How to cite us

We are happy to announce that we now offer our users the ability to cite judicial opinions and statutes on our Web site using a standard and vendor neutral format.

The importance of electronic sources in American law is growing quickly. We are convinced that we should do everything possible to make citing materials in electronic databases consistent, easy and open.

Therefore we have designed our URIs so that by inserting a citation with the PreCYdent URI into any document, your browser will take you to the corresponding opinion with one click. These URIs will follow a simple, standard format.

The URI for citing judicial opinions which already have a vendor based citation at is:[volume number]/[reporter code]/[page number]

It is possible to cite also docket opinions. In this case the structure of the URI is:[abbreviation of the court]/[docket number]

The abbreviation of the court is the official abbreviation used by the American Associations of Law Librarians. So for example if you would like to cite the docket case USA v. Mabry with docket 06-2324 of the Sixth Circuit
The PreCYdent docket citation will be: App (6th)/06-2324

The URI for the federal statutes is:[title]/[statutes code]/[chapter]

Thus, for example, if you would like to cite the case having the official citation 158 F.3d 674, the PreCYdent URI will be:

If you want to cite the US Code at 3 U.S.C. 2, the PreCYdent URI will be:

If you want to cite the US Code at 3 U.S.C.section 5, the PreCYdent URI will be:

By embedding this URI in an electronic document, you will allow your users to simply click on the citation and be taken to PreCYdent’s version of the document, which will be free and open to all.

Many official versions of the American law are privately published, as strange as this may seem to lawyers and many others outside the U.S. In recent years, law librarians have called for a “vendor neutral” or “public domain” citation system, to assure that law really is in the public domain. Some legal publishers have even claimed that the official citations of substantial bodies of American law belong to them, and cannot be published by anyone else without their permission and payment of licensing fees. At PreCYdent, we believe that law first and foremost must be public, and that citation of authority is fundamental to the rule of law. Therefore we are committed to promoting vendor-neutral or public domain citation systems.

We are therefore happy to announce that we have introduced a public domain citation system for all federal opinions in our database which will run parallel to the official, but frequently non-vendor neutral citation system used by federal and many other courts. PreCYdent’s public domain citation system makes every effort to be consistent with the neutral citation standards of the American Association of Law Librarians (AALL). (See ).

The AALL system is straightforward: [year] [Court abbreviation] [a number provided by PreCYdent to the opinions in our db so that they are numbered sequentially].

The format of the citation URI will be:[volume]/[court]/[number]

Thus, for example, if you would like to cite the case having the official citation 158 F.3d 674, the PreCYdent URI will be: App (2nd)/494

You will find the neutral citation in the opinion along with the official vendor-based citation. So, for example, if you would want to cite the case 158 F.3d 674, you have two options:

1) The official vendor-based URI:
2) The neutral citation-based URI: App (2nd)/494

You can find the neutral citation of any case by searching the case with the official citation.

Once you have the neutral citation you can insert into your documents the neutral citation-based URI and all the users will be able to reach the target opinion by clicking on the link.

With our neutral citation based URIs, you can also cite to the slip opinions of the federal courts covered in our database, including many federal district court cases. You will find the neutral or public domain citation on the pages of the opinion. The neutral citation is also built into the URI following the convention explained in this announcement. By incorporating this URI into your electronic document, readers who click on the link will be taken directly to the opinion. In many cases, this destination will include a pdf of the original court document.

We believe that conforming to the AALL standard, even if it is not followed by most Courts, will help keep the importance of public domain citation practices before the professional legal community. PreCYdent will also provide the currently official and usually private-vendor-based citations, for the convenience of our users. But the availability of legal authorities with AALL citations will be there as an alternative.

We should note that this project is PreCYdent’s own, and that we are acting not on behalf of the AALL or any other group. We just think the AALL standard makes great sense, and that its objectives are admirable. So we are giving it a try.

Critics of public domain citation have frequently argued that public domain citations are “citations to nowhere,” that there is no reporter or service that actually uses them. Not any more.

To our knowledge, our efforts to generate public domain citations for federal appellate decisions and later all federal and state decisions will be the largest of its kind ever attempted.

We urge our users to take advantage of this innovation as much as possible, and support the efforts of American law librarians and many others, including PreCYdent, to put American law in the public domain, where it belongs.

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© 2008 PreCYdent, Inc. – About PreCYdent – Advertise with us – F.A.Q. – How to cite us

All cases and statutes published on this site are in the Public Domain