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Celebrating Over 10,000 Foreign Legal Gazette Issues Now Online

The following is a guest post by Michael Mellifera, a digital collection specialist in the Digital Resources Division at the Law Library of Congress.

Since the mid-nineteenth century, the Law Library of Congress has been collecting foreign official gazettes and maintains the largest collection of these sources in the entire world. The Law Library’s gazette collection contains current, historical, and subnational jurisdictions from most countries and in most languages. Official gazettes are primary sources of law published by national and subnational governments to disseminate new legislation, regulations, and decisions of governmental bodies. These publications often contain the text of international agreements, court decisions, official announcements, and government notices. For foreign, comparative, and international law (FCIL) researchers, official gazettes may serve as the sole source of authoritative texts of laws for countries with civil law systems until updated codes are published. The oldest gazettes within the Library’s collection reach back to the seventeenth century, such as The London Gazette of the Government of the United Kingdom. For newly acquired gazettes that are printed on good quality paper, the Law Library will bind all gazette issues; however, many historic gazettes are printed on newsprint or low-quality paper that becomes brittle with time.

Cover images of 8 foreign legal gazettes

Cover Images of Foreign Legal Gazettes Released Online by Law Library Staff, spanning 1958 – 2020. All of the above gazette issues are now available online in the “Foreign Legal Gazettes in the Law Library of Congress” collection. Cover images selected by Michael Mellifera.

The Law Library began a decades-long process in 2019 to digitize its collection of print gazettes, and in the future, the Law Library is likely to pursue digitizing its gazettes previously preserved in microfilm. In 2022, the Law Library sent 1.76 million pages of gazettes for digitization in order to preserve this valuable information content and make them fully accessible to researchers and other members of the public. The vast majority of digitized gazettes are not restricted by copyright and will be made available online but for those gazettes that do have copyright restrictions, the Law Library makes this content available on its in-house display for copyright-restricted content, Stacks.

In December 2022, with the recent release of The Cook Islands Gazette, the Law Library celebrated a significant milestone—over 10,000 foreign legal gazette collection items have been released online as part of this project, with additional gazettes being released nearly every month. A lot of work goes into powering the display of this content, and dozens of remote interns and volunteers each semester help create metadata for gazette issues which enable researchers to browse gazettes by subject or search by citation. Gazette collections that have languages in Romanized script are also now full-text searchable, yielding results in the native language used in the gazette, such as searching the word cidadãos across the gazette collection. We are proud to celebrate this accomplishment with our partners in the Preservation Services Division of the Preservation Directorate, the Digital Content Management Section of the Digital Collections Management and Services Division, and the Collection Services Division at the Law Library of Congress who assist with the digital content management lifecycle on this project.

The Foreign Legal Gazettes team expects to publish thousands more digitized gazette issues over the coming years, and, in addition, gazettes continue to be released in the Stacks digital collections available onsite at the Library of Congress. For now, please enjoy exploring the Foreign Legal Gazettes in the Law Library of Congress collection and continue checking back as additional gazettes are added on a regular basis.

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Koreans Becoming Younger – Unification of Age-Counting Systems

This is a guest post by Seongryeol Park, a foreign law intern working with Sayuri Umeda in the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress. Starting June 28, 2023, South Koreans will be younger on paper in some situations. On December 8, 2022, the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea passed bills to amend […]

New Law Library of Congress Report Examines Pharmaceutical Antitrust Cases

The following is a guest post by Michael Chalupovitsch, a foreign law specialist at the Law Library of Congress covering Canada and Caribbean jurisdictions. The Law Library of Congress recently published its report, Pharmaceutical Antitrust Cases, which provides a comparative analysis of antitrust and competition cases concerning the pharmaceutical industry in 12 jurisdictions. The jurisdictions covered by this report include Australia, […]

The Most Viewed Legal Research Reports and Global Legal Monitor Articles of 2022

The Law Library of Congress is unique in many ways. To accomplish our mission of providing authoritative legal research, reference, and instruction services, and access to an unrivaled collection of U.S., foreign, comparative, and international law, our staff includes foreign and U.S. trained legal specialists and law librarians from around the world who cover 300+ […]

Join Us on 1/26 for a Foreign and Comparative Law Webinar: Indigenous Governance in the Circumpolar Arctic

The following is a guest post by Michael Chalupovitsch, a foreign law specialist at the Law Library of Congress covering Canada and Caribbean jurisdictions. Join us on January 26 at 2 p.m. EST for our next foreign, comparative, and international law webinar titled, “Indigenous Governance in the Circumpolar Arctic.” Please register here. With the ongoing effects of climate change, the Arctic […]

FALQs: The Conscription System of South Korea

This is a joint guest post by Sayuri Umeda, a foreign law specialist who covers Japan and other jurisdictions in East and Southeast Asia, and Seongryeol Park, foreign law intern working with Sayuri Umeda in the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress.   USAG- Humphreys, KATUSA ETS Ceremony – U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, South […]

Law Library of Congress Report Highlights Recent Updates in UK and US Environmental Law

The following is a guest post by Louis Myers, a legal reference librarian at the Law Library of Congress. Louis has authored several blog posts for In Custodia Legis, including New Acquisition: The Trial of Governor Picton, A Case of Torture in Trinidad, Indigenous Law Research Strategies: Settlement Acts and Looking into the Past: Space Telescopes and the Law of Outer […]

Collection Highlights: The Finnish Baby Box at 85 Years Old

Today marks Finland’s Independence Day, a day on which I like to highlight items from our Finnish law collection. This year marks 85 years since Finland first introduced the Äitiyspakkaus maternity package, commonly known as the Finnish baby box, in 1937. This law was passed in response to high child mortality and sinking fertility among […]