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Manual of Legal Citation/Internet Sources

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Manual of Legal Citation
Table of Contents
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Foreword and Introduction
Background Rules
Rule 1. Two Types of Legal Documents
Rule 2. Typeface Standards
Rule 3. In-Text Citations
Rule 4. Signals
Rule 5. Capitalization Rules
Rule 6. Signals for Supporting Authority
Rule 7. Signals for Comparison
Rule 8. Signals for Contradictory Authority
Rule 9. Signals for Background Material
Rule 10. Order of Authorities Within Each Signal / Strength of Authority
Rule 11. Full citation
Rule 12. Court & Year
Rule 13. Weight of Authority and Explanatory Parenthetical
Rule 14. History of the Case
Rule 15. Short Form Citation for Cases
Statutes, Rules, Regulations, and Other Legislative & Administrative Materials
Rule 16. Federal Statutes
Rule 17. State Statutes
Rule 18. Rules of Procedure and Evidence, Restatements, and Uniform Acts
Rule 19. Administrative Rules and Regulations
Rule 20. Federal Taxation Materials
Rule 21. Legislative Materials
Rule 22. Short Form Citation of Legislative and Administrative Materials
Rule 23. Sources and Authorities: Constitutions
Court & Litigation Documents
Rule 24. Citing Court or Litigation Documents from Your Case
Rule 25. Citing Court or Litigation Documents from Another Case
Rule 26. Short Form Citation for Court Documents
Rule 27. Capitalization Within the Text of Court Documents and Legal Memoranda
Books & Non-Periodicals
Rule 28. Full Citation for Books & Non-Periodicals
Rule 29. Short Form Citation for Books & Non-Periodicals
Journals, Magazines, & Newspaper Articles
Rule 30. Full Citation for Journals, Magazines & Newspaper Articles
Rule 31. Short Form Citation for Journals, Magazines & Newspaper Articles
Internet Sources
Rule 32. General Principles for Internet Sources
Rule 33. Basic Formula for Internet Sources
Rule 34. Short Form Citations for Internet Sources
Explanatory Parentheticals
Rule 35. General Principles for Explanatory Parentheticals
Rule 36. Order of parentheticals
Rule 37. General Principles for Quotations
Rule 38. Alterations of Quotations
Rule 39. Omissions in Quotations
Rule 40. Special Rules for Block Quotations
Table 1. Federal Judicial and Legislative Materials
Table 2. Federal Administrative and Legislative Materials
Table 3. U.S. States and Other Jurisdictions
Table 4. Required Abbreviations for Services
Table 5. Required Abbreviations for Legislative Documents
Table 6. Required Abbreviations for Treaty Sources
Table 7. Required Abbreviations for Arbitral Reporters
Table 8. Required Abbreviations for Intergovernmental Organizations
Table 9. Required Abbreviations for Court Names
Table 10. Required Abbreviations for Titles of Judges and Officials
Table 11. Required Abbreviations for Case Names In Citations
Table 12. Required Abbreviations for Geographical Terms
Table 13. Required Abbreviations for Document Subdivisions
Table 14. Required Abbreviations for Explanatory Phrases
Table 15. Required Abbreviations for Institutions
Table 16. Required Abbreviations for Publishing Terms
Table 17. Required Abbreviations for Month Names
Table 18. Required Abbreviations for Common Words Used In Periodical Names
Table 19. Table of Citation Guides
Table 20. Tables of Correspondence

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.

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.
Indigo Inkling
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: <Author Name>, <Title of Website Page>, <Main Website Title>, <pincite> <(Date & Time Accessed)>, <URL>.

R33.1. Author Name(s)

R33.1.1. Actual authors

When available, use the name(s) of the actual authors(s) of the source.

R33.1.2. Institutional authors

When the name of the actual author is unavailable, use the name of the institution associated with the source if one is clearly apparent.
  • Institutional authors should be omitted if the website’s title makes the domain’s owner clear.
  • Institutional authors should be abbreviated (see Table T11 and Table T12 for abbreviations).

R33.1.3. Forum authors

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.

R33.1.4. Unavailable name

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.

R33.2.3. Pages linked from main website

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.

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, (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.

R33.3.2. abbreviation

Title should be abbreviated (see Table T12, Table T15, and Table T18 for abbreviations).
Indigo Inkling
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, is a website. Once you click on an article or a tab, then you’re on a webpage.

R33.4. Pincite

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.

R33.5. Date & Time

R33.5.1. When to include published time

Omit time:
  1. if the source is not updated throughout the day or
  2. 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.

R33.6. URL

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.
Indigo Inkling
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).