Chicago Journal of International Law


Once upon a time in Minnesota, a student approached a neophyte foreign and international law librarian, and asked for legal resources on the rights of gays in the military in Europe. After much searching, the librarian found hardly any publications written on the topic in any language. That challenging (yet wondrous) quest for resources taught the librarian a very important lesson. When little is published on an area of law, it is very difficult to research that area. And if you do find literature to fill such a gap, make a note of it. And then tell the world! I was that young librarian, and this article is my attempt to tell the world about some of the gaps in the foreign and international law literature that I have observed throughout the years. These observations are derived not only from reference questions, but also from my review of research tools, publishers' catalogs, bibliographies, footnote references, and other materials that have crossed my desk. While I have scanned the literature in selecting materials to build foreign, comparative, and international law collections at two institutions (Minnesota and Chicago), I have done no systematic search. Still, I think those who read the literature on a regular basis would confirm most of my impressions. Part II of this article addresses the problem of finding translations of primary legal sources. Part III details the gaps in, and inadequacies of, international legal research resources. And in Part IV, I bemoan the dearth of literature on certain topics and the under-representation of particular viewpoints in the scholarship on foreign, comparative, and international law.