• Bookmark and Share

FCIL Newsletter / October

1997 Reports from the FCIL-SIS

Committees & Working Groups

Minutes of the Asian Law Working Group - Joan Liu New York, University Law Library

The Asian Law working group business meeting was held at Baltimore Convention Center on July 20, 1997. Wei Luo, the Chair of the group, convened the meeting.

Asia has become the world's most dynamic region because of its unparalleled diversity of nations and their legal and economic systems. Therefore, the legal research interests and demands for accessing legal information on these jurisdictions are greatly increasing. A significantly larger number of law librarians than last year joined the meeting. The meeting started with librarians introducing the current status of Asian law collections in their institutions. A number of interesting topics and issues arose and were discussed during the meeting.

Except for a few law libraries (such as the Library of Congress, Harvard Law Library, Columbia Law Library, University of Washington Law Library, etc.), most libraries with which the attendees are affiliated still do not have very comprehensive collections on Asian jurisdictions, although the libraries are making efforts to acquire as many available resources as possible on limited budgets. Soaring costs for Asian legal materials, especially for East Asia, provide even more obstacles to housing extensive library collections. It was agreed that Internet resources would be a meaningful supplemental resource for these jurisdictions. Some reliable and informative web pages were recommended. Attendees also exchanged information on recent Asian Law publications and new electronic products and their acquisition resources. For instance, the librarians from Columbia reported that, like the University of Washington, Columbia now has Hanrei Taikei's CD-ROM containing more than 120,000 cases from 1875 through July 1996 on Japanese law reporters and periodicals, plus digests of a number of the older cases. Columbia also houses a very good online database called "Current Legal Information," which serves as an index to both legal articles and cases. Wei Luo mentioned that Washington University School of Law is committed to building its Chinese law collection to become the best Chinese law collection in the Midwest Region.

How to organize Asian materials to make library access easier was another interesting topic for the attendees. The University of Washington Law Library will finish its Chinese, Korea, and Japanese recon soon. New York University Law Library is integrating the major vernacular materials on Chinese and Japanese Law into their online catalog by outsourcing them to a CJK cataloger at the University of Washington.

An exciting idea initiated by Wei Luo was discussed by the attendees: a collaborative project on creating a Website for Asian Legal Research on the Internet. Under this project, a main Internet Asian Legal Research web page will be created. Any librarian who is interested in Asian Law can select one Asian nation, or a region as a whole, and be responsible for developing and updating the homepage for the site of the jurisdiction that he/she selects. The URL should be sent to Wei Luo (luo@wulaw.wustl.edu) for linkage to the main homepage. Wei Luo will be working on guidelines for the structure of the homepage so the format will be consistent. Each resource, site, or link should be annotated and contain information on how to read the text in the vernacular materials. So far, only two Asian country sites are available:

1) Internet Korean Legal Research Resources, created by Heija Ryoo, at Southern Illinois University School of Law Library (http://www.siu.edu/offices/lawlib/koreanlaw/khomepag.htm)

2) Internet Chinese Legal Research Center, created by Wei Luo at Washington University School of Law Library (http://ls.wustl.edu/Chinalaw/)

Due to time constraints, the meeting had to be ended although a lot of issues were still in discussion. While most of the attendees moved to other meetings, some of them continued the discussion.

Not able to attend the convention at Baltimore, Andrew Berger e-mailed a brief report to the int-law-list about the activities on Counsel Connect, an online service for lawyers. Andrew is moderating the Japan forum on this site, where the discussions on legal practices between the United States and Japan are emphasized. Kent McKeever, Director of Columbia University Law Library, joined the meeting "virtually" by submitting a report on Columbia's Toshiba Japanese Library. His report includes the following interesting information:

Over the last few years, Yukino (Columbia University Law Library) has acquired a large number of English translations of Japanese legislative materials. Much of this is in the form of "gray literature", publications meant for agency use which have not been widely distributed. She has been working on an index and hopes to have it finished by the end of the year. . . ." "The Columbia Journal of Asian Law is preparing an enlargement of their "Greenbook", which is a citation guide to Chinese law. It is being enlarged to include Korean law and Japanese law as well. The journal editors are working on the Chinese materials. Prof. Jeong-Ho Roh of the Columbia Center for Korean Legal Studies is working on the Korean Materials, and Yukino is working up the Japanese text.

Minutes of the CIS and Eastern European Law Working Group - Radu D. Popa, NYU Law Library

The annual meeting of the Working Group on CIS and Eastern European Law was convened Sunday, July 20, at 2:00 p.m. by Radu D. Popa of NYU Law Library. He introduced two Armenian law faculty from Yerevan State University School of Law, Armen Harutyunyan and Sergey Arakelyan. The guests offered a brief overview of the legislative process in Armenia, as well as of the ongoing projects that will eventually make Armenian legislation available via the Internet. Armenian scholars are presently working on the law reform that will integrate Armenia into the European world, after more than 50 years of Soviet dominance.

The audience--more than 25 attendants--were very interested in knowing about a jurisdiction from where legal materials are not available very often, whether in English or in the vernacular. Radu D. Popa highlighted the fact that five Armenian law faculty were completing an internship at NYU Law Library, as part of an USAID program.

Aaron Kuperman and Mark Strattner, from the Library of Congress, brought up issues related to cataloging Armenian legal materials, as well as materials from other related jurisdictions in the former Soviet Union, such as Georgia, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine.

As the floor became open for general business, other librarians, such as Marylin Raisch from Columbia Law Library, Maria Smolka-Day from the University of Pennsylvania Law Library, and Lyonette Louis-Jacques from the University of Chicago Law Library, raised interesting issues about legal documentation in the former Soviet republics and former communist countries of Eastern Europe. A major topic has been access to information and reliability on translations (both official and commercial). M. Kathie Price, the NYU Law Library Director and former Law Librarian at the Library of Congress emphasized the importance of the GLIN project for all the evolving democracies and the need for standards in providing legal information via the Internet.

FCIL Education Subcommittee Report - Marci Hoffman and Gail Partin, Co-Chairs

Well, we made it through another round of program proposals. As usual, the process was frantic and we pestered people throughout. The results were well worth the effort. We had many interesting proposals submitted by the FCIL members. The Education Subcommittee carefully reviewed all of the proposals and made constructive comments. The most difficult part, with so many well developed proposals, was to decide on the rankings. The final rankings were based on the topic, the format, and what we thought AMPSC would be most interested in seeing. If a program was not high on the ranking, it was not an indication that we believed it had less merit. The proposals are listed below in alphabetical order.

Approaching the New Horizon: Foreign and International Research Instruction in the Law School and Law Firm (resubmitted from last year)

Close Encounters of the Legal Kind: The Interaction of International Law and Popular Culture

Discovering A New Horizon for Government Information Resources: Using U.S. Government Publication for International Research

Fifty Years After Nuremberg and Tokyo: The Future of International and Domestic Prosecutions of War Crimes

Foreign Official Gazettes: Traditional Sources and Emerging Technologies Guiding Principles of the 21st Century: The 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Heute, Ich bin ein Berliner - An Encyclopedia Isn't an Encyclopedia to a Civil Trained Lawyer

The Information Society: European Union Documents in the United States

Landmark on the New Horizon: The International Criminal Court

Legal Information for Evolving Democracies: The Round-Trip Token (resubmitted from last year)

The FCIL SIS co-sponsored the following programs:

Bacon's World: The Law in the Renaissance (submitted by and co-sponsored with Legal History & Rare Books SIS)

New Horizons in the Asia-Pacific Region: APEC and the United States in the 21st Century (submitted by and co-sponsored with Asian-American Law Libraries Caucus)

We were just notified that half of our programs were selected. The programs and times are indicated below (arranged by date and time), so mark you calendars:

Guiding Principles of the 21st Century: The 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights A-5, Sunday 7/12, 10:00-12:00

Approaching the New Horizon: Foreign and International Research Instruction in the Law School and Law Firm C-9, Monday 7/13, 8:30-10:00

Discovering A New Horizon for Government Information Resources: Using U.S. Government Publication for International Research D-8, Monday 7/13, 10:15-11:45

Fifty Years After Nuremberg and Tokyo: The Future of International and Domestic Prosecutions of War Crimes E-5, Monday 7/13, 3:15-5:15

The Information Society: European Union Documents in the United States H-7, Tuesday 7/14, 1:30-3:00

In addition, the following program, submitted by and co-sponsored with the History & Rare Books SIS, was selected:

Bacon's World: The Law in the Renaissance

We were told that our SIS had some of the best written proposals. According to our liaison to AMPSC, the subcommittee rankings had little bearing on the final selections. AMPSC had a hard time deciding on which programs to select. They had 67 slots and 124 proposals. This note was posted on the Anaheim program listserv by Michael St. Onge, chair of AMPSC (some portions omitted):


You made our choice very difficult. We were pleasantly surprised at the high quality proposals we received this year, and while we did increase the number of programs to 67 (up from 52 last year), we were still not able to choose all of the programs we would have liked. If your program was not chosen, we'd like to encourage you to try again next year. If we offered constructive comments, spend some time reexamining the program proposal to make it as strong as possible, and then resubmit it.

We have changed the structure of the schedule for the meeting. As you know, we had originally intended on grouping the programs together according to subject. That would allow a certain synergy to occur after each day's keynote speaker. As we laid it out in Chicago, though, it was clear that the idea wasn't going to work as planned. After talking with President Judy Meadows, we've decided to keep the idea of subject designations, but spread them throughout the entire week. For example, the first program slot (Sunday, 10:00 - noon) will have three management programs, one technology, three law and two information. Each program slot will have a similar arrangement. Obviously, the numbers vary according to the slot, but every slot has at least one program in each of the four categories. This has several advantages:

1) It allows people who are interested in specific topics (technology, information, law and management) to find programs of interest throughout the entire meeting rather than on just one day. It creates a sort of subject "track" that will be appealing to attendees; [and]

2) We avoid major conflicts in scheduling SIS programs against each other. Since a number of SISs are subject-oriented, we could spread out their programs so they wouldn't compete for the same audience.

Believe me, it will make more sense to you when you see it all laid out, but I think you'll be pleased.

Because of the varying lengths of the program time slots and the difficulty this presented in scheduling, we found it necessary to assign the dates and time slots to the approved programs, just to make certain everything fit. This has several advantages: you can plan accordingly; when you contact the speakers, you'll be able to give them a definitive date and time so they can block it in their calendars; you can begin advertising your program to interested constituencies; and we can move to the alphanumeric designation of the program more quickly. Programs will now be referred to as "B-4", for example, which identifies it as the fourth program in the second program slot (hence the "B") instead of by the random number they were assigned when they came into headquarters. In the long run, it'll be a lot easier.

Lastly, we are working on developing a series of handbooks that will help both program coordinators and program speakers in their respective roles. It is exciting to see these handbooks taking shape, and we know that both groups will appreciate the information. Once they have been completed, they will automatically be sent to all program coordinators and designated speakers. In addition, we hope to have copies available to anyone who'd like them. Watch this list for more information. We are, of course, interested in any comments or suggestions you might have to improve them for next year.

Again, thank you so much for all of your effort in making the educational programming for Anaheim a success. We welcome your comments and suggestions about ways to improve the selection process and educational programming at the annual meeting as a whole, and we look forward to working with you in Anaheim or in some future endeavor.


We wish to thank everyone for all of their efforts in making education a priority for our SIS.

Report of the Latin American Law Working Group Dennis Sears, Brigham Young University Law Library

The Latin American Law Working Group met on Sunday, July 20, 1997 at 5:00 p.m. in the Baltimore Convention Center (BCC). Edgardo Rotman (University of Miami School of Law Library) chaired the meeting.

Edgardo distributed copies of the newsletter Novedades: News from the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade. He indicated that a number of databases for Latin American countries are available through Novedades at no charge for international users.

In connection with this discussion of online resources, Jonathan Franklin (University of Michigan Law Library) raised the issue of ownership versus access. He expressed his concerns about both format and time. The issues of how reliable and how current materials are on the Internet were also raised during the discussion. Kenneth E. Rudolf (Yale University Law Library) indicated that he relies on the Internet for materials that his institution does not usually purchase. An additional observation was made that many databases are useful but idiosyncratic.

Mirela Roznovschi (New York University Law School Library) stated that the Internet site for El Sistema Argentino de Inform tica Jur¡dica (SAIJ) is excellent for Argentine laws in the vernacular. This site is sponsored by the Argentine Ministry of Justice and can be accessed without charge. Lyonette Louis-Jacques (University of Chicago D'Angelo Law Library) reminded the group of the law-related Listserv Derecho from Argentina, located on Majordomo.

Two valuable Internet sites were identified at the University of Texas and Georgetown University. Also problems with the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) search engine were noted.

Lexis/Nexis has a good database for Argentina, but everything is in Spanish. Westlaw has developed a niche with regards to Mexican legal materials because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The NAFTA Homepage was also mentioned.

Thomas H. Reynolds (University of California School of Law Library) proffered his priorities in collecting legal materials in Latin America: first, the text of legislation; second, the text of regulations; and the text of decisions, "way down the line." Judicial decisions are non-controlling, with the exception of Argentina and Brazil. Amber Lee Smith (Los Angeles County Law Library) spoke of updating legal materials and cautioned that sometimes materials are not full-text but only summaries.

The discussion turned to the best method to update the codes of Latin American countries. The suggestion was made to purchase these codes on a regular basis, but not annually, i.e., every third, fourth, or fifth year. The exception to this practice would be the years in which a recodification occurs. In this case, the purchase of the recodification would be a priority. One caution was noted Chile reenacts its code each year, even if no substantial changes have occurred.

FORWARD to next article: "Law of the Sea Subject Heading Established"
BACK to Table of Contents