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Public International Law Research - A Brief Guide

Basic tools for research in public international law for USF law school students writing papers for classes or participating in international law moot court competitions.

Why Articles Are Useful

Law review articles, legal essays, and their ilk are extremely useful for finding discussions of narrow issues in international law. They will also cite to relevant treaties and cases, to sources giving evidence of customary law and state practice, and to other scholarship on the issue. The resources described on this page will lead you to articles on the country or topic you are researching.

This guide emphasizes "indexes" — article-finding tools that allow very precise searching but do not themselves contain the full-text of articles. For searching for full-text articles (with tools like HeinOnline's Law Journal Library), and for comparisons of the various article-finding tools, take a look at the Zief Library's Finding Articles research guide.

Full-Text Tools for Finding Law Review Articles

Index to Legal Periodicals & Books Retrospective

Index to Legal Periodicals includes citations to almost all articles from almost every U.S. law review or journal for the time periods it covers. Searches using broad, general terms — searches that often get too many irrelevant results in full-text search tools — often succeed in Index to Legal Periodicals.

Law Review Articles - Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals

Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals is especially useful for finding citations to articles from non-US legal journals, and covers 1960 to the present, with full search capabilities from 1985 to the present. (Many of the journals it covers are in languages other than English.)

Many of the publications covered by IFLP are not in the Zief Law Library collection, but we can get copies of articles we don't own from other libraries. Please allow plenty of time to process such requests.

Finding Articles - The Peace Palace Library

The Peace Palace Library serves Hague institutions such as the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the Hague Academy of International Law, as well as international law scholars from around the world.

Its catalog has been customized for international law research and is a great way to find citations to relevant articles and book chapters. While the Peace Palace Library catalog does not supply full text, it can alert you to articles that you otherwise would not have known about.

Once you know of a useful article, use USF's Journal Finder (see below) to see if we have the journal that contains the article, or ask about an interlibrary loan.

Legal & Non-Legal Articles - Google Scholar

Google Scholar, while not comprehensive, provides a quick way to get a cross-disciplinary set of articles. It can be especially useful as you start your research and are still refining your search terms.

Is the Journal I Need at USF?

So you have a citation to a great-sounding article — but not direct link to the full text....

How do you tell if the article is available at USF?

Just use USF's "Journal Finder" to look up the title of the journal that published the article. If that journal is available at USF, it will (usually) show up in the journal finder.  

(One caveat: the Journal Finder doesn't tell you if a journal is on Westlaw or on Lexis Advance.)

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