Learning proper citation from the Bluebook can be complicated, but there are a variety of tools to help students and practicing attorneys get the correct cites into their documents quickly. Many of these tools can also help you with your research! They can save documents you find, suggest ways to expand your research, and provide tools to search for specific information in documents you already have.
This guide is divided into two categories: Academic writing for a law review or journal requires a different citation approach from writing a legal brief or memo, but both sets of tools can help you research. Select Research Tools to learn more about software and websites that help your organize cases or articles while you are writing.
These tools exist in different formats, so make sure you think about your workflow when making a selection. Some exist as a Browser add-on, some have phone apps available, some are software-based and must be installed, and others are web-based applications that you'll need a steady data connection to use.
Before you can really utilize online research and citation tools, you need a good baseline understanding of Bluebook citation. There are a number of resources available to help you brush up on citation online:
A website can only create a citation "automatically" if there is metadata associated with the document. Think of metadata as the hidden card catalog of every website; it is how the site can find a document when you search for it and how it can create a citation based on a set of rules.
The FSU libraries use metadata to locate a book when you search on the website:
When you select a book from the library catalog, it takes you an entry that contains all the pertinent information about the resource. There are two links at the top tool bar that let you CITE or EXPORT the document.
If you select "Cite This," the library uses an online tool called WorldCat to provide a variety of citation styles. One is called "Harvard (18th ed.)" and is meant to recreate the Bluebook 18th edition style. Do you notice anything incorrect about the cite provided?
We use Bluebook 21st edition, so the correct citation should look like this for academic writing:
And like this for legal writing:
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