J.W. Long Law Library



Citations - What are they and how do you decipher them?

A citation is an abbreviated method for identifying a published source of information with sufficient specificity that subsequent readers can locate the original source.

Elements of a citation vary and will depend on the type of source.  E.g.,

Court Opinion:   Case name, volume number, published source, page number and date
State v. Metcalfe, 328 Or 309 (1999)

Law Review Article:  Title of article, volume, published source, page and date
"Interpreting Statutes Enacted by Initiative:  An Assessment of Proposals to Apply Specialized Interpretative Rules," 34 Willamette L.Rev. 487 (1998)

Session Law:  Name of act, chapter number, date published, source and page
The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, Ch. 4, 1999 Oregon Laws 5

Statute:  Jurisdiction, chapter and paragraph number
ORS 136.415

The primary difficulty with citations is to translate the abbreviations used for the thousands of published sources.  For added confusion, there may be several abbreviations for the same source and the same abbreviation may be used for several different sources.  E.g.,

Washington State Reports, Second Series:

  • W.2d
  • Wa.2d
  • Wn.2d


  • Washington Law Reporter (D.C)
  • Weekly Law Reports (Eng.)
  • Washington Law Review (Seattle)
  • Western Law Reporter (Canada)
  • Wisconsin Law Review
  • World Law Review

Alphabetical lists of abbreviations and their meanings are available in the following sources:

  • ALWD Citation Manual: See Appendices 3, 4 and 5. Reserve KF 245.A45.
  • Ballantine's Dictionary:  Brief list of abbreviations located in rear of book.  Located on all floors.
  • Black's Law Dictionary:  Appendices - Table of Abbreviations.  Located on all floors. 
  • The Bluebook:  A Uniform System of Citation:  Reference KF 245.B58.  Located behind the Reference Desk. Also on Reserve. The definitive source for how to cite different types of sources.  Not as useful in identifying sources. 
  • English Reports Wall Chart:  Located on wall adjacent to Room #126 on first floor, Ben's Den.  Translates nominative (named for the person transcribing the decision) old English reports to volumes of the English Reports, Full Reprint, located in the first floor Commonwealth section.  See a librarian for assistance. 
  • Hicks, Frederick C.  Materials and Methods of Legal Research.  KF 240.H53 1942.  An extensive list of abbreviations for U.S. and Commonwealth materials that pre-date the 1940's. 
  • Price, Miles O. and Bitner, Harry.  Effective Legal Research.  KF 240.P7 1953.  An extensive list of abbreviations for U.S. and Commonwealth materials that pre-date the 1950's. 
  • Prince's Bieber Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations:  Reference KF 246. B46.  Located behind the Reference Desk.  The definitive list of abbreviations since Price & Bitner. 
  • Raistrick, Donald.  Index to Legal Citations and Abbreviations:  Reference KD 400.R35.  Located behind the Reference Desk.  Especially good for English Commonwealth Citations. 
  • Richmond, Gail Levin.  Federal Tax Research: Guide to Materials and Techniques.  Appendix - Commonly Used Tax Abbreviations.  REF KF 241.T38 R5.  Located behind the Reference Desk. 
  • World Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations: Ref K 89.K38.  Located behind the Reference Desk.  Abbreviations for foreign law and legal literature.

Abbreviations for frequently cited sources are listed below.   Library locations for cited materials may be determined by consulting  the floor directories opposite the stairwells, the online catalog or with a librarian.

A.     Atlantic Reporter (National Reporter System)

A.2d     Atlantic Reporter, Second Series (National Reporter System)

ABA      American Bar Association

ABF     American Bar Foundation

A.F.T.R.     American Federal Tax Reports

A.F.T.R.2d     American Federal Tax Reports Second Series

A.G.Dec.     Attorney General's Decisions

A.L.I.     American Law Institute

A.L.R.     American Law Reports

A.L.R.2d     American Law Reports, Second Series

A.L.R.3d     American Law Reports, Third Series

A.L.R.4th     American Law Reports, Fourth Series

A.L.R.5th     American Law Reports, Fifth Series

A.L.R. 6th     American Law Reports, Sixth Series

A.L.R.Fed.     American Law Reports, Federal

A.L.R.Fed.2d     American Law Reports, Federal Second

A.M.C.     American Maritime Cases

A.O.     Administrative Order

Am.Jur.2d     American Jurisprudence, Second Series

Arb     Labor Arbitration Awards (CCH)

BC     Bellinger and Cotton's Annotated Codes (Oregon;1902)

B.C.D.     Bankruptcy Court Decisions

BIA     Bureau of Indian Affairs

B.I.A.     Board of Immigration Appeals

B.R.     West's Bankruptcy Reporter (National Reporter System)

B.T.A.     United States Board of Tax Appeals Reports

Cal.Rprt.     California Reporter (National Reporter System)

C.B.     Cumulative Bulletin, Internal Revenue Bureau, Treasury Department

C.B.C.     Collier Bankruptcy Cases

CBC.2d     Collier Bankruptcy Cases, Second Series

C.F.R.     Code of Federal Regulation

C.J.S.     Corpus Juris Secundum

Cl.Ct.     United States Claims Court Reporter (National Reporter System)

Crim.L.Rep.     Criminal Law Reporter (BNA)

Cum.Bull.     Cumulative Bulletin, Internal Revenue Bureau

D     Deady's General Laws of Oregon (1845-1865)

DOJ     Department of Justice

E.A.S.     Executive Agreement Series

Envtl.L.     Environmental Law (Lewis & Clark Northwestern School of Law Journal)

Eng.Rep.R.     English Reports (Full Reprint)

EPD     Employment Practice Decisions (CCH)

EBB     Employee's Benefit Board (Oregon)

ERB     Employment Relations Board

F.     Federal Reporter (National Reporter System)

F.2d     Federal Reporter, Second Series (National Reporter System)

F.3d     Federal Reporter, Third Series (National Reporter System)

F.Cas.No.     Federal Cases Number

Fed.Cl.     Federal Claims Reporter (National Reporter System)

F.E.L.A.     Federal Employers' Liability & Compensation Acts

FEP Cases     Fair Employment Practice Cases (BNA)

F.L.R.     Family Law Reporter (BNA)

FNMA     Federal National Mortgage Association

FOIA     Freedom of Information Act

F.R.     Federal Register

F.R.B.     Federal Reserve Bulletin

F.R.C.P.     Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

F.R.Crim.P.     Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

F.R.D.     Federal Rules Decisions (National Reporter System)

FRE     Federal Rules of Evidence

F.Supp.     Federal Supplement (National Reporter System)

F.Supp.2d     Federal Supplement Second Series (National Reporter System)

F.T.C.     Federal Trade Commission

Gen.Dig.     General Digest

GNMA     Government National Mortgage Association

H     Hill's Annotated laws of Oregon (1887)

HB     House Bill

Harv.L.Rev.     Harvard Law Review

H.R.S.     Hawaii Revised Statutes

I.&N.     Immigration and Nationality Laws Administrative Decisions (Justice Department)

I.&N. Dec.     Immigration and Nationality Decisions

ICC     Indian Claims Decisions (U.S.)

ICC     Interstate Commerce Commission

I.D.     Interior Department Decisions (U.S.)

IER     Individual Employment Rights Cases (BNA)

I.R.B.     Internal Revenue Bulletin

I.R.C.     Internal Revenue Code

K.B.     King's Bench

LA     Labor Arbitration Reports (BNA)

L.Ed.     Lawyers Edition, United States Supreme Court Reports

L.Ed.2d     Lawyers Edition, United States Supreme Court Reports, Second Series

LOL     Lord's Oregon Laws (1910)

LRRM     Labor Relations Reference Manual (BNA)

LTR     Private Letter Ruling

LUBA     Land Use Board of Appeals (Oregon)

M.J.     Military Justice Reporter (National Reporter System)

M.S.P.B.     Decisions of the United States Merit System Protection Board

N.E.     North Eastern Reporter (National Reporter System)

N.E.2d     North Eastern Reporter, Second Series (National Reporter System)

N.L.R.A.     National Labor Relations Act

N.L.R.B.     National Labor Relations Board

9th Cir.  BAP  (Or)      9th Circuit Bankruptcy  Appellate Panel (Oregon)

N.W.     North Western Reporter (National Reporter System)

N.W.2d     North Western Reporter, Second Series (National Reporter System)

N.Y.S.     New York Supplement (National Reporter System)

N.Y.S.2d     New York Supplement, Second Series (National Reporter System)

OAR     Oregon Administrative Rules

OC     Oregon Code Annotated (1930)

O.C.L.A.     Oregon Compiled Laws Annotated

OLR     Oregon Law Review (University of Oregon)

Or     Oregon Supreme Court Reports

ORAP     Oregon Rules of Appellate Procedure

Or.App.     Oregon Court of Appeals Decisions

ORCP     Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure

ORE     Oregon Rules of Evidence

ORS     Oregon Revised Statutes

ORSA     Oregon Revised Statutes Annotated

OTA     Oregon Tax Court Reports

P.     Pacific (National Reporter System)

P.2d     Pacific, Second Series (National Reporter System)

P.3d     Pacific, Third Series (National Reporter System)

PECBA     Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act (Oregon)

PERS     Public Employee Retirement System (Oregon)

P.L.     Public Law (United States)

P.U.R.     Public Utilities Reports

P.U.R. (N.S.)     Public Utilities Reports, New Series

P.U.R.3d     Public Utilities Reports, Third Series

P.U.R.4th     Public Utilities Reports, Fourth Series

Q.B.     Queen's Bench

RCW     Revised Code of Washington

Rev.Proc.     Revenue Procedures

Rev.Rul.     Revenue Rulings

S.B.     Senate Bill

S.Ct.     Supreme Court Reporter (National Reporter System)

S.E.     Southeastern Reporter (National Reporter System)

S.E.2d     Southeastern Reporter, Second Series (National Reporter System)

S.E.C.     Securities and Exchange Commission

SLR     Supplementary Local Rules (Oregon)

So.     Southern (National Reporter System)

So.2d     Southern, Second Series (National Reporter System)

S.W.     South Western (National Reporter System)

S.W.2d     South Western, Second Series (National Reporter System)

S.W.3d     South Western, Third Series (National Reporter System)

Stat.     Statutes at Large (U.S.)

T.C.     Tax Court (U.S.)

TCM     Tax Court Memorandum Decisions (CCH)

T.D.     Treasury Decisions (U.S.)

TIAS     Treaties and Other International Acts Series

U.C.C.     Uniform Commercial Code

UCMJ     Uniform Code of Military Justice

U.L.A.     Uniform Laws Annotated

U.S.C.     United Sates Code

U.S.C.A.     United States Code Annotated (west)

U.S.C.C.     United States Court of Claims

U.S.C.C.A.N.     United States Code Congressional & Administrative News

U.S.C.C.P.A.     United States Court of Customs & Patent Appeals

U.S.C.S.     United States Code Service (Lexis Pub.)

U.S. Ct.Cl.     United States Court of Claims

U.S.D.C.     United States District Court

U.S. L.W.     United States Law Week (BNA)

U.S.P.Q.     United States Patent Quarterly (BNA)

U.S.T.     United States Treaties & Other International Agreements

U.S.T.C.     United States Tax Cases (CCH)

UTCR     Uniform Trial Court Rules (Oregon)

Vet.App.     West's Veteran's Appeals Reporter (National Reporter System)

WAC     Washington Administrative Code

W.H.     Wage & Hour Cases (BNA)

Willamette Law Rev.     Willamette Law Review

WLR     Willamette Law Review

Wn.     Washington Reports

Wn.2d     Washington Reports, Second Series

Y.B.     Yearbook

Yr.Bk.     Yearbook