Monday, April 18, 2011

The Expanding Bluebook

Josh Blackman, a blogger and "aspiring academic" has charted the Bluebook's growth from its appearance in 1926 (28 pages) to its 19th edition in 2010 (511 pages).  (His chart also links to PDFs of the 1st through 15th editions, which are available on the Bluebook's website.
Extreme as this growth appears, it would be even greater if one took into account the increased page size. The 12th edition (1976), which was current when I began law school, was just 6 inches high and slipped easily into a coat pocket.   The 13th edition (1981) was 8 3/8 inches high.  And the 19th edition (2010) is a smidgen taller, at 8 1/2 inches. 

The growth isn't all bad.  The newer editions are easier to use -- better indexing, more examples, thumb tabs, etc. -- and that 12th edition would never lay flat because of the way it was bound.

Blackman suggests that law reviews experiment with having one Bluebook-free issue per year and see how much time it saves.

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