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Manual of Legal Citation/Internet Sources
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R32. General Principles for Internet Sources
R32.1. Official document available online
- When an authenticated, official, or exact copy of a document is available online, cite as if to the equivalent print source (i.e., URL information should not be included).
- Exact copy: unaltered online reproduction of the entirety of a printed source, including pagination.
- Official copy: version of document designated “official” by a federal, state, or local government.
- Authenticated copy: source that uses some authenticating tool, such as a digital signature. This is generally the preferred version.
R32.2. Sources available from non-Internet source
- For sources that are available in a non-Internet source, append the URL to the end of the citation if doing so would make accessing the source significantly easier.
- Example: Daniel E. Ho & Frederick Schauer, Testing the Marketplace of Ideas, 90 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1160, 1175 (2015), http://www.nyulawreview.org/sites/default/files/pdf/NYULawReview-90-4-Ho_Schauer.pdf
R32.3. Source has characteristics of print source
- For Internet sources that have the characteristics of a print source, cite as if you were citing the print source, and append the URL to the end of the citation. Internet sources have the characteristics of a print source if the source has all the information needed to cite it according to another rule and the source has a fixed, permanent pagination (such as a PDF).
R32.4. Citing directly
- For cites directly to webpages and other Internet sources, follow the formula in Rule 33, below.
|Note that many of the Internet citation rules are little more than common sense (that’s a compliment, not a dig). For example: include the URL that most directly links your reader to the authority, as you don’t want to send readers on a wild goose chase through the recesses of the Internet in search of a source. For completeness sake, we include these rules below, even though most people would probably intuit them.|
R33. Basic Formula for Internet Sources
- Citations to Internet sources follow this form:
<Title of Website Page>,
<Main Website Title>,
<(Date & Time Accessed)>,
R33.1. Author Name(s)
- When available, use the name(s) of the actual authors(s) of the source.
- When the name of the actual author is unavailable, use the name of the institution associated with the source if one is clearly apparent.
- For web posts and comments, use the actual name of the post author, or the username of the post author if the actual name is not available.
- For comments, the author of the comment should be included if available, but the author of the original post need not be cited.
- If the name of the author is unavailable in each of the above forms, it may be omitted from the basic formula.
R33.2. Title of Specific Website Page
R33.2.1. Particular webpage
- Include the particular cited page within the website. This title should be based on either the title bar or the heading of that page as viewed in the browser.
R33.2.2. Length of title
- The included title should be informative but not unduly long, if possible.
- Include the title of certain pages linked from main website when relevant, including postings, comments, and titles of subheadings (in italics). Where relevant, as in comments, subheadings should indicate their relationship to the page to which they are responsive.
- Example: Mike Masnick, Left Shark Bites Back: 3D Printer Sculptor Hires Lawyer To Respond to Katy Perry’s Bogus Takedown, TechDirt (Feb. 9, 2015, 12:27 PM), https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150209/11373729960/left-shark-bites-back-3d-printer-sculptor-hires-lawyer-to-respond-to-katy-perrys-bogus-takedown.shtml.
- Example: Nasch, Re: Costumes, IP, and Ownership Rights, Comment to Left Shark Bites Back, TechDirt (Feb. 14, 2015, 9:55 AM), https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150209/11373729960/left-shark-bites-back-3d-printer-sculptor-hires-lawyer-to-respond-to-katy-perrys-bogus-takedown.shtml.
R33.2.4. Page heading not clear
- Descriptive titles (not italicized) may also be used where page headings alone are not clear.
- Example: Parker Higgins & Sarah Jeong, Archive of 5 Useful Articles Newsletter, 5 Useful Articles, http://tinyletter.com/5ua (last visited March 2, 2015).
R33.3. Main Website Title
R33.3.1. Domain name or homepage
- Include the domain name/ homepage where the citation may be found.
|Think of a webpage as the page in your Internet browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.) where you can scroll up and down. Think of a website as a group of webpages that work together. For example, abovethelaw.com is a website. Once you click on an article or a tab, then you’re on a webpage.|
R33.4.1. When to include
- Include when an electronic document preserves the pagination of a printed version. Cite to pages as they would appear on the document if printed.
- Example: James Huguenin-Love, Song on Wire: A Technical Analysis of ReDigi and the Pre-Owned Digital Media Marketplace, 4 N.Y.U. J. Intell. Prop. & Ent. L. 1, 4 (2014), http://jipel.law.nyu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/JIPEL-Winter-2014-Edition.pdf.
R33.5. Date & Time
R33.5.1. When to include published time
- Omit time:
- if the source is not updated throughout the day or
- if there is no time listed
R33.5.2. No date provided
- If no date is provided cite to the last modified or last updated date for the URL, or, if none of the above are provided, use the last visited date. Any date cited in one of these three formats should be placed after the URL in the citation.
- Example: ESPN, http://www.espn.go.com/ (last visited Apr. 8, 2015).
R33.6.1. Entire URL
- Cite in its entirety unless the URL is especially long or unwieldy.
R33.6.2. Long URL
- If the URL is too long and unwieldy, cite just to the root URL and include a parenthetical directing the user to the specific material cited.
R33.6.3. Archived version
- When helpful, include URL to an archived version of the webpage in brackets
R33.6.4. Primary URL
- When a website is served by multiple URLs, use the primary one.
- Example: Chris Cillizza, Winners and Losers of the 2014 Midterm Elections, Wash. Post Blogs (Nov. 5, 2014, 10:25 AM), http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/11/04/winners-and-losers-of-the-2014-election-early-edition/
- Example: Laura Moy, Public Knowledge & Consumers Petition Copyright Office for Right to Unlock Access to Their Own Stuff, Public Knowledge Blogs (Nov. 3, 2014), https://www.publicknowledge.org/news-blog/blogs/public-knowledge-consumers-petition-copyright-office-for-right-to-unlock-ac.
- Example: Google Books Ngram Viewer, Google, https://books.google.com/ngrams (select corpus “English Fiction”; then search for “Arrakis”) (last visited Apr. 17, 2012).
- Example: Kevin Underhill, Gollum Experts to Testify, Says Court, Lowering the Bar (Dec. 4, 2015), http://www.loweringthebar.net/2015/12/gollum-experts.html [https://web.archive.org/web/20151208124302/http://www.loweringthebar.net/2015/12/gollum-experts.html]
|When a document is available in multiple formats, cite to the format that best preserves the document as it would display if printed. This will allow citations to specific page numbers (for pincites) regardless of whether it is being viewed digitally or in print. For example, PDF is preferred over HTML.|
R34. Short Form Citations for Internet Sources
- Id. and supra can be used, together with the author name, as a short form citation following the full citation of an Internet source. Note: if no author is provided, use the title of the source (see section R33.2, above).
- Full cite: Chris Cillizza, Winners and Losers of the 2014 Midterm Elections, Wash. Post Blogs (Nov. 5, 2014, 10:25 AM), http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/11/04/winners-and-losers-of-the-2014-election-early-edition/
- Short form: Cillizza, supra.
- Full cite: Patently-O, https://patentlyo.com/ (last visited Feb. 21, 2015).
- Short form: Patently-O, supra.