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Until the year 2000, The Bluebook and its editors held an iron grip on the world of legal citation. Although there had been upstart citation manuals issued before 2000, none, including the America Association of Law Libraries’ Universal Citation Guide, gained national acceptance. It was then that a rebel alliance, the Association of Legal Writing Directors, introduced the ALWD Citation Manual: A Professional System of Citation (Aspen Law & Business 2000). Much of the legal galaxy, long tired of the dictatorial style of The Bluebook, welcomed this young challenger. Dozens of articles were written comparing the ALWD Citation Manual to The Bluebook. Most of these favored the visual appeal and commonsense approach of the ALWD to the stodgy conventions of the old master. With the publication of its 18th edition, The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (Columbia Law Review Ass’n et al. eds., 18th ed. 2005), the master is striking back: fighting fire with fire by incorporating many of the elements favored by ALWD Citation Manual reviewers. New look and feel From cover to cover The Bluebook has a new look and feel. Those of us whose former editions are held together by tape, paper clips and rubber bands will rejoice at the new laminated cover, the quality and weight of which seem identical to the ALWD Citation Manual. The Bluebook has added color as well. Key terms, headings and references are printed in blue ink. The Bluebook has not thrown out the baby with the bath water, however. Many of its best-loved features, such as the inside front and back cover quick reference guides, and extensive tables, have been retained. The most important change made by the 18th edition is the replacement of the “Practitioners’ Notes” with “The Bluepages.” This 22-page section summarizes and explains all major citation rules and is intended as an “everyday” guide for all those except law review authors and editors. This guide provides information for citing major reference materials, including cases, statutes, regulations, constitutions, books, periodicals and court documents. It is possible that the average judge, lawyer, law student and paralegal may never need to look beyond the Bluepages for citation instruction. If more detail is needed, the Bluepages include references to the full rules. The Bluepages also include “Tips,” which are interspersed throughout the materials, and provide useful explanatory information. For example, the tip following the section regarding code citation reads: “Note that the United States Code is only codified once every six years. The year that appears next to a code provision in electronic databases like Westlaw or LEXIS generally refers to the most recent unofficial code, such as the U.S.C.A.” These tips, printed in blue to catch the reader’s eye, are similar to ALWD’s “Sidebar” explanations. The Bluepages are followed by two tables. The first lists common abbreviations for words used in court documents. The second includes references to all federal and state citation rules and style guides. This will prove invaluable to practitioners filing in unfamiliar courts. In addition to the information provided in the Bluepages tables, Tables T.1, T.2 and T.3 in the back of the book provide extensive coverage of state, foreign and international materials, including specific references to local public domain citation formats. Aside from the Bluepages, the 18th edition holds no earth-shattering surprises. The editors chose not to embrace one of my favorite features of the ALWD Citation Manual-the unification of typeface rules for law reviews and court documents. And although the editors claim that Rule 18 regarding electronic media has been “almost completely rewritten,” the basic premise is unchanged: “ The Bluebook requires the use and citation of traditional printed sources.” The only exceptions to this rule are when a print version is unavailable or is “so obscure that it is practically unavailable.” The new Rule 18 does make one concession to modernity and allows for parallel citations to electronic sources if their use will facilitate access and their content is “identical” to the printed sources. To the majority of us who rely entirely on our computers to conduct legal research, this devotion to the preeminence of print sources is disheartening. Nevertheless, the 18th edition of The Bluebook is a welcome improvement. The Bluepages provide a concise, user-friendly guide designed to appease critics and win back ALWD Citation Manual fans. Perhaps the empire is not so evil after all. Ellen K. Boegel is an assistant professor in the legal studies division of the College of Professional Studies at St. John’s University in Staten Island, N.Y.

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