaming others for the corruption that runs rampant in the organization, stating that he couldn’t be expected to monitor everyone all the time. While no one expects that, it is apparently too much to ask him to monitor anyone any time. Meanwhile, one of the officials arrested in last week’s raid showed the rest of the world how competent FIFA officials can be when he made a video in which he claimed the arrests were evidence of a US conspiracy to get a World Cup bid. His proof? An Onion article. Not everyone understands satire.

It is thought that more arrests are likely to be made and Sepp Blatter would be wise to refrain from getting too comfortable in his fifth term as president, as the inquiries seem to get closer to him as time goes by. Could it be that the U.S. has finally done something on the international stage that others support (excluding Russia)?

It’s clear that FIFA’s corrupt practices have grown tiresome for some of the countries involved. Perhaps the party is finally ending for FIFA, though one wonders if such systematic corruption can really be remedied with a couple of cases, even if they are brought by powerful countries like the U.S. Still, this is a start.

But don’t just take it from us. John Oliver knows all about FIFA corruption.

UPDATE! Sepp Blatter has resigned! Will miracles never cease?

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U.K. Succession Display at Wolff Library

While Princess Charlotte is adorable, she is also a trailblazer.  For this generation of royals, the U.K.  line of succession to the crown is no longer dependent on gender.  Previously, the crown passed to sons, uncles, or nephews with female relatives as back up.  Because of this recent change, Princess Charlotte bumped Prince Harry down a notch on the succession ladder.  Of course, Prince George is the heir apparent after his grandpa Prince Charles and his daddy Prince William.

English succession rules have deep roots back to King Henry VIII and the English Reformation.  Come visit our display on U.K. succession located in the display case on the upper level of the Wolff Library!ImperialStateCrown

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Studying for the Bar?

Looking for sample Bar Exam questions?  Check out the library’s Bar Exam Research Guide.  We highlight books and web sites offering sample questions for your review. We also link to the state Bar Associations for those looking to read about the requirements to enter a state Bar.

Good luck with your studies and please ask a Reference Librarian if you need any assistance with your preparations!



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Ballghazi and Sports Corruption around the World

Scandals in sports are about as unexpected as scandals in politics, right? But how often do the skies open and send us a scandal as entertaining as Deflategate? The ball jokes alone are enough to send those of us who have the maturity of a 12-year-old boy into giggles. While we may think that the NFL has a monopoly on bumbling incompetence in the form of Roger Goodell, who likes to hand out punishments that have no actual link to the severity of the crime committed, it turns out that Goodell is just following in the footsteps of his international compatriots. The NFL is no more corrupt than FIFA or the International Olympic Committee. Strong words, but true. Even though Tom Brady will be suspended for twice as long as Ray Rice, a man caught on video beating his then-girlfriend-now-wife, Goodell and co. at the NFL are only engaging in the time-honored tradition of citing to rules that they make difficult for others to find (seriously, stop by and try to find the rule book from which the Patriots violated the game; for bonus points, find the exact rule that was violated), and hiding behind the notion that while players may do egregious things off the field, the true crime is doing anything to ruin the sanctity and integrity of the game on the field. The Patriots, while certainly not saints in anyone’s imagination, are being punished because they’ve ruined the game on the field, instead of keeping their misbehaviors off the field like everyone else.

If you’d like to learn more about the wild world of Sports Law, take a look at our research guide on the Olympics and International Sports Law as well as our guide on U.S. Sports Law. Books like Fair Play: The Ethics of Sport are in their 4th edition for a reason.

Of course, it all boils down to one simple thought at the end of the day: if the Patriots hadn’t engaged in shady behavior, none of this would be happening. Enjoy the schadenfreude until it’s your team in the spotlight. *cough* Washington D.C. Professional Football Organization *cough*

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Library Training for Summer Faculty Research Assistants

The library will be offering two research training sessions for new faculty research assistants this summer.  In this training, research assistants will learn about library services and policies and will gain an introduction to our databases and best research practices.

The sessions will be held at the following dates/times in the Computer Learning Center (CLC) in the Williams Law Library:

  • Tuesday, May 26, 4:00pm-5:00pm
  • Friday, May 29, 11:00am-12:00pm

Research assistants can register for this training or request additional information by contacting Morgan Stoddard, Research Services Librarian,

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