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Citation Checking Guide: Introduction

A how-to guide for Law Review and Journal Staff. Covers how to find a copy of cited materials, as well as Bluebooking.


This guide will assist students with citation checking for law review and journals, as well as when working as research assistants.  It may also help students writing scholarly, law-review style papers for class.

Citation checking usually involves finding a copy of the item cited and making sure the citation is accurate and in proper Bluebook form.

image of 1897 AmLawRev page

Cleveland State Law ReviewGlobal Business Law Review, and Journal of Law and Health Law Library Liaisons:

Interlibrary Loan:  Tom Hurray, Evening/Weekend Supervisor,

Above photo from krisnelson.

General Tips

Short Citations.  If you are trying to verify a short citation that relates to a citation in an earlier section of an article than the section you have been assigned, start by identifying the initial citation.  Even if the initial citation is incomplete, it may provide information to help verify your assigned short citation. Your editorial staff or professor should be able to provide you with the initial citation.
Three main short citations:

Id. (means "ibid," or "the same"; refers to the immediately preceding authority in the same footnote or the sole authority within the preceding footnote) See Bluebook rule 4.1

Supra (means "above"; refers to a preceding authority) See Bluebook rule 4.2

Hereinafter - allows creation of a special short citation form to be used subsequently in the article. See Bluebook rule 4.2

Incomplete/Inaccurate Citations.  Do a search with the information you have in the library catalog, an electronic index, an electronic database of fulltext articles or possibly on the Internet to determine the correct complete citation.  For example, use keywords in the article title, journal title, book chapter title, or book title - as well as synonyms for those keywords - with the author's name.

Authors often cite their own publications.  If you are not having any luck determining a correct complete citation, consider reviewing footnotes in other articles by the same author.

Legal Looseleafs in Print.   KF 1 .L43  (current issue in Reference).  May helpyou verify a title and publisher, as well as provide an ISSN number for precise searching in library catalogs.

Law Library Research Guides.  Can help with certain hard to find items in topical areas such as Administrative Law, International Law,  and Ohio Primary Law Legal Research.

Legal Abbreviations

If you are unfamiliar with an abbreviation in a citation, see:image of Prince's Bieber Dictionary cover

Prince's Bieber Dictionary of Legal AbbreviationsKF 246 .B74 2009

Black's Law DictionaryKF 156 .B53 2009 -  See, in particular, its Appendix of Legal Abbreviations. Also available in WestlawNext.

Index to Legal Citations and AbbreviationsKD400 .R35 2008 -  For Great Britain and United Kingdom publications.

Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations -  "Allows you to search for the meaning of abbreviations for English language legal publications, from the British Isles, the Commonwealth and the United States...."

World Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations   K89 .K38 1991   4 volumes; kept current by loose-leaf supplements; contains abbreviations not found in Cardiff.