Foreign Law Collections in U.S. Libraries Website at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, Barco Law Library
Submitted by Michael Fleckenstein, University of Pittsburgh Barco Law Library
Over the course of the last several months, I have had the opportunity to contribute to the creation of the Foreign Law Collections in U.S. Libraries website (http://www.law.pitt.edu/library/International/foreigncollections.php) for the University of Pittsburgh's Barco Law Library. The website, part of the foreign collections database, consists of separate pages devoted to specific countries and jurisdictions around the world and the libraries that own various legal materials for each country located throughout the United States. The website features countries and jurisdictions and links to libraries that have materials such as the official gazette, legislation (both current and previous versions), case reports, and general treatises on the laws for particular countries.
The compiling of the countries listed and to be listed has been a two-part process.
First, surveys were sent to numerous law libraries throughout the country asking for the types of materials that they had as a part of their collection. These provided the materials for the first batch of pages.
Second, reference resources were utilized to obtain the names of materials for the countries not specifically earmarked as being part of any one library's collection. The main resource consulted being Foreign Law: Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World by Thomas H. Reynolds and Arturo A. Flores. After this initial phase was completed, WorldCat was utilized to find the libraries that contained the materials on their shelves or at least were listed in their catalogs.
The most challenging part of this process was trying to locate materials with difficult foreign spellings that do not always translate easily into the WorldCat system. This would also be a factor when double-checking the catalogs of the various libraries obtained from WorldCat to confirm that the same materials did in fact exist as a part of their collections. The best way to remedy this situation, I found, was to utilize the subject headings from the WorldCat records. Searching for a subject heading such as "Law India" was much easier than entering the foreign spelling of the reporters themselves and yielded much better results.
The purpose of this site is not only to provide easy access to foreign law materials at various other institutions; it also can provide extra revenue for libraries that have these materials and are solicited through inter-library loans, links for which are also provided as part of the information listed along with links to the catalogs and homepages for the libraries themselves. The only time that links are not provided for inter-library loan information is in those instances where there is a required log-on screen for that particular institution's service. However, for the most part, each category contains a link to at least one library that has a link to their inter-library loan office.
If your library collects materials from any countries or jurisdictions that are not a part of the list, please e-mail (Tashbook@law.pitt.edu) the names and the information for the materials you own that fit into the categories listed on the website (http://www.law.pitt.edu/library/International/foreigncollections.php).