Oftentimes while reading an article, I’ll try to find a source mentioned in a footnote, only to discover that whoever wrote the footnote has just completely invented a new citation format and is now directing me to a source that does not exist. G.W. I.L.R.? Eur.Jour.Int.L.? Seriously, people? The worst offenders, by far, are those from other academic fields, as when citing to a legal source they seem to be blissfully unaware that such a thing as standardization exists.
Which means I have to puzzle over their random list of letters and try to reverse engineer the scramble until I figure out what journal they were trying to cite to, and then go rummage around to look up the actual abbreviation.
Okay, sure, in most cases that will take all of thirty seconds. In the grand scheme of things, this is a life problem that ranks about a .2 on a 10 point scale. It didn’t used to be an actual problem, as I had a system that was pretty reliable, but now that I’m no longer a student and don’t have magical legal database access powers, it’s gone from “minor nuisance” to “actual source of irritation.” So after the thousandth time of trying to find a journal article based upon someone’s insane made up version of a law review abbreviation, I finally decided to compile a handy reference collection myself. Sloppy footnoters will never cause me research anguish again:
- Bluebook Abbreviations of American Law Review Titles
- Abbreviation List of Random U.S. Legal Publications, Including Reporters, Statutes, Treaties, and Journals
- Abbreviations of Economic Journals, Global
- List of International Law Journals, does NOT include citations, but can help narrow down the possibilities if someone has really butchered a citation
- United Nations Document Citation System
- Citation Rules For if I Ever Get Stranded In A UK Courtroom [PDF]
- Australian Journals and Reporters (Aus. citation system) [PDF]
- International (European) Journals
- U.K. Journals and Reporters
- A Bunch of Random UK-centric Citations, has a few listings the other sources do not include
- European Journals
And, if all else fails, Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviations and NYU Guide to Foreign and International Legal Citations. These are very bulky and not good for quickly looking up common publications, but if nothing else is working, these will totally do the job.
Finally, this site is plausibly useful, but I’ve never actually had an occasion on which I needed to use it: International Citation Manual.