Monday, November 12, 2012

Bluebook Citations of Books and Use of Antiquated Abbreviations

I was recently reading the ABA Publishing Author Guidelines Manual, and I noticed the following: "The Bluebook has never cited books properly: do it one better by including the author’s full name, the book’s full title, the publisher, and the year of publication. Your readers will thank you."

Before going to law school, I got a Ph.D in musicology.  All the citation manuals I used for writing my dissertation required use of the publisher's name in the citation.  I found it odd when I started using the Bluebook that it lacked this requirement.  Over the years, I became accustomed to the Bluebook's odd requirements.

I think the ABA manual is correct; we should be including the publisher in legal citations.  (I should note that the ALWD Citation Manual already does this.)  One of the main purposes of citation is to give the reader information, and including the publisher gives the reader important information.

While we are on the topic of the Bluebook, when are the editors going to get rid of the antiquated abbreviations?  (ALWD also uses the antiquated abbreviations.)  I realize that people don't want to have to follow the dictates of the post office, but the two letter abbreviations for states have become standard.  Why require each new generation of students to learn new abbreviations they won't use elsewhere?  Isn't legal citation confusing enough?  In addition, the postal abbreviations are shorter.

(Scott Fruehwald)

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When you say "ABA Publishing Author Guidelines Manual" what precisely do you mean? I'm not readily finding such a thing.

Posted by: Bob Mabry | Nov 20, 2012 6:58:54 AM

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