William and Mary Law School

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An update on international research.

This summer I entered the international field of law and I had a great time exploring it.  I researched environmental policies from all over the world and criminal tribunals in Rwanda, Yugoslavia, and Ethiopia.  I created a database on the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission and am currently working on a tri-tribunal comparison.   I studied the criminal code from several countries including Australia and England.  The research this summer was as engaging as I could hope for.  Before I started my summer research I picked up an international research packet created by the wonderful librarians at William and Mary Law.  I learned a few time saving tricks for international research based on that sheet.

UN documents can be found at http://documents.un.org.  It is a bad idea to use a secondary source for UN documents.  I have come across a lot of dead links and mislabeled documents.  It is easiest to just find the referenced UN document by using the official site.  A little bit of time dedicated to comparing the UN document matches will save a lot of time in the end.  One time a website mislabeled a document and I read for several hours before realizing that it was the wrong tribunal (it was the first time I read about the tribunal). 

Yale has an excellent “Country by Country” guide located at http://www.law.yale.edu/library/countires.asp.  You might wonder why a country by country guide is useful.  Simply, it allows you to organize and outline for a project.  International projects all very difficult to outline because sources come from journals, newspapers, and even blogs (rarely).  Outlining and organizing is a mess.  But with the country by country guide you can outline by countries and systematically search.  This is a great place to start a search.

Finding another country’s codes (in my case criminal codes) is somewhat difficult.  Googling a code for Australia for example will show the Queenland criminal code but not the other Australian states.  The best way to get started is to try the Library of Congress Collection at http://www.loc.gov/mulp/index.html.  The website has numerous codes and is easy to use.  The only flaw is the website does not have a complete collection.

The most important tool I learned to use was the SWEM homepage (not really a tool I know).  From the home page you can look into to Jstor, Hein, and other paid subscriptions with a William and Mary id.  International research is not restricted to just LAW.  A lot of the useful material came from social science journals.  Here is a list of my favorite: Hein Online, PAIS International, and CIAO.  Hein was especially useful and my current favorite search engine. 

I will keep this post short and hopefully add a last photo blog of my summer off of my blackberry (blackberry willing). 

Tony Guo