When you use The Bluebook do you think, “Why did the editors do this”? Now law librarians, at least, will have a chance to ask those questions. The program “The Bluebook: An Open Discussion Among Editors and Librarians” will be held at the AALL Annual Meeting, on Sunday, July 11, 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm, CCC Rooms 102-106, Program A-1. It will be a moderated discussion among three Bluebook editors from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard, and two law librarians – Beth Adelman and Kumar Percy Jayasuriya.
The organizers of the program are seeking input from the law librarian community. Is there a rule that you’ve always questioned? Would you like to make the editors aware of any specific issues? For example, why does The Bluebook continue to require citation to print copies of newspapers, which are increasingly difficult to find?
The objective is not to put the editors on the spot or to force them to make changes. Instead the program will allow both sides – the editors and the librarians – to respond to questions and to raise and explain the issues involved.
I have asked the organizers two questions:
1.) Why does The Bluebook insists on a space between the section symbol and the section number [§ 3401, instead of §3401] in a statutory citation. That seems to me to violate the first of the compacting principles articulated by Peter W. Martin, in his Basic Legal Citation 2010 (http://www.law.cornell.edu/citation/).
“Compacting Principles: Principles that reduce the space taken up by the information items included in a citation. These include standard abbreviations (“United States Code” becomes “U.S.C.”) and principles that eliminate redundancy. (If the deciding court is communicated by the name of the reporter, it need not be repeated in the citation’s concluding parentheses along with the date as it should otherwise be.).”
2.) When are they going to adopt the postal code abbreviations for states? That would also make the citations more compact, without compromising their clarity.
I hope my questions are chosen. For Bluebook nerds, this is shaping up to be big fun!