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FCIL Newsletter, October 1998
v. 13, no. 1

Accidental Tourist on the New Frontier: An Introductory
Guide to Global Legal Research
Edited by Jeanne Rehberg & Radu D. Popa.
Littleton, Colorado: Fred B. Rothman & Co., 1998. Pp. xv, 294. $ 67.50

Reviewed by:
Jean Davis, Reference Librarian & Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School &
Ian Merrill, International Business Law Fellow, Library Student Research Assistant, and
International Legal Research Seminar Participant, Brooklyn Law School

From its opening paragraphs, this excellent international, foreign, and comparative law research guide engages readers:

    Those who love to travel know the feeling: You yearn to get out of town, to wake up every morning in a different place, with a clean slate . . . . And then the newness of traveling wears off and there are the frustrations: reading road signs, train schedules, and menus in foreign languages; driving on the 'wrong' side of the road; searching for a bagel outside of Manhattan; generally, doing without the comforts of home. Like traveling in strange places, research in foreign, comparative, and international law can be fascinating, challenging, and rewarding. And then there are the frustrations: overcoming language barriers, coping with legal concepts and systems that may sound American but are different, struggling to find a copy of a recent foreign law, maneuvering through the jungle of documents from international organizations.

The introduction characterizes Accidental Tourist as a foreign, comparative, and international law primer for the non-specialist. This is as understated as Gary Cooper's performance in High Noon. Accidental Tourist will assist virtually all researchers. Legal practitioners who need treaties and treaty status data should refer to the clear, helpful charts in the "Finding Treaties and Other International Agreements" chapter. Information specialists who wish to develop foreign law research skills and collections should review the strategies and sources described in the "Finding Foreign Law" chapter and the "Specialized Topics" section. Both Palmer School of Library and Information Science students (in a summer institute on international organizations) and Brooklyn Law School students (in a seminar on international and foreign legal research) have praised Accidental Tourist as a course text. Knowing that Accidental Tourist would aid Brooklyn Journal of International Law staff, International Business Law Fellows, Jessup International Moot Court participants, and many others, our library purchased five copies -- these books are hot items in the reserve collection!

Accidental Tourist includes 1) key differences between U.S. domestic law research and foreign, comparative, and international law research (M. Kathleen Price), 2) a description of Library of Congress "classes" for foreign, comparative, and international law (Jolande E. Goldberg), 3) an introduction to foreign and comparative law (Thomas H. Reynolds), 4) processes and sources for finding foreign law (Jeanne Rehberg and Mirela Roznovschi), 5) an overview of international law (Reynolds), 6) characteristics of published treaties and treaty sources (Rehberg), 7) a review of United Nations law-related activities and documents (Rehberg), 8) a survey of European Union legal sources (Marylin J. Raisch), and 9) research chapters focusing on transnational business law (Victor Essien), international tax law, international environmental law, and international human rights (Radu D. Popa). The distinguished chapter authors reference numerous print works, microform materials, and electronic (LEXIS -NEXIS , WESTLAW , Internet, and CD-ROM) resources. Authors who discuss international or regional organizations (such as Rehberg, Raisch, and Popa) describe official, and other commercially published, materials. Features such as Rehberg's treaty research strategies for six typical problems and Raisch's "mad cow disease" example of the European Union legislative process reveal that this book is much more than a bibliography.

Be sure that your collection includes Accidental Tourist and the George Washington Journal of International Law and Economics' newly revised Guide to International Legal Research (3rd ed.). "Accidental tourists" in the unfamiliar territory of international and foreign law research and "seasoned travelers" will benefit.

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