International law question

In Read This on October 28, 2010 at 7:21 pm

One of today’s reference questions came from a student looking for a specific answer to the status of marriage in a foreign country.  Where should he look to find out information on the customs/culture, government and law of this particular place?  After reviewing numerous books and websites, the following seemed the most helpful for the student.

The Library of Congress Guide to Law Online

The WashLaw Web site that allows users to search by continent

The CIA World Factbook which provides inclusive information on all countries of the world

The Country-by-Country guide to foreign law research from Yale Law School’s Goldman Law Library

Other helpful websites were the county’s Washington DC embassy website and the country’s website for the department of foreign affairs.

Finding relevant resources was the first test of the student’s research skills.  Next, we narrowed the results to a manageable size which allowed him to better review the information to find the answer to his question.  While there are many more sites and services to help research international law, the student found these the most useful for HIS research.  As librarians it is hard to pick just one or two “best” resources but walking through the “search” part of the question with the student help both of us review the resources while the student made the final decision on what websites to pursue.  Another successful day at the reference desk.


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