University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law Law Library


Leah Sandwell-Weiss, Reference Librarian

Shepard's citators serve three purposes:  they provide parallel citations, expand research, and verify and validate research results.

All Shepard's follow a similar format. The following illustrates a Federal Reporter entry from Shepard's Federal Citations:

Vol. 372
Pyles v. American Trading
& Production Corp.
s 244FS685
. . . . . . . . . .
Cir. 5
f 405F2d1951
d 691F2d51171
. . . . . . . . . .


the cited authority = Vol. 372;--611--; the legal authority that you are looking up in Shepard's Federal Citations is located in volume 372 of the Federal Reporter 2d at page 611.

same case = s 244FS685; the same case, but at the district court level.


citing authorities = Later opinions from the Fifth Circuit that cited the cited authority are:  f 405F2d1951 and d 691F2d51171

The "f" tells you that the citing authority followed the cited authority. The "d" tells you that the citing authority distinguished its facts and holding from that in the cited authority. Whenever you don't know the meaning of the abbreviation, look inside the front cover or in the beginning pages of the citator. The "History and Treatment Abbreviations" table gives you the meaning of the lower case letters (e.g.:  s, f, d) that precede the citing authority. The "Reporter Abbreviations" table gives you the meaning of the abbreviations for the reporters (e.g.:  ADC--Appeal Cases, District of Columbia Reports.)

f 405F2d1951 = A superscripted number within a citing authority, tells you that the citing authority addresses the same point of law as in the headnote of the cited authority, here headnote number 1.


  1. Find the proper citator set, in this case Shepard's Federal Citations, Federal Reporter.
  2. To be sure you have all the volumes in the citator set,
    1. locate the most current paper supplement (e.g. gold, red, white, blue, newsprint) and look on the front cover for the list of "What Your Library Should Contain"
    2. arrange the citator set by the volumes listed. As of February 2001, you would need the following items to Shepardize our example in the Federal Reporter:
      1. 1995 Bound Edition, Volumes 1 to 15
      2. 1995-1999 Bound Supplement, Volumes 1 to 7
      3. 1999-2000 Bound Supplement Volumes 1 to 3
      4. Supplemented with January 1, 2001, Red Cum. Supp., Vol. 91, No. 1, Part 1
      5. Supplemented with January 15, 2001, Blue Express Supp., Vol. 91, No. 2, Part 1
    3. check the scope of coverage on the cover of each volume
  3. Pull the volumes that contain the citation you are checking.
  4. Be sure you are looking at the correct tables of citations.
  5. Look for the volume number of your case.
  6. Look for the page number of your case.
  7. Examine the citing authorities listed.

NOTE:  Specific directions for each Shepard's Citators are in the front of each volume.