From the Reference Desk: Carbon Trading Data Sources

By Amy Flick

“I’m looking for data on carbon trading and cap-and-trade, preferably with graphs. I’m doing a paper on California’s cap-and-trade program, and I’m looking for data on international carbon trading programs for a comparison.”

The reference department at MacMillan Law Library gets an increasing number of requests for data in recent years. Some law libraries have added a specialist librarian or social sciences expert to support empirical research, but at Emory we rely on the expertise of the Data Librarian in the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship, part of the main Woodruff Library, to assist our faculty and students with complex data and statistics projects. I am not qualified, at all, to do empirical analysis. I went to law school because I was told there would be no math – and then I went into bankruptcy law. Nicholas Kristof is right, I should have taken a class on statistics.

I am also only barely familiar with carbon trading.

But we do get statistical reference questions, so I will see if I can find a publication with tables, or a likely database, for the student to use for his project, leaving the interpretation of the data up to him. I’m with him on wanting graphs; if I’m looking at data, I want some visual interpretation.

California’s Air Resources Board has data on its Cap-and-Trade Program, with publications on market transfers, offset credits issued, and compliance reports. It even has video presentations on using its compliance data. The student was hoping to find graphs to include in his project, and publications like California Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 2000 to 2017  summarize years of data with multiple graphs.

California’s Cap-and-Trade program is also a revenue source, so data is also available in the California Legislative Analyst’s Office 2019-20 Budget for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, which includes Cap-and-Trade revenue tables and graphs.

The student mentioned Canada as a possible jurisdiction for a comparison. Canada as a whole isn’t the simplest choice for him to work with, although Ontario or Quebec might be, since they also have cap-and-trade systems, linked to California’s. Canadian provinces have their own carbon pricing systems, with a federal carbon pricing system for provinces that haven’t enacted one or that don’t meet federal benchmarks. The publication Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change was helpful for explaining the Canadian system, and it includes some data and graphs. More current data is available in the Annual Reports on Canada’s Climate Plan and other greenhouse gas reports.

Another possibility for comparison is the European Union. Its Emissions Trading System is a Cap-and-Trade system operating in all EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. The European Commission’s climate action pages include tables and graphs on emissions monitoring and progress, auction revenues, and individual member state emission profiles. The European Environment Agency has downloadable data on emissions and allowances. Getting away from EU sources, Business Insider even tracks CO2 European Emission Allowances as a commodities market.

There are some good sources for comparative research with data from multiple countries. The Canadian and EU reports led me to the National Communications to the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. These include Greenhouse Gas Emissions data and projections, along with summaries of initiatives for emissions reduction.

The World Bank has a Carbon Pricing Dashboard on regional and national initiatives, with graphs, types of initiatives (carbon tax or emissions trading system), and revenue, with data starting at 1990. It includes California’s Cap-and-Trade system with many other systems for a possible comparison. The World Bank also has data on CO2 emissions. And its report on State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2019 is filled with maps, graphs, and tables.

The International Carbon Action Partnership also has a 2019 Status Report on Worldwide Emissions Trading with summaries by country (and for the U.S., Canada, and China, by state or province) that include descriptions of ETS systems and infographics. ICAP also has an ETS Allowance Price Explorer. The ICAP ETS Map can be used to find factsheets by jurisdiction, including emissions, GHG reduction targets, carbon price, caps, and other information.

The statistical and data sources we found are complex, but there is data to be found on carbon trading systems. I found it all overwhelming, but the student was confident that he could find the data points he needed for a comparison with California and recommendations on alternative systems.

Introducing the San Diego County Law Library’s Slomanson International Law Collection

The San Diego County Law Library (SDCLL) now hosts the 1,300 volume “Slomanson International Law Collection” (located on the fourth floor). It includes books from all over the world and covers most facets of International Law. It contains treatises; nutshell legal summaries; comprehensive treaty commentaries; law firm locations; casebooks; and guides for educational study. This cache is organized via the Library of Congress numbering system.

Slomanson Collection Plaque.JPG

This collection significantly upgrades the local availability of print research materials−which is a compelling subdivision of the International Court of Justice Article 38.1(d) list of the sources of International Law. The perennial difficulty with ascertaining the content of International Law typically necessitates first resort to academic treatises. Thus, this handy surrogate−the “teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations”−offers a convenient stash for law firm associates, institutional researchers, and Jessup or other student moot court advocates.

The SDCLL’s online catalogue facilitates access to the titles included in this collection. For example, a member of the national law librarian listserv recently requested an English version of some Mexican codes. With the following path, the requesting party was able to determine whether those translations were available in the SDCLL holdings: go to <>; then click the Online Catalogue Main Menu & Advanced Search link; choose the desired Collection by entering a checkmark in box adjacent to Slomanson International Law Collection; enter “Mexican;” then click Search.

This treasure trove of research resources was amassed during Professor Slomanson’s tenure as former Newsletter Editor and Chair of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) United Nations Section, as well as in his current post as a Corresponding Editor for the ASIL’s bi-monthly International Legal Materials publication. Professor Slomanson’s donation constitutes the most comprehensive collection of its kind in (at least) San Diego County.

Books on the following international topics are available: Aid; Air Law; Arbitration; Arms Transfer; Business; Careers; Collections (multiple authors); Comparative Law; Corporations; Corruption; Courts; Criminal Law; Cultural Property; Data Privacy; Democracy; Dictionaries; Diplomatic Relations; Dispute Resolution; Economics; Education; Energy; Environment; European Union; Extradition; Force; Forum Selection; Gender-Women’s Rights; Genocide; Globalization; History; Humanitarian Law; Humanitarian Intervention; Human Rights; IMF; Immigration; Individual Personality; International Criminal Court; International Law Commission; Internet; Investment; Iraq; Judicial Assistance; Judicial Systems; Jurisdiction; Kosovo; Law of the Sea; Lawyers-Law firms; Legal Education; Legal Personality; Mexico; Muslim Culture; Nationality; Nation Building; Neutrality; NGOs; Nuclear Control; Occupation; Organizations; Peace; Encyclopedias; Peacekeeping; Philanthropy; Post-Conflict Societies; Privacy; Private International Law; Recognition; Refugees-Asylum; Religion; Russia; Secession; Security Council; Self-Defense; Self-Determination; Sources; Sovereign Immunities; Space Law; Spain; State Practice; States; Succession; Tax; Teaching/Research; Territories; Terrorism; Theory; Third World; Trade; Treaty Law; United Nations; and  U.S. Foreign Relations.

The titles in this highly specialized collection are available via inter-library loan. For questions, call the San Diego County Law Library at (619) 531-3900.

From the Reference Desk: On Having to Say No

By Jonathan Pratter

Law librarians want to help, to provide access, to find the needed information or source.  That is in our blood.  The universe of international legal information is immense and rapidly expanding.  The internet and the World Wide Web have worked a revolution (at least for old-school types like me who remember what international legal research was like before the digital age).  It is natural for international law librarians to feel instinctively that it ought to be possible to satisfy the often pressing need for information that comes to us from our users, whether they are practicing attorneys, law school faculty members, law students or members of the public.  Yet, my thesis is that sometimes it is not possible.  There are certain kinds of requests for information or sources that are impossible to fulfil, either because the information does not exist or is inaccessible.  When this happens, we need to know how to respond.  It is not easy to tell someone that her request cannot be satisfied.  Rather than to dwell on the impossibility, a better response is to suggest an alternative, but in some cases good alternatives do not exist.  I want to consider three kinds of international legal information that can cause difficulty and may lead to the conclusion that the information is not to be found:  English translations, judicial decisions at first instance and docket information.

Photo at reference desk 10-10-19When we leave the Common-Law family of legal systems, the linguistic barrier comes into play.  Much depends on the nature of the source.  For national constitutions, we are in pretty good shape.  Resources such as the Constitute Project perform an outstanding service.  Lawmakers in other countries do not consider it their obligation to provide English translations of national or sub-national legislation, let alone of administrative regulations.  Recently I was asked to provide the English translation of the Constitution of Mexico City.  The Constitución Política de la Ciudad de México certainly does exist, in Spanish.  It is lengthy.  Conscientious research led me to the conclusion that a published English translation does not exist.  I suggested what I thought was a reasonable alternative: retaining a competent legal translation service.  This was not met with wholehearted approval.  Why?  Because it is expensive.  Nevertheless, we have to be prepared to suggest this alternative when it comes to providing English translations.

Every jurisdiction has several first-instance courts.  France, for example, has the tribunal d’instance, the tribunal de grande instance, the tribunal de commerce and the conseil de prud’hommes.  And that is just for starters.  Legifrance is, by common accord, the go-to website for free access to French law.  In Legifrance, when you search on juridictions du premier degré (first-instance courts), it turns out that the results are very sketchy.  I got zero results for 2019.  According to the 4th edition of the book, Recherche Documentaire Juridique: Méthodologie (2019), there is no good alternative.  I wager that the situation in other jurisdictions is similar.

When it comes to docket information in other countries, researchers in the U.S. are spoiled.  We have PACER and its commercial counterparts on Westlaw, Lexis and Bloomberg Law.  The situation outside the U.S. is very different.  Docket information in other jurisdictions may simply be inaccessible.  True, Bloomberg Law has coverage for what it calls international dockets, and this includes important jurisdictions like the United Kingdom and the European Court of Justice.  However, in my experience, the information available is limited and does not include links to full-text filings by the parties, such as will be found on PACER.

In practice, requests for information in the three categories discussed here are not infrequent.  Researchers who ask for this kind of information may have to be brought down to the reality that the information they need is not available.  Sometimes the right answer is no.


Food and the Intangible Cultural Heritage: A Mini-Research Guide

By Jonathan Pratter

Food is embedded in culture.  Or rather, food helps to constitute a culture.  Sticking to my own neck of the woods, you only have to think of Texas BBQ or Tex-Mex cooking to see the close link between food and culture.  The term “foodways” captures this link.  This was crystallized for me when I saw that the “pizzaiuolo” – the distinctively Neapolitan art of making pizza – in 2017 had been inscribed in the list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.  I decided to research the question of food as part of the intangible cultural heritage and this mini-research guide is the result.

The key primary source is the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which was adopted in 2003 by the General Conference of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, headquartered in Paris.  A first research question that arises is how one cites the Convention.  There is a good online text of the Convention at the UNESCO website (more about this later), but that is not the preferred citation, although the Bluebook does permit citation to the website of an intergovernmental organization. (See rule 21.4.5(c)).  The Director-General of UNESCO is the depositary of the Convention, so you can’t use Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General at the United Nations Treaty Collection.  On the theory that the Convention is published in the United Nations Treaty Series, I did a title search using keywords from the name of the Convention in the United Nations Treaty Series Online at the United Nations Treaty Collection.  Sure enough, the Convention comes up and with a little more work, you can go to the English text in PDF at 2368 U.N.T.S. 35.

A second research question that comes up is identifying which states are parties to the Convention and how many parties there are.  The UNESCO website maintains an up-to-date list of parties to the Convention.  From this list we learn that there are a remarkable 178 parties to the Convention (as of May 2019).  With this kind of participation in the Convention, it is especially regrettable that the U.S. is not a party.  Part of the problem is the fraught relationship between the U.S. and UNESCO itself.  The U.S. attitude to the Convention is ably summarized in an article in the journal ethnologies.

We have mentioned the UNESCO website, and in fact it is excellent.  In the area of Culture there is a sector devoted to Intangible Cultural Heritage.  Among a wealth of information, there are some highlights.  One is the 2018 edition in pdf of Basic Texts on the Convention.  The centerpiece of the Convention are the Lists.  There are two of these: the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.  There is a separate Register of Good Safeguarding Practices.  On the UNESCO website the Lists can be browsed and searched.  Experience shows that searching on terms like “food” or “food preparation” does not return comprehensive results, so it is better to browse the entries in the Lists, which can be done in reverse chronological order.  Interesting recent entries for food include Dolma making and sharing tradition (Azerbaijan 2017), Beer culture in Belgium (2016), and Oshi Pavlav, a traditional meal and its social and cultural contexts in Tajikistan (2016).IntangibleCulturalHeritage

Secondary sources on point are not plentiful.  A recent issue (25:4, November 2018) of the International Journal of Cultural Property is devoted to food as an element of the intangible cultural heritage.  The anthropological context is found in the journal Food & Foodways (Taylor & Francis 1985-).  There is a Commentary on the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage by Janet Blake (Institute of Art and Law 2006).  Also worthy of note is The Routledge Companion to Intangible Cultural Heritage (2017).  This is an area of international legal research that literally will make your mouth water.

AALL 2019 Recap: Locating Latin American Legal Sources

By David Isom

Moderated by Sarah Jaramillo, Reference Librarian for International and Foreign Law at NYU Law School, the “Locating Latin American Legal Sources” session on July 15, 2019 consisted of presentations from Jade Madrid, Latin American Studies & Iberian Languages Liaison & Reference Librarian at Georgetown University; Shana Wagger, Program Lead for Digital Projects and Repositories at the World Bank; and Francisco Macías, Head of the Iberia/Rio Office Section at the Law Library of Congress. Each discussed unique aspects of the Latin American materials available at their respective institutions.

Locating Latin American Legal Sources panel.JPG

From left to right: Sarah Jaramillo, Jade Madrid, Shana Wagger, Francisco Macías.

Madrid began by noting various research guides on Latin American legal materials available at Georgetown and elsewhere. She also discussed the challenges that a researcher can encounter when attempting to locate sources of Latin American law: non-hispanophone/non-lusophone researchers may encounter difficulties when seeking primary sources, of course, but there can also be country-specific challenges. For example, while the Library of the National Congress of Chile includes coverage of Chilean law beginning in 1965, it has no coverage for the 17 years (1973–1990) under the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. Madrid also mentioned several special collections related to Latin American law available at Georgetown: the papers of Colombian diplomat Tomás Herrán (many relating to the Hay–Herrán Treaty of 1903, which was ratified by the United States Senate but not by the Senate of Colombia); the papers of James Theberge, director of the Latin American and Hispanic Studies Center at Georgetown and United States Ambassador to Nicaragua and Chile; the papers of Panamanian educator, feminist leader, and diplomat Esther Neira de Calvo; and the Alliance for Progress Cartoon Book Program collection, which includes digital copies of comic books produced by the American anti-communist development program in Latin America established by President John F. Kennedy.

Escuela de Traidores.jpg

Escuela de Traidores (School for Traitors), date unknown, from Georgetown’s Alliance for Progress Cartoon Book Program collection.

Wagger said that the World Bank’s open access program that publishes 90–110 books a year, primarily digitally. The program is intended to make information available to the decision-makers involved in development programs in order to support the World Bank’s broad mission of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity. Wagger explained that the World Bank produces four major types of resources: focused publications (such as the Doing Business series of national and regional economic profiles, the Latin American Development Forum series covering economic and social issues, and the World Bank Legal Review); electronic repositories (the Documents & Reports platform which includes more than 330,000 World Bank documents from 1946 to the present, the Open Knowledge Repository of almost 29,000 publications from roughly 2000 to the present, and the subscription World Bank eLibrary); the World Bank Open Data platform, which provides free access to various types of development-related information, including demographic, environmental, financial, and industry data; and other specialized resources such as the Projects & Operations website, the World Bank Group Archives, and the Access to Information portal.

Macías started his presentation by discussing the history of the Law Library of Congress’ collection of foreign law materials, which began in 1848 (in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War) when President James K. Polk ordered the Library to begin collecting materials concerning the law of Mexico. Since then, the Law Library of Congress has grown substantially, collecting the laws of more than 270 jurisdictions in more than 200 languages. Five foreign law specialists work in the unit which covers the laws of Spain, Portugal, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Philippines. Electronic materials include country-specific research guides available in the Library’s Guide to Law Online and the In Custodia Legis blog—see, for example, this post on “Cinco de Mayo and the History of Mexican Codification.” One highlight of the Library’s Latin American materials is the Mexican Revolution and the United States exhibition, which includes historical newspaper articles, maps, photographs, and film footage.

Posada Asalto de Zapatistas.jpg

José Guadalupe Posada, Asalto de Zapatistas (Assault of the Zapatistas), 1910, from the Library of Congress’ Mexican Revolution and the United States exhibition.

Creating Training Resources for GOALI

By Latia Ward


Title slide from the GOALI Basic Course Tutorial.

Purpose of GOALI

Global Online Access to Legal Information (GOALI) is a project of the International Labour Organization (ILO) (a United Nations agency) and its partners which include publishers and academic institutions.  One of these partners is Cornell University Law Library where I work as a Research Services Librarian and Diversity Fellow.  As part of my work I have created how-to resources for conducting research with GOALI.

The purpose of GOALI is to facilitate access to legal information for researchers in the Global South.  To that end, GOALI aligns with Goal 16 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals:  “Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.”  Researchers have access to GOALI through their institutions and the Research4Life website lists nations eligible for GOALI.  In their paper entitled Global Online Access to Legal Information (GOALI) – A New Legal Training Resource for Developing Countries, Richelle Van Snellenberg, Unit Head of the ILO Library and Edit Horvàth, User and Outreach Officer of the ILO Library note that GOALI is about more than providing information resources to researchers in the Global South, but also about closing the “knowledge gap in academic research” between nations of wealth and nations of more modest means.  The facilitators of GOALI aim to close the “knowledge gap” through the provision of information resources from authoritative and current sources.  In addition, Van Snellenberg and Horvàth contextualize the implementation of GOALI within the Free Access to Law Movement and its Declaration on Free Access to Law which states that “Public legal information from all countries and international institutions is part of the common heritage of humanity.”  Included within this definition of public legal information are both primary and secondary sources of law.

GOALI is one of the five programs or platforms for information that the Research4Life partnership has produced.  Research4Life is a partnership of WHO, FAO, UNEP, WIPO, ILO, Cornell University, Yale University, the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers, and other international publishers.  The four other platforms for information are Hinari (health research), AGORA (agricultural research), and OARE (environmental research), ARDI (development and innovation research).  GOALI, the newest platform, became available for use on March 6, 2018.

Through GOALI, researchers may access journals, books, databases, and reference sources.  GOALI includes resources from the legal field as well as other fields within the social sciences.  An example of resources provided by GOALI include open access resources which cover a variety of jurisdictions such as African Journals Online (AJOL) and the ILO’s NATLEX database of national labor, social security, and human rights legislation.

Guides for GOALI


Screenshot from the GOALI Tutorial Video.  Image of computer monitor from Pixaby.

During the spring of 2018, I created a video, tutorials (which consist of slides showing research paths), and exercises on how to use the GOALI database.  My goal in creating the video (for which I included closed captions), the tutorials, and exercises was to provide a step-by-step manual on how to conduct research within GOALI.

When I created the tutorials and exercises for GOALI, I began by familiarizing myself with the platform by searching for resources and reviewing training materials that other information specialists had developed for Research4Life’s AGORA platform.  I reviewed AGORA exercises and modules for the AGORA Portal and Summon Searching to use as templates (although I had to research and create exercises and tutorials specific to GOALI).

The first tutorial and set of exercises are called the GOALI Basic Course.  In the GOALI Basic Course, I explain how to browse the entire GOALI collection, how to locate specific journals, publishers, and subjects, and how to find specific citations.  In the second tutorial and set of exercises, I explain how to do a basic Summon search, refine the search, and conduct an advanced search within GOALI.  In the third tutorial and set of exercises, I explain how to access publishers’ websites from the GOALI platform, identify general features on publishers’ websites, and how to use these features to find articles.  In the GOALI video, I include demonstrations on how to find journals by title, language, and publisher and how to access full-text books.

News about GOALI

The GOALI Launch Event of March 6, 2018 is available on YouTube and includes additional information on why GOALI was created and commentary from Research4Life Partners.  To keep up with current news regarding GOALI, follow #GOALI on Twitter (look for posts related to @R4LPartnership and #Research4Life as there are many posts related to soccer and people named Ali) and visit the ILO’s GOALI website often.

New FCIL Librarian Series: Spring Cleaning: Weeding the International Reference Print Collection

By Sarah Reis

This is the fourth post in a series of posts about adjusting to my new position as a foreign and international law librarian. I started my position at the Pritzker Legal Research Center at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in February 2018.

Reis - I REF Collection.jpg
Our library has a collection of international reference materials (I, REF) in print that includes items such as dictionaries, research guides, directories, and encyclopedias intended for in-library use only. In anticipation of upcoming renovations, I have been doing a bit of spring cleaning—reviewing our international reference collection to determine which books should stay in our new downsized reference section and which books should be sent to our closed stacks/basement, off-site storage, or withdrawn.

I created a spreadsheet with all of the titles in the collection to keep track of my recommendations for where the various books should go. We had a little over 250 titles (including series) for a total of nearly 900 individual books spanning over three short bookcases in the international reference collection. It was easier than expected for me to recommend reducing the size of this collection down to about 15% of that initial size (to approximately 125 books).

A significant number of titles in this collection were either outdated or available electronically, which made it easy for me to suggest for them to be stored elsewhere. But occasionally, I would recommend for us to keep a print copy of a title in our reference collection despite having online access. I primarily suggested keeping titles such as the bilingual/multilingual legal dictionaries as well as dictionaries or encyclopedias pertaining to specific areas of international law (e.g., international trade, terrorism, human rights).

During the course of this project, I discovered several items for which we also have electronic access either through one of our subscription databases or freely available online. For instance, we had digital access to many of the encyclopedias in this collection, such as the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World (via Oxford Islamic Studies Online), Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity (via Gale Virtual Reference Library), and the Oxford Companion to Politics of the World (via Oxford Reference Premium Collection). Additionally, many other titles were available through HeinOnline. I am brainstorming effective methods to make students aware of the availability of electronic access to many of these international reference books, whether it be by adding them to our A-Z database list or perhaps creating a new research guide on international reference materials available electronically.

Many items in the collection were outdated, particularly the directories, but also items like Treaties in Force (we had 2012 and 2013 on the shelf!) and research guides geared toward conducting research online from 1996 or 2000. On several occasions, I even discovered that our online access to a title was more up-to-date than the print copy on the shelf.

A project like this would be beneficial for a new FCIL librarian who is looking for a good way to familiarize herself or himself with an important part of the law library’s FCIL collection. Going forward, I intend to review this international reference collection every year or two to ensure that it remains fresh and up-to-date. Too many outdated titles bring down the usefulness and perceived value of the collection as a whole. The collection also needs space to grow. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of new materials that will be “planted” in this collection, such as the International Citator and Research Guide: The Greenbook!