Legal Citation of Blawgs or Blogs

A question arose on how to cite to a blawg or blog in a footnote or bibliography.

From my quick scan of print citation guides, it would appear that the print guides have yet to catch up with the blog phenomena (although I stand to be corrected and please do correct me if you find print/published examples on this topic).

The page here on the online site for the Chicago Manual of Style has an example of citing to what they call a “weblog entry or comment” (scroll down the page).

In addition, although the new 6th edition of the “McGill Guide” (the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation) does not appear to discuss “blogs” specifically, one could likely adapt their rules and examples on citing to electronic sources under Rule 6.19.

Thus, I invite comments on the following “example” I have created using a recent post from SLAW (based on a liberal adaptation of both the Chicago and McGill Guide examples):

Steven Matthews, “People are the Brand” on SLAW, (posted 17 November 2006)

Comments? Other examples?


  1. Actually, I think should have included the “permalink”, thus:

    Steven Matthews, “People are the Brand” on SLAW, (posted 17 November 2006)

  2. When a citation rule does not exist for something you want to cite, these are my two rules of thumb:

    1. include enough information so that the reader can locate the item again; and
    2. be consistent with the citation format throughout the text being written.

    This looks like it would fit the bill for the first instance. I wonder if you specifically want to mention it is a weblog? E.g.:

    Steven Matthews, “People are the Brand” on weblog SLAW,…..the-brand/ (posted 17 November 2006).

    That does look awkward and probably isn’t completely necessary. Note I have also added a period at the end.

    The next question: how does one cite a wiki, such as Wikipedia?

  3. Should the software creation tool influence the citation?

  4. The latest version of the Bluebook has a format for citing blogs; however, it leaves much to be desired (i.e. it sucks).

  5. According to the McGill Guide (E-183) this is how it would be done.

    Steven Matthews, “”People are the Brand”, online: Slaw

    The elements of the citation are: Traditional cite, online: name of website . The new edition of the McGill guide dropped the date requirement, my guess is because it is often irrelevant with many websites. If there were a date in the traditional cite (such as an article in a Newspaper that was accessed online i.e. an article from the Globe and Mail) the date would go in the traiditional part of the cite. It also specified to include a paragraph number if doing a pinpoint. At this juncture, the guide is not concerned if the cite in question came from a Blog, a Blawg, a Wiki or a website.

  6. Mark, what does McGill say about the URL? Does it require one? provide for one? the permalink or main URL? It would seem to me that without the address the citation is nearly useless.

  7. Hmm that didn’t come through properly let me redo. The URL is to go at the end like so: so:

    Steven Matthews, “”People are the Brand”, online: Slaw .

  8. Okay it is the posting, wordpress doesn’t seem to like .

    It is 6.19.3 page E-183 in the guide.