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FCIL Newsletter
vol. 13, no. 3: May 1999

From the Chair
Maria Smolka-Day
University of Pennsylvania Biddle Law Library

This is our last newsletter before the Annual Conference in Washington, which promises to be quite interesting from the point of view of foreign and international law. For the first time in many years there will be an advanced workshop devoted to foreign law: "Meet the Legal Specialists: Expert Advice on Research and Acquisitions of Foreign Law." For those of us who have felt that many programs, because they were directed towards beginners, did not address our needs, here is an opportunity to meet LC legal specialists and learn from them many details in the legal research of countries of their expertise. The Program Committee approved this unique workshop knowing that such a program could be organized only in the Law Library of the Library of Congress. Now it is our turn to show that we do care about and are interested in advanced programs by signing up for this workshop. It will take place in the Library of Congress on Friday, July 16. Our attendance at this workshop might help or hurt our chances for additional advanced programs in the future.

All programs of interest to our members (most of them sponsored by the FCIL SIS) are listed elsewhere in this newsletter. I would like, however, to alert you to two events not included in the official program, but treated as SIS functions. On Tuesday, July 20, at 5:00 p.m., we will be able to present something new, namely our own SIS program, during which our guest and colleague from Australia, Ruth Bird of the University of Melbourne Law Library, will talk about Australian law and legal research with some reference to New Zealand's legal system. Although not approved by the Program Committee and therefore listed only among FCIL SIS working groups and committee meetings, it will have the format of a regular one-hour program with a presentation backed up by access to the web and handouts. This program is not limited to the members of our SIS. We would like to publicize it widely since these common law jurisdictions are of interest not only to specialists. Please come to this meeting but also spread word about it among your colleagues.

For Wednesday, July 21 (2:00-4:00 p.m.), we are planning a visit to the US Department of State to meet staff members of the Office of the Legal Adviser, particularly people from its Treaty Affairs division. Attendance at this meeting will be limited to 25 persons, and we will ask you to sign up in advance as soon as all arrangements are finalized. Look for an announcement on the FCIL SIS listserv and follow the sign-up instructions. We will fill these 25 slots on a first-come, first-served basis. I hope we will be able to make this announcement shortly so that everybody interested in this trip can make the necessary adjustments in their travel arrangements.

In addition to its programs, the SIS will, as usual, conduct several working group and committee meetings on Sunday and Monday morning, culminating in the annual Business Meeting on Monday afternoon. Although this schedule is not perfect, I hope that it will be more convenient than in Anaheim, and that all meetings will be well attended. Although all of these meetings are very important to our activities, this year I would like to draw your particular attention to the Electronic Issues Working Group, which should discuss issues of archiving international law materials, particularly documents of international organizations.

This year attendance at the Business meeting is of particular importance since we will discuss and hopefully approve the FCIL SIS Strategic Plan, which will determine our work for the next few years. The Strategic Planning Committee is working on a draft of this document, but before we approve it we need to make sure that everybody will have a chance to express his or her opinion. And do not forget about our traditional reception for foreign librarians attending the Annual Meeting. As usual, it will follow the FCIL SIS Business Meeting.

Although we are still preparing for the Washington conference, it is not too early to start thinking about next year. This issue of the newsletter includes a ballot for electing next year's officers for the FCIL SIS. Please, send your vote! Think also about next year's program proposals. Even if you do not want to work on a program but know of hot topics which should be covered at the Philadelphia meeting, put your ideas forward now so that someone else might be inspired by them. The deadline for proposals comes very quickly after the Conference and it will be very useful if our Educational Committee has a chance to think about proposals in advance.

See you in Washington.

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