Last year, while polishing up a first year writing assignment, I met with one of our research librarians to go through my citations. That was back when fifty footnotes seemed like a lot. I used everything from Canadian decisions to the Official Rules of Major League Baseball and to say I was not familiar with my Bluebook would be an understatement. The librarian whipped out her Bluebook, started turning pages feverishly while mumbling things like “…okay that’s probably T10…and we can find this on page 132…” When she finally looked up, into my blank stare, she explained that if it ever got to the point where she had the whole thing memorized, she would need a vacation.
I’m not quite vacation-bound yet, but I’m certainly almost there. The Bluebook I keep in my locker is tattered and dog-eared, and that’s the new one. Yes, the new one, because I have two. I keep one at school and one at home so I am not constantly lugging it back and forth with my other 1,000-plus-paged books. I’m quickly getting to know my way around it and am not quite sure how I feel about it.
But, I’m afraid I’ll never know my way around it the way my current article demands: I still have no idea how to cite a religious newsletter, written in Italian, that may or may not be from The Pope Himself (!). But I know this: if, or when I have graduated and am writing my own article, I’m absolutely making some poor second year student on law review do my bluebooking.