Bluebook Software

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programmer123
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:49 pm

Bluebook Software

Postby programmer123 » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:14 pm

I hope this is the right forum to ask this question. If not, my apologies.

I'm a computer programmer and I'm considering writing a web-based application that performs Bluebook citations. It strikes me that much of the work (e.g., abbreviations, italics, ordering of sources) is rather tedious and ought to be automated, but I'd like to hear from law students' perspectives before I begin serious work on the project.

So, I have a few questions:

Would you use Bluebook citation software if it were reliable and available?
Note: In my current plan for the software, the reasons behind every correction would be stated explicitly and each correction would be accompanied with a link to the appropriate page of the online Bluebook for anyone who wanted/needed to check the software's accuracy.

What's more important to you: software that double-checks your citations (like the grammar check in Microsoft Word) or software that performs the citations for you? Ideally, the program would/could do both, but the latter is more reliable for creating perfect citations.

What is most annoying part of Bluebook citation work for you?

Would you pay for the convenience of using this software? What would be reasonable for you? What would be unreasonable?

Why doesn't this software exist already?

I'm somewhat of a babe in the woods with regard to the everyday use of Bluebook citation (though I've read through and am familiar with the Bluebook itself), so please feel free to enlighten me. It seems that there are plenty who want this software to exist, and I should be able to have a beta version ready in a few months if the interest is there.

So let me know! I'm happy to answer any questions as well.

Thanks!

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brotherdarkness
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:11 pm

Re: Bluebook Software

Postby brotherdarkness » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:34 pm

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Last edited by brotherdarkness on Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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kalvano
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Re: Bluebook Software

Postby kalvano » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:34 pm

Don't forget about jurisdiction-specific citations.

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ph14
Posts: 3224
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Bluebook Software

Postby ph14 » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:49 pm

programmer123 wrote:I hope this is the right forum to ask this question. If not, my apologies.

I'm a computer programmer and I'm considering writing a web-based application that performs Bluebook citations. It strikes me that much of the work (e.g., abbreviations, italics, ordering of sources) is rather tedious and ought to be automated, but I'd like to hear from law students' perspectives before I begin serious work on the project.

So, I have a few questions:

Would you use Bluebook citation software if it were reliable and available?
Note: In my current plan for the software, the reasons behind every correction would be stated explicitly and each correction would be accompanied with a link to the appropriate page of the online Bluebook for anyone who wanted/needed to check the software's accuracy.

What's more important to you: software that double-checks your citations (like the grammar check in Microsoft Word) or software that performs the citations for you? Ideally, the program would/could do both, but the latter is more reliable for creating perfect citations.

What is most annoying part of Bluebook citation work for you?

Would you pay for the convenience of using this software? What would be reasonable for you? What would be unreasonable?

Why doesn't this software exist already?

I'm somewhat of a babe in the woods with regard to the everyday use of Bluebook citation (though I've read through and am familiar with the Bluebook itself), so please feel free to enlighten me. It seems that there are plenty who want this software to exist, and I should be able to have a beta version ready in a few months if the interest is there.

So let me know! I'm happy to answer any questions as well.

Thanks!


I have no knowledge about this, but maybe there is a licensing issue in developing software to Bluebook sources. I have no idea of the applicable law(s) though. I personally would not bother using the software, unless we are talking something like the Westaw "copy with citation" type deal, either on Westlaw sources or on website sources. Also, there might be some issues with the gray areas in the Bluebook.

programmer123
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:49 pm

Re: Bluebook Software

Postby programmer123 » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:53 pm

Thanks, brotherdarkness,

I think the challenge for the software is to make it 100% reliable. If you need to scrutinize the work the software does, it's pretty useless.

The hope, in a case like yours, would be that it would:

1) speed up your routine citing tasks (you would just input information into fields, and the software would output a text line that is a correctly formatted citation)

2) either directly apply the bluebook rules for an obscure document OR, if the circumstances weren't clear, alert you of what rules may apply (and you could choose the rule to follow and the software would format your cite according to that rule)

Since I am new to the process, what would be an example of an obscure document? Is the difficulty that it is hard to find what applies in the Bluebook or is the difficulty that the Bluebook isn't clear? Software can be exceptionally useful for sifting through a huge set of rules and applying the correct one, but it might run into problems if there isn't a clearly defined rule to apply.

I think the software would likely appeal less to those (like you) who have mastered the Bluebook, and more to 1L's who would rather avoid learning the Bluebook and let a computer take over.

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ph14
Posts: 3224
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Bluebook Software

Postby ph14 » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:59 pm

programmer123 wrote:Thanks, brotherdarkness,

I think the challenge for the software is to make it 100% reliable. If you need to scrutinize the work the software does, it's pretty useless.

The hope, in a case like yours, would be that it would:

1) speed up your routine citing tasks (you would just input information into fields, and the software would output a text line that is a correctly formatted citation)

2) either directly apply the bluebook rules for an obscure document OR, if the circumstances weren't clear, alert you of what rules may apply (and you could choose the rule to follow and the software would format your cite according to that rule)

Since I am new to the process, what would be an example of an obscure document? Is the difficulty that it is hard to find what applies in the Bluebook or is the difficulty that the Bluebook isn't clear? Software can be exceptionally useful for sifting through a huge set of rules and applying the correct one, but it might run into problems if there isn't a clearly defined rule to apply.

I think the software would likely appeal less to those (like you) who have mastered the Bluebook, and more to 1L's who would rather avoid learning the Bluebook and let a computer take over.


Examples of obscure documents are administrative regulations, foreign laws (both cases and statutes), and legislative history. The difficulty is a lot of times that the Bluebook isn't clear and that there are gaps in coverage where you have to use your best judgment. The Bluebook is already online at legalbluebook.com, so it's not too hard to find the rule, although in some situations it can be difficult. I think it would be most useful if you could somehow make it so if you copy a website URL it will format a Bluebook citation for you, or same thing with an article on Westlaw, etc.

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brotherdarkness
Posts: 3254
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:11 pm

Re: Bluebook Software

Postby brotherdarkness » Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:10 pm

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Last edited by brotherdarkness on Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

goaheadualright
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:41 am

Re: Bluebook Software

Postby goaheadualright » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:13 am

hey just saw this! love the idea. i have looked into it before and there are some websites

http://citeuslegalus.com/

--LinkRemoved--

and I'm sure more you can find by typing in bluebook generator, etc. so use them to see where improvements can be made and keep us posted!




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