In this second installment of our series on Getting to Know the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP or “the Index”), we examine the breadth and scope of the Index.
As its name implies, the IFLP focuses primarily on law journals published outside the U.S. Casual users of the Index may be surprised at just how broad its coverage is. The IFLP includes over 365,000 records of articles and book reviews published in more than 500 top law journals from jurisdictions throughout the world. More than 60,000 of these articles are available in full text on HeinOnline. Articles from nearly four dozen international, regional, jurisdiction-specific, and subject-specific legal yearbooks also are included. In addition, the IFLP analyzes the contents of approximately 50 individually published collections of essays, Festschriften, Mélanges, and congress reports each year. Roughly half of the articles indexed are published in languages other than English. In total, more than two dozen languages are represented, making the IFLP the only truly multilingual index to legal scholarship worldwide.
Equally impressive is the diversity of subjects covered by the IFLP. They include public international law, private international law, comparative law, civil law, common law, the law of foreign jurisdictions, and even U.S. law – often analyzed from a non-American perspective. The Index isn’t just for academic research. Many of the articles indexed in the IFLP focus on bankruptcy, competition law, international commercial arbitration, investor-state dispute settlement, international trade, regulatory compliance, and other topics that will be of interest to legal practitioners representing multinational enterprises whose operations cross jurisdictional lines. Bear in mind that some of the English language journals covered by the Index focus on non-English speaking jurisdictions, making the law of those jurisdictions more accessible to students and practitioners whose primary language is English.
Each article indexed in the IFLP is assigned one or more subject headings in English, French, German, and Spanish, making it possible to search or browse by subject in each of these languages for articles published in any language. An alphabetical list of all the subject headings is available on the IFLP homepage. Some of the subject headings with the most entries include bankruptcy, civil law, constitutional law, international law, and international trade. It’s worth noting that the IFLP relies on multilingual human indexers, not machines, to analyze each article and assign these subject headings. Among the indexers are some of our AALL FCIL-SIS colleagues.
At a time when American law schools are actively recruiting more international JD students, as well as foreign-trained LLM and SJD students, the IFLP enables academic law librarians to better serve the needs of these multilingual students when they are seeking credible secondary sources published in English or in their native languages. Information professionals employed by international law firms, who support the work of multilingual attorneys practicing in multiple jurisdictions, also can rely on the IFLP to help them identify articles that focus on topics of particular interest to their firm’s practice groups or on the law of a specific foreign jurisdiction.
The breadth and scope of the IFLP continues to evolve. Every year additional titles are selected for inclusion and indexing. We invite each of you to be an active part of this process by recommending titles you think may be of interest. The submission process is simple and available on the IFLP website. Through this type of direct input and other support, the Index will continue to be a valuable finding aid and access point to articles and other content that would otherwise be difficult to identify and utilize.
The next post in the series will offer tips on how to use the IFLP’s multiple search and browse features more effectively.