Asian Law Working Group

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FCIL Newsletter
vol. 14, no. 1: October 1999

Minutes of FCIL-SIS Asian Law Working Group Meeting
Hua Li
Creighton University Law Library

Minutes of FCIL-SIS Asian Law Working Group Meeting
Hua Li
Creighton University Law Library

Yan Hong, University of Connecticut Law Library
Marta Kiszely, New York Law School Library
Aaron Kuperman, Library of Congress
Joan Liu, New York University Law School Library
Mon Yin Lung, University of Kansas Law Library
Wei Luo, Washington University Law Library
Xinh Luu, University of Virginia Law Library
Hua Li, Creighton University Law Library
Bill McCloy, University of Washington Law Library
Mirela Roznovschi, New York University Law School Library
Maria Smolka-Day, University of Pennsylvania Law Library
Tracy Thompson, Yale University Law Library
Dan Wade, Yale University Law Library
Yuan Yao, Georgetown University Law Library

The Asian Law Working Group business meeting was held at the Renaissance hotel, Washington, D.C., on July 18, 1999. The current chair of the group, Joan Liu, Serials Librarian from New York University Law Library, convened the meeting. Fourteen people attended the meeting this year. The meeting started with librarians introducing the new developments on Asian law collections from their institutions. The attendees discussed mainly the following issues:

I. Asian Law Collection Development

Wei Luo from Washington University reported that his library had developed a very nice collection on Chinese law. He has collected about six hundred volumes of Chinese law books published in recent years with only a $6,000 expenditure. He purchased all the books directly from China, which significantly reduced the cost.

Wei Luo also reported that after William Hein published his book The 1997 Criminal Code of the People�s Republic of China: with English Translation and Introduction in April 1998, Hein decided to publish a Chinese Law Series.  Wei�s next two books in this series are: (1) The Contract Law of the People�s Republic of China: with
English Translation and Introduction, which has been submitted to the publisher; (2) The Amended Criminal Procedure Law of the People�s Republic of China: with English Translation, Introduction, and Annotation is in the final phase of writing.

Maria Smolka-Day from University of Pennsylvania Law Library reported that her library was making great efforts to collect vernacular Chinese law materials. They try to overcome the language barrier while purchasing materials directly from China.

II. Electronic Asian Legal Resources

Joan Liu introduced a new Chinese business law database--SinoLaw Legal Online <> and gave her trial experiences. SinoLaw is a fee-based English language database which provides timely English translations of all major Chinese business laws and regulations. The database is developed and maintained by legal experts and professional legal translators in mainland China  For new laws, SinoLaw Legal Online promises to provide the English translation within 5 business days after the new law is published  The service supplies unlimited simultaneous users access with comprehensive searching capabilities.

The attendees also discussed the utilization of CD-ROM and the web version of some vernacular China law databases including CEILaw and CHINALAW Retrieving System. Tracy Thompson from Yale University Law Library shared her experience working with Chinese law faculty and students at Yale on accessing CEILaw�s CD-ROM products. Generally, people feel that CD-ROM products offer more advanced search capabilities than their web versions.

Bill McCloy, Assistant Librarian for East Asian Law at University of Washington Gallagher Law Library, reported that he just wrapped up the research guides on Chinese law and Japanese law which will be accessible via web soon. At the NYU Law Library homepage, Joan Liu reported, her pathfinder on Chinese law hyperlinks each title to NYU Law Library�s webpac, so students can jump directly from the pathfinder to the webpac to get information on the location and availability of each item. Also, a compilation of Internet Chinese legal resources is available at the same page <>.

III. Wade-Giles/Pinyin Conversion Project

Bill McCloy reported on the Library of Congress Pinyin Conversion Project. The conversion will be implemented sometime in the year 2000. The Research Libraries Group, Library of Congress and OCLC are working together to make the conversion successful. Various tests are done on name authority and 245, 260 and 500 fields. The conversion will adopt a new way of Romanizing Chinese characters. Both name of place and personal name will be Romanized in one word; others will be Romanized character by character. The Pinyin conversion will not only affect Chinese language materials, but also affect those materials written in English by Chinese authors. The conversion will be based on what the National Library of Australia did on their Pinyin conversion project. Attendees discussed the impact of Pinyin conversion on local online catalogs. Attendees were also interested in the effective way of converting local records as well as related costs. The detailed information about the LC Pinyin Conversion Project is located at LC homepage <>.

Bill McCloy has been elected Vice President/President-Elect of the Council on East Asian Libraries (CEAL). Due to the President�s early resignation, he became Acting President in spring 1999. Bill will serve one year as Acting President and three years as President.

Since the scheduled time for the meeting was only one hour, the group was not able to discuss the agenda on Asian law web page and on-line union list of materials on China law.  The attendees agreed to discuss them via email and other channels later.

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