Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Scribes--The American Society of Legal Writers held a legal writing seminar in early March in Chicago. One of the speakers on that wonderful program was Darby Dickerson, Dean of Stetson University College of Law and the Citation Goddess behind the ALWD Citation Manual. Darby disclosed that she had just finished the corrections to the Fourth Edition of the ALWD Citation Manual. Here's a summary of ten important changes.
1. First off -- and you might want to sit down for this one -- is that you will have a choice on how to abbreviate words. For example, the word "Department" when used in a case citation could be abbreviated (in the next edition) as "Dept." or as "Dep't" This means that the ALWD and Bluebook abbreviations can be exactly the same. You will see the full choices in Appendices 3 and 5 of the next edition. Darby said that where there is such a little thing that doesn't affect the substance of the citation, she wants to give people a choice if it will increase the number of people using the book.
2. In case names, you will also have a choice of using "U.S." or "United States" when the United States is a party.
3. The next edition will address the increasing number of sources based on new technology. Ereaders, for example, don't have page numbers. Other sources include Blogs (like this one), Twitter, Podcasts, Vodcasts, YouTube Videos, GPO Access, E-annotations for ALRs (that appear only on-line), text messages, and instant messages (not a source of law really, but they have been cited in criminal court opinions). There will also be an update on how to cite PDFs versus HTML.
4. There will be more information on how to cite interdisciplinary sources such as non-legal dictionaries, but also other things such as live performances, works of art, architecture, maps, and patents. Wow.
5. There will be a new feature called "Snapshots." In six or seven of the rules, this new feature will show students how to go from the source to the citation. More examples will also be on the website.
6. There will be more examples in the Practitioner Documents.
7. There will be a new website to support users of the book.
8. There will be a new companion manual of citation exercises authored by my co-blog-editor Coleen Barger and Brooke Bowman (Stetson). The practice book will be called The ALWD Companion: A Citation Practice Book. It will also be published by Aspen and will be out this summer in time for adoptions for fall.
9. There will be a new section on Tribal citations.
10. You will be able to make your own tabs.
There are other changes, but these seem to be the most significant. We look forward to seeing the new edition of the ALWD Manual.
Hat tips to ALWD and to Darby Dickerson.