July 27, 2005

Procrastinated Geekery

by PG

This is old hat for people who had summer journal work that involved more than reading expedites, but I didn't have to open the package that held my brand spankin' new, 18th Edition Bluebook until today. In the course of reading a friend's Note, I thought I'd better check the citation of blog posts, which the 18th specifically addresses.

Posting to blogs take one of two formats. If there is only one poster to the blog, cite as a Web page, but include the date and time-stamp to indicate the specific posting cited. If there are multiple posters on the blog, cite as a posting to a discussion forum. In both cases, indicate the title of the blog before the URL:

single poster - How Appealing, http://legalaffairs.org/howappealing/ (Sept. 1, 2004, 21:20 EST).

multiple posters - Posting of Lyle Denniston to SCOTUSblog, http://www.goldsteinhowe.com/blog/index.cfm (Sept. 28, 2004, 13:26 EST).

This seems less than ideal to me, considering that someone checking the citation would have to go to the archives of the blog in order to find the specific post. For a site like Bashman's, with thousands posts organized by month, that could take a fair amount of time.* I agree that the date and time should be given in case the specific link isn't working -- a frequent issue with Blogger -- but the URL should be for the post so a person looking for the source could type that and get to it as quickly as possible. And giving a way to cite the post's title, if it has one, also would have been nice. The style used in the Note, post title comma date comma at specificURL, is more helpful than the "correct" one.

* And to get really ridiculously nitpicky -- because when we're talking Bluebook, why not? -- there isn't actually a How Appealing post for Sept. 1, 2004, 21:20 EST. The closest one came four minutes later. Also, SCOTUSblog moved to its own domain in February, but didn't move the archives. The cited post does exist, but is dated in non-military time, i.e. as 1:26 PM. So is the Bluebook mandating military time-stamps regardless of the actual style used by the blog? (By the way, the old SCOTUSblog's "link to this post" is worse than useless; it pops up this URL, which put into a browser of course leads to an error page.)

UPDATE: Supposedly yesterday was "Footnote Appreciation Day."

July 27, 2005 11:36 AM | TrackBack

And, interestingly, the only way to verify that the post from Bashman is in EST is to look in the RSS feed for the site. Pity the poor cite-checkers...

Posted by: A. Rickey at July 27, 2005 09:47 PM

"Less than perfect?"

I would go with "Totally fucking retarded", myself.

Posted by: Frankenstein at July 27, 2005 10:39 PM

Further evidence that the Bluebook and law reviews are both worthless and should be ignored by all.

Posted by: crunk at July 28, 2005 04:35 PM

And I thought *I* had no life.........

Posted by: Tolerant Lactose at July 28, 2005 05:31 PM

And, of course, the Bluebook ignores the many blogging systems that provide the equivalent of pinpoint citations, such as


which is far less ambiguous than the Bluebook's system. Consider, for example, the post that gets updated/corrected later; which timestamp is the "correct" one, especially if it is not clear what was changed during the update.

Posted by: Jaws at July 28, 2005 07:48 PM

It's a start. Maybe it'll get fixed in the 19th edition.

I like the shiny cover

Posted by: Farnsworth at July 28, 2005 08:15 PM
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