Gazettes are generally the first place that a ruling body will publish its laws, making them an invaluable resource for foreign legal research.
The Law Library has been collecting foreign legal gazettes since the mid-19th century. We are one of the last libraries to systematically acquire these titles from as many jurisdictions as possible. Presently, we collect from about 175 national jurisdictions and approximately 100 subnational jurisdictions.
Over the years, the Law Library has preserved these resources by various methods: binding, microfilming and, now, digitization; we also collect and maintain items in commercially-produced formats such as microfiche and CD-Rom. With myriad title and regime changes, subtitles, supplements and the like, we currently register in the neighborhood of 2,000 separate bibliographic records for gazette titles.
Thus it has been a difficult task for even an experienced searcher to find the correct record in the catalog. We hope this database will change that by grouping records by jurisdiction and then chronologically thereafter, with another section within that country’s listing for any subnational areas we may collect.
This interactive site provides the user with data on current, historical and subnational titles that the Library holds in its collection. Users can then click through to the record in the Library’s online catalog for even more detailed information and to request the material for use when they visit the Library or click through to those titles freely available online.
The information is searchable by jurisdiction (either via the facets on the left, or by clicking on the map), title, content and format. The mobile version has added functionality through sorting capabilities in the columns of the table.
And, if you need further assistance, there is a link to “Ask a Librarian.”
Be forewarned, our guide is still a work in progress, and we are even now reviewing entries and verifying holdings. We will be adding to the database as we finish our research on each title.
This has been a labor of love for the Law Library’s Collection Services Division (CSD) spanning almost ten years, and has included staff and interns who have since moved on from the Law Library. We’d like to take this opportunity to recognize the contributions of Agata Tajchert, Pamela Oliver, Amanda Quinn and Ethan Shim from days past who all conducted research in the early stages of the project and spent lots of time identifying records in the catalog and then verifying the holdings in the stacks, and Ken Sigmund for his work throughout, especially in the big push during the pandemic, to bring the project to fruition.
And speaking of thanks, we would still have nothing but a very large spreadsheet without the help of the Law Library’s Digital Resources Division (DRD), who took our work and plugged it into the fabulous interactive finding aid you see here. Elina Lee started it all by developing our initial Access database (and a Tableau presentation platform) and has been tweaking it for us for months, and Jennifer Gonzalez who, of course, did the web design and got everything up and running on our site. From other parts of the Law Library: Susan Taylor-Pikulsky helped with compliance and design and Alexander Salopek jumped in to assist with the visual verification of holdings.
Ting Dai from the IT Design & Development Directorate of the Library suggested we move from the initial Tableau format we had chosen as our presentation platform to the ArcGIS format, and has been working with us to perfect the appearance and mechanics of the database for months now.
Finally, management has been very encouraging and supportive, from the Law Librarian Jane Sanchez; to the chiefs of CSD and DRD, Kurt Carroll and Jay Sweany, respectively; our Director, Aslihan Bulut, who orchestrated this iteration of the project and who kept insisting that Ken and I could make more headway than we had thought possible (and we did!); and finally to her predecessor Janice Hyde, an early booster of the project.