Chapter 4, Commentary and Analysis
All freely available websites are available below. Updated and new sources as well as new content follow the footnotes below, organized by section of the Coursebook.
Sample Exercise (Instructors: Feel free to download and edit as you see fit. Please email us for the answer key.)
FN #2, Library of Congress Classification Outline
FN #3, Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
FN #4, Library of Congress Online Catalog
FN #5, European Library
FN #6, Libweb
FN #7, AcqWeb, this site is no longer available.
FN #23, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law
FN #24, Contents Pages from Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals
FN #25, Current Law Journal Content
FN #26, Hague Peace Palace Library
FN #27, Swiss Institute for Comparative Law
FN #28, Social Science Research Network (SSRN)
FN #29, Institute for International Law and Justice Working Papers is now called Global Working Papers
FN #30, DocuTicker
FN #31, ExpressO Preprint Series
References to page numbers in parentheses refer to pages in the Coursebook.
Section II. Bibliographic Databases and Online Catalogs
WorldCat is now freely available on the web. The Advanced Search allows you to perform more precise searches than does the main search page. For example, the Advanced Search page lets you look for books published within a specified date range and in a particular language (See pages 55-56.) Researchers may still want to use the version of WorldCat available at major libraries, however, because it allows for even more search options, such as searching for particular publishers or series titles.
Google Book Search (Google Books) has become an important tool for identifying useful commentary on international and foreign law. One major shortcoming of library catalogs is that their information--subject headings, book titles, and even chapter titles—doesn’t always tell the researcher whether the full text of the book contains useful material. To some extent, Google Book Search overcomes those limitations, because researchers can unearth aspects of books (brief discussions, footnotes, case studies, etc.) that may not be reflected in library catalog records.
As with most database interfaces, researchers should select the “Advanced” option for better control of searching. The Advanced Search interface in Google Books provides familiar Google options (phrase searching, excluding terms), but also adds some options specific to book searching. These include an ability to restrict searches to particular subject areas, and to search for particular authors and titles. The author-title options can help researchers figure out if a known book covers the topic in which they’re interested.
Of course, Google Book Search does not include every book published. You might find that it has no information on a particular book you’d like to know more about. Or, if you’re just searching for books on a topic, such as “ex gratia payments,” Google Book Search could give you the false impression that there is no book covering that topic. Google Books can also frustrate researchers by indicating that a book is relevant, but then refusing to show any text from the book, or just a short “snippet.” Often, pages or whole chapters are searchable, but not viewable. (These restrictions arise from copyright limitations and publisher decisions.) A final frustration is that Google Books does not permit the user to copy or print text. Nonetheless, researchers should become familiar with Google Book Search and know when to use it.
Public International Law: A Current Bibliography of Articles (see page 57.) Also still available in print. Szladits’ Bibliography on Foreign and Comparative Law ceased publication in 1998. (See page 57.)
Example of recent bibliography on an international law topic:
Ingrid Kost, Bibliography on the Katanga Case, 23 Leiden J. Int’l L. 375 (2010) (compiling articles on the ICC case against Congolese warlord Germain Katanga). (See page 58.)
Another way to increase the relevance of your results in both Westlaw and LexisNexis’s database of full-text law reviews is to use the “atleast” feature. You can add an “atleast” restriction to your Terms and Connectors searches, using any number you choose. This feature requires that any document you retrieve uses a term “at least” the specified number of times. Thus, for example, if you are looking for articles that deal with the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises, you can get better results by searching OECD w/s “guidelines for multinational enterprises” & atleast20(OECD) than by searching OECD w/s “guidelines for multinational enterprises.” Articles retrieved by the former search will use the term “OECD” at least twenty times, which means their discussion is likely to be more than just a passing reference or footnote.
When using the “atleast” feature, you should experiment with different numbers to see what number seems to provide the best tradeoff between relevance and precision. In other words, as you increase the number, you will have fewer results to review and fewer irrelevant documents (greater precision), but you might miss some relevant articles. Also, you must be careful to think through your choice of terms to require in the “atleast” feature. Often, authors will use a shorter designation, such as an acronym, for a key term. In the example of the OECD guidelines above, an author might use the full name of the “guidelines for multinational enterprises” in the article’s introduction, but then indicate that the guidelines will be referred to as “The Guidelines” for the rest of the article. Similarly, an article about the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women is likely to use the acronym “CEDAW” or even “The Convention” rather than repeat the full title of the treaty.
(See page 58.)
Section III.B. Journal Literature; Law-Related Journal Indexes
Section III.C. Journal Literature: Full-Text Journal Articles
Contemporary Women’s Issues is now available at http://www.gale.cengage.com.
You can supplement searches in full-text Westlaw and LexisNexis databases, as well as searches in legal periodical indexes, by using Google Scholar. Like Google Book Search, Google Scholar enables full-text searching of content, though it may not allow you to retrieve that content. Use the Advanced Search interface in Google Scholar; like the Advanced Search in Google Books, this interface lets you look for works by particular authors or with particular titles. (See page 61.)