The Bluebook Online (www.legalbluebook.com) has recently released a major update — from what we can tell, the first update since the site was launched in 2008.
When logging into legalbluebook.com, users now have the option of using the "Beta" version. Upon creating a new login, users are then able to navigate on what we think is a hugely improved interface.
Here are the aspects of the site that stand out to us the most:
The most obvious update is simply the new design. Although the overall layout mirrors the old site (i.e., navigation on the left, menu bar at the top, and content on the right), the feel of the site is fundamentally different. For example, the new site makes excellent use of white space, allowing the user to clearly see the distinctions between different parts of the book. In short, it has the feel of a 2020 website, rather than the Web 1.0 website that has been in use for the last 12 years.
The search is also massively improved. The old search usually provides irrelevant results at the top of the page — now, the search typically pops up the desired rule in the first or second result. Given that many attorneys navigate through the online Bluebook via search, we view this as perhaps the second-most significant update, after the general design.
Another major addition is the “pinning” feature. You may recall that the old Bluebook Online included a "bookmarks" feature that was useful — but also quite unwieldy. The pinning feature allows users to add a section or subsection to a customized list of “pins” that can be readily accessed as part of the left-side navigation menu. To pin the section, the user simply clicks on an icon the bottom-right corner of the page, automatically adding the page to the pin menu. There, the user can organize the pins as they wish, or remove them when they are no longer relevant.
The user’s homepage is also much easier to navigate. Whereas the old site included a bunch of extraneous information, the new site has the bare minimum: recently viewed sites, latest pins, and a way to access help. Much cleaner, and much quicker to find what you need.
Lastly, it now appears that non-subscribers are able to use Table 2 of the Whitepages (Foreign Jurisdictions) without paying a dime. In other words, you’re able to test out the interface of a large chunk of the Bluebook before deciding whether you want to subscribe. To check it out, you can click here: Table 2.
Although there are some features that seem to have gone away (at least in the beta), such as groups and notes, we view the new release of the Bluebook Online as a huge step in the right direction for the publication.