Recognition of Social Media as a Legitimate Source

I returned very early on Saturday morning after speaking in St. Louis, MO on February 9 and Kansas City, MO on February 10. (MOBAR offered TSL programs Take Charge of Your Life: Personal and Professional and The Ethics of Law Practice and Legal Marketing in a Social Media Environment at both locations.) Missouri attorneys are attentive eager learners and I appreciated their hospitality!

In the course of my preparation for the programs, I found that various manuals of style have developed standard citation forms to use when giving credit to information retrieved from various internet sources. The following is a short excerpt from program materials.

The Preface to the Nineteenth Edition of THE BLUEBOOK: A UNIFORM SYSTEM OF CITATION acknowledges the enhanced array of available resources courtesy of the internet: "Rule 18 has changed considerably, primarily to allow increased citation to Internet sources. Specific changes include: Rule 18.2.1(a) now provides guidance allowing citation to authenticated and official Internet sources as well as exact digital scans of print sources as if they were the original print source. These changes in rule 18 allowing citation to official, authenticated, or exact Internet copies of cited materials are also reflected in rules 10, 12, 15, 16, and 17. Guidance for citation to webpage titles of main pages and subheadings has been expanded in rule 18.2.2(b). Rule 18.2.2(a) now states that when no author of an Internet source is clearly announced, the author information should be omitted from the citation, unless there is a clear institutional owner of the domain. Additionally, institutional authors of Internet sources should be abbreviated according to rule 15.1(d). Rule 18.2.2(c) now states that citations to Internet sources should be dated as they appear on the Internet site, using only dates that refer clearly to the material cited. When material is undated, the date of the author's last visit to the website should be placed in a parenthetical after the URL. Rule 18.2.2(c) now also states that for blogs and other frequently updated websites, citations should include timestamps whenever possible. Rule 18.2.2(h) still encourages the archiving of Internet sources, but does not require the citation to indicate the location of an archival copy. Rules 18.6 and 18.7 now allow for the use of timestamps in citations to audio and video recordings. Rule 18.7.3 now provides citation guidance for podcasts and online recordings.

Professor James Grimmelmann provided vital advice and assistance in revising rule 18.” (Retrieved from - last visited Jan. 16, 2012)

Chicago Manual of Style. “Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide.” 16th Edition.

C. Vodzak. "Director Citations to Internet Sources: How to Cite to Blogs." June 7, 2011.

Purdue Online Writing Lab. “Reference List: Electronic Sources (Web Publications).” Last edited January 15, 2012.

If you know of any other manuals of style that have added citation rules for social media and internet sources, please email the information to me at

Categories: Uncategorized

Comments are closed.