AALL 2019 Recap: FCIL-SIS Schaffer Grant Presentation – African Law for Everyone: AfricanLII and Laws.Africa

By: Loren Turner


On Monday, July 15, 2019, the 2019 FCIL-SIS Schaffer Grant recipient, Mariya Badeva-Bright, who leads the AfricanLII project at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (and recently co-founded Laws.Africa, a legislative commons), delivered a fantastic presentation titled “African Law for Everyone: AfricanLII and Laws.Africa.” Mariya’s presentation was a summary of her motivations and processes for gathering and digitizing African law as well as a “call to action” to law librarians worldwide for help in making African law accessible to all.

African Law for Everyone: AfricanLII and Laws.Africa

Mariya began her presentation by stating that there is no reliable, consistent, and up-to-date access to the law in many African countries – free or not.  Mariya provided several reasons for the lack of access to legal information: indifference of commercial publishers; lack of funds and skills on the local levels; poor record keeping; and low level corruption. She argued that there can be no justice without access to legal information.  When the law is not available freely and easily, judges cannot determine precedent; rich litigants have an unfair advantage.  As support, Mariya shared visual images of legislative texts in which pages were literally cut out, edited by hand, and then reinserted.  The reality, Mariya said, is that lots of African law is in such condition and this format frustrates access to justice.

Mariya explained that the AfricanLII and the Laws.Africa projects are about building an open infrastructure of African legal information with opportunity for sophisticated searches. They have to be open to anyone and offer speed, efficiency, services, growth and development.

AfricanLII was founded in 2010 to promote the role of LIIs in Africa. It now offers a federated search of over 250k documents of African legal information. Additionally, in response to user demand, it has begun to create case indices, including the Human Rights Law Index and the Commercial Law Index. It also provides a current awareness newsletter that started out as a service for judges but has expanded to anyone interested in following legal developments in African law (subscribe at the bottom of this page). Most recently, AfricanLII launched a citator service, available in beta format. It is the first visual citator in the access to law movement, but what is more remarkable is that it creates a citator service for cases that were never published in law reports and, therefore, don’t have citations!  The AfricanLII database sees about 400,000 unique users per month, 90% of which are within Africa.  Users are primarily from the justice sector (lawyers, judges, paralegals, magistrates, law students, government workers, etc.) but there is an increase in “average joes” accessing the database.

When the AfricanLII project began, there was a conscious choice to focus on gathering and digitizing cases rather than legislation.  Cases have their own value, but outdated legislation has little value.  The creators of AfricanLII had concerns about the future credibility of their project if they uploaded outdated legislation.  Plus, the reality is that in most African countries, there is no free source of consolidated, up-to-date legislation.

The Laws.Africa project developed to address the lack of freely available access to African legislation. The creators of the Laws.Africa project surveyed other country’s attempts at making legislation current and freely accessible.  They decided that the UK’s legislation.gov.uk was the model “golden” standard outside of Africa because of its rich interface and up-to-date, authoritative corpus.  Within Africa, the “golden” standards were Kenya law, an authoritative source of Kenyan legislation, and OpenBylaws.org.za, which focuses on improving access to South African by-laws.

Laws.Africa is an open source, cloud platform for efficient cost-effective consolidation and publication of African legislation.  It aims to crowdsource an open digital archive of African gazettes and use technology (in particular, Akoma Ntoso, a non-proprietary, XML markup standard for legislative documents) to consolidate legislation. In terms of processes: once a gazette is uploaded onto the Laws.Africa platform, a group of contributors (law students and law library students) extract individual Acts and identify changes to the Act over time.  A small group of reviewers check the work of the contributors (there is a two-step review process). After review, the consolidated legislation becomes available in a variety of formats.

The Laws.Africa project has already acquired and uploaded over 13,000 national gazettes.  These gazettes are available in .pdf versions through a linked sister site called Gazettes.Africa.  But, it takes a village to make a complete collection!  Unfortunately, Mariya explained, the law of Africa is not in Africa.  Instead, many African gazettes, especially historical ones, are located in libraries outside of Africa.  To continue building the collection of African gazettes and legislation on the Laws.Africa portal, Mariya and her colleagues need law librarians and digitizers in the U.S. and U.K. to donate their African gazettes to the project.  Mariya believes that crowdsourcing these gazettes is the best way to reach the goal of a complete collection.

Mariya concluded her presentation with an appeal: Join our community! Donate your gazettes!  Spread the word about the AfricanLII and Laws.Africa projects!  She received a great round of applause.

For a video of Mariya’s FCIL-SIS Schaffer Grant presentation, as given at Yale Law Library subsequent to the 2019 AALL Annual Meeting, follow this link.

FCIL Program Ideas in 2020 IdeaScale, Fourth and Final Week!

By Susan Gualtier

French Quarter

Mardi Gras in the French Quarter, New Orleans

Here it is… the final week of the first phase of next year’s programming proposal process!  Ideascale will close this Friday, August 16, so this is your last chance to post your proposal ideas and to vote on the ideas that have already been posted!

We’ve had several great new FCIL programming ideas posted to IdeaScale this week, so be sure and check them out and give them an upvote!  We also encourage you to submit your own program ideas to IdeaScale.  We need your ideas as much as your votes!!  You can do this anonymously if you like.  If you have questions, comments, concerns, or calls for help, please reach out to me (sgua@law.upenn.edu) and/or Dennis Sears (searsd@law.byu.edu).  As co-Chairs of the FCIL-SIS Education Committee, it is our job to encourage and support you in developing ideas and program proposals in anticipation of next year’s meeting.

Each Monday from now through August 16, DipLawMatic Dialogues will bring you an update on all of the FCIL-related program ideas currently posted in IdeaScale to encourage you to “up-vote” these programs. For more on why up-voting is important, see here.

Cultural Intelligence and Academic Law Libraries Research

As the 2019 ALL-SIS Research & Scholarship grant recipient, this presentation on “Cultural Intelligence and Academic Law Libraries” will report on my findings, analysis and recommendations based on my research study over the past year. The purpose of my research study is to examine the cultural intelligence in academic law librarians, in order to understand the perspective of these librarians and to help them better serve their stakeholders. Cultural intelligence is defined as the capability of an individual to function effectively across new cultural settings (Ang & Van Dyne, 2008). The following research questions are examined within the study and relate to areas of the American Association of Law Libraries research agenda: (a) What is the overall level of cultural intelligence of participating academic law librarians?, (b) What variations among participating academic law librarians, if any, exist among the four dimensions of cultural intelligence?, (c) What viewpoints do the law librarians have about the value and importance of cultural intelligence within their organizations?, and (d) how can academic law librarians best serve the information needs of their patrons through use of cultural intelligence? This research supports both the spirit and the practical application of at least three of the AALL Body of Knowledge Domains (professionalism + leadership, teaching + training, and marketing + outreach). The research includes a mixed-methods approach with 171 participants. I hope you will join me in learning more about my results and conclusions from our ALL-SIS membership and recommendations for practice and research.

BOK Content Area:  Professionalism & Leadership at Every Level

Improving Access to Law and Justice in Communities of the World

In emerging democracies and developing countries, access to the law is necessary for members of the public to fully participate in the democratic process. However, people in communities around the world face barriers to accessing official law and legal information. How can law libraries and legal information professionals help members of these communities (including refugees, women, indigenous communities, the poor, and pro se litigants) gain access to the law? How can a strong legal information system assist both legal providers and average people by creating tools that expand understanding of the law? This program will look at efforts being made in other countries to ensure that members of the public have access to official versions of the law and will also consider global and regional endeavors by organizations including the Legal Information Institutes and Free Access to Law Movement. Projects underway to promote increased understanding of the law will also be examined.

Potential speakers include Stephen Wyber, Manager for Policy and Advocacy for the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), and a representative from one of the LIIs around the world, such as the African LII or the Canadian LII. Another possibility is someone to provide perspective from the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) or the Chinese and American Forum on Legal Information and Law Libraries (CAFLL).

BOK Content Area:  Marketing & Outreach

Louisiana Law/Civil Law/Comparative Law Roundtable

Building upon and combining some of the ideas already posted, this program would take place in a round table format where participants could discuss topics relating to Louisiana and other civil and mixed jurisdictions. Potential table topics include:

Collection development


Government documents


Louisiana legal history

Louisiana’s place in comparative law

Civil law generally (structure and research methods)

Civil law in Louisiana courts

Facilitators would consist of librarians familiar with Louisiana, civil, and comparative law issues in the relevant areas.

This program could also be proposed in a longer form that included an overview of Lousiana’s legal system and its place in civil and comparative law, before the participants break up into tables.

BOK Content Area:  Professionalism & Leadership at Every Level

Hebrew-script books on non-Jewish legal systems

These are books written by and for Jews in Hebrew script languages, about the legal systems they have lived under as a less-than privileged minority. Examples includes a book on Yiddish on the American legal system written at the start of the 20th century, a Hebrew/Aramaic parody of a talmudic tractae discussing prohibition in the early 20th century, a Hebrew translation of the Ottoman conscription law, and the text of the Austrian civil code written mid-19th century translated into Hebrew with an explanatory commentary in the style of traditional Jewish “rabbinical” legal commentary. This program was presented at the Association of Jewish Libraries conference six years ago and could be adapted by adding explanation of cultural background for non-Hebrew speakers. It could be enhanced or combined with a program on other examples of popular literature on the legal system written by and for minorities in a language not commonly known by scholars of those systems. It may be of special interested to the customary and religious law group in FCIL, the Jewish Librarians Caucus and the LHRB SIS.

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

Obtaining & Using Copyrighted Materials from Foreign Countries

What does a U.S. law librarian do when a book or report that a patron needs to consult is only available at a library in England or India? How about when a thesis or document that another patron needs for research purposes is only available at a library in Namibia or New Zealand?Many libraries do not want to lend items internationally through OCLC WorldShare Interlibrary Loan, so ILL requests sent to non-U.S. countries are frequently returned unfilled. If a librarian—undeterred and unwilling to give up—contacts the library in another country directly to request scanned chapters of the book or a scanned copy of the report, how can the librarian ensure that the request does not violate that country’s copyright laws? Do other countries have fair use exceptions and library exemptions in their copyright laws similar to U.S. copyright law? How do copyright term lengths differ in other countries?

This program addresses how to research foreign copyright laws, how to legally obtain copies of copyrighted material from libraries around the world, and how to obtain permission to use copyrighted material that has been registered for copyright protection in another country.

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

Unmasking the World’s 100 Most Influential Legal Texts

What are the 100 most influential texts in the world’s legal literature? Who better to ask than law librarians? We invite AALL members to share their expertise and diverse viewpoints in an interactive session that will be both fun and intellectually engaging. The resulting list may form the basis for a publication, a major public exhibition, and/or a dynamic, ever-growing online project. More than simply a tool for collecting or teaching, the list of the world’s most influential legal texts will demonstrate the profound impact of law on our lives throughout history and into the future.

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

Legal research in civil law jurisdictions – all that different?

Legal research in civil law jurisdictions may not be as different as you may expect! The

influence of the common law can be seen, for instance, in the increased reliance on precedent and increased length in decisions. One might even question whether the emphasis on doctrine is really as strong now as it used to be.

A slight spin on the ideas already suggested, this panel is a little more introductory, but acknowledges the changing nature of practice in a civilian jurisdiction. Starting with the same research question, law librarians/ lawyers in various civil law jurisdictions will explain how they would tackle the question in their respective jurisdictions. Case law from these jurisdictions will also be compared.

See: http://www.slaw.ca/2019/06/20/not-your-grandparents-civil-law-decisions-are-getting-longer-why-and-what-does-it-mean-in-france-and-quebec/?highlight=civil%20law

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

Tips Tools & Techniques for Environmental Law Research

We don’t do as many research subject specific programs as in past. Why not take advantage of local expertise for an introductory to intermediate level program on how to research / tools for environmental law research?

See Tulane Law School https://law.tulane.edu/centers/environment

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

Tools Tips & Techniques in Admiralty & Maritime Law

We aren’t doing as many legal research specific programs as in past. Why not take advantage of our location in New Orleans and the local expertise in admiralty and maritime law?

See Tulane Law School https://law.tulane.edu/academics/maritime

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

Screening of Documentary “Change the Subject” With Panel

“Change the Subject” is a recent documentary, about the students and librarians who have been fighting to change the Library of Congress subject heading from “Illegal Aliens” to something less pejorative, such as “undocumented people.” The struggle to change this heading even caught the attention of Congress, who until then had never taken an interest in LC subject headings that anyone could recall.

You can read more and view a trailer here: https://sites.dartmouth.edu/changethesubject/. The filmmakers are excited and available to come screen the film and then answers questions during a panel session. Panel would also include law librarians involved in this struggle.

BOK Content Area:  Professionalism & Leadership at Every Level

How Codes are Made: Creating Laws in Civil Jurisdictions

Is there a difference between a code and a set of statutes? How does the process of codification differ between common law and civilian jurisdictions? What roles do legislatures and law reform bodies play? This panel will help librarians to understand the role that codes play in civilian and mixed jurisdictions and how and whether it differs from that of the “codes” that most of us would recognize as codified statutes. The panel will explore how codes are constructed in a variety of jurisdictions.

Speakers will include law faculty and drafters from Louisiana, as well as from or familiar with similar jurisdictions, such as Quebec, Scotland, and South Africa.

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

Is it Napoleonic? Foreign/Domestic Influences on LA Civil Code

Interpreting and researching modern civil law depends upon an understanding of the historical sources from which those laws evolved. People often say that Louisiana uses the Napoleonic Code, but is that true? Louisiana has been both a French and Spanish colony, and it has been a part of the American legal system for over 200 years; it has also been influenced by Roman Law, Greek Law, Canon Law, and the Germanic Civil Law tradition.

This panel will help librarians understand the legal system of Louisiana, how the Louisiana Civil Code is drafted, and how the Civil Code operates within Louisiana’s mixed, partially common law jurisdiction. It will explore the relationship between codes, statutes, and cases, and how primary and secondary authority are defined and developed within Louisiana’s unique legal system. The panel will also cover elements of Louisiana legal research, including Louisiana’s unique legal publishing industry, the importance of print resources in Louisiana legal research, and available historical treatises and primary sources. The program will be accompanied by a LibGuide to assist non-Louisiana law librarians in researching Louisiana legal issues.

Speakers may include Louisiana law librarians, Louisiana law faculty, and members of the Louisiana State Law Institute (LSLI).

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

Researching, Publishing, and Collecting the Laws of Louisiana

Most law librarians are aware of Louisiana’s unique and “different” legal system. But what does that mean for legal research, legal publishing, and collection development in the Pelican State?

This program will cover aspects of Louisiana legal research and collection development, including Louisiana’s small and specialized legal publishing industry, the importance of print resources in Louisiana legal research, and available primary and secondary sources. The program will be accompanied by a LibGuide to assist non-Louisiana law librarians in researching Louisiana legal issues and choosing Louisiana legal resources.

Speakers may include Louisiana law librarians, legal scholars, and representatives of university presses and other publishers of Louisiana law.

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

LA Civil Code & Other Influences on Civil Law in Latin America

The Louisiana civil code has directly and significantly influenced civil law in Latin America. It is generally believed that Spanish language translations of a mid-nineteenth century digest of world civil codes served as the first introduction of the civil law in Latin America. The Louisiana civil code was included in this digest (along with the codes of France, Sicily, Piedmont, the Netherlands, Bavaria, Austria, and Prussia), and the Spanish translation of the digest would therefore have served as the very first Spanish translation of the Louisiana civil code.

Around the same time, Spain was beginning to draft its first civil code post-unification, which would not be enacted until 1889. The commentaries provided during the drafting of the Spanish civil code, many of which referred to the code already in place in Louisiana, also heavily influenced the development of the civil law in Latin American countries.Latin American lawmakers turned to the Louisiana civil code not only because of the Spanish language translations and commentaries, but also because it was the first civil code to be drafted in the New World and could therefore serve as a model for Latin American countries that had been fighting for their own independence and that sought to express that independence through their own civil codes. Similarities between the Louisiana and French codes during this period were also significant, as the French code, which captured the spirit of post-Revolutionary France, had also captured the imagination of Latin America. As scholarship on Latin American civil law points out, the first Latin American codes were nearly word for word translations of the French civil code and its corresponding Louisiana code provisions, with departures only where the Latin American codes made reference to much older Spanish laws.

This program will explore the historical influences on Latin American civil law, which are invaluable in helping us to understand and research the modern laws. Speakers will consist of law librarians and civil law scholars who have researched extensively the development of Latin American civil law.

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

Recent Reforms in the French Law of Obligations

Adapted from a symposium recently held at the Louisiana Supreme Court, this panel will address recent reforms to the French Law of Obligations and what they mean both for France and for French-influenced jurisdictions like Louisiana. Speakers will discuss the need for reforms to adapt the law to modern economic and social environments and to make French law more attractive to international markets. Specific changes to the law, as well as how they are playing out in practice, will be discussed in detail depending upon the available speakers’ expertise. We will round out the panel with a brief discussion of how the reforms in France could eventually affect the law of Louisiana and of other French-influenced jurisdictions.

Speakers would include scholars of French law, Louisiana law, and potential additional jurisdictions’ law, depending on availability. This program could be condensed into a short form program and/or proposed as a half workshop or symposium.

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

Through the Codes Darkly: Slave Law and Civil Law in Louisiana

In his 2012 book, “Through the Codes Darkly: Slave Law and Civil Law in Louisiana” (https://www.lawbookexchange.com/pages/books/59912/vernon-valentine-palmer/through-the-codes-darkly-slave-law-and-civil-law-in-louisiana), Tulane Law Professor Vernon Palmer challenged the prevailing argument that Louisiana’s slave laws were more permissive or protective than those of the other states. The differences between Louisiana’s slave laws and those of the other states have been attributed largely to the alleged adoption of ancient Roman slave laws during the drafting of Louisiana’s Code Noir, or “Black Code.” Because the Romans owned slaves of all races, some scholars have argued that the Roman laws were “color-blind” and that their incorporation into the Code Noir laid the groundwork for a more permissive body of slave law in the French territories. These scholars contrast the civil slave laws to the body of case law that developed to govern slavery in the other states, and argue that, while the common law developed specifically within a racial system, the civil law did not develop from the intent to oppress any particular race.

In “Through the Codes Darkly,” Palmer breaks with the earlier scholarship claiming that the Code Noir was based on Roman law. He instead relies on archival research, examining the Code Noir drafters’ backgrounds, the instructions they received from France, and the notes they generated during the course of their work. Palmer argues that the Code Noir was in fact based on the drafters’ own experiences in the New World, and that the Roman slave laws, which would have been largely irrelevant to slavery in the Americas, did not, in fact, form the substantive basis of the Code Noir. In breaking with Romanist scholarship, Palmer owns that the drafters of the Code Noir created a “profoundly racial document embodying the prejudices of their own white supremacist society.”

This program would explore Palmer’s trailblazing research into the law of slavery in Louisiana. The speaker would ideally be Professor Palmer himself, although other local law professors would also be qualified to speak on this topic if Professor Palmer were not available.

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

French, Spanish, African and Jewish influences in US Law

New Orleans and Louisiana in general with its rich city and legal history is the perfect set for this panel. Legal experts and historical experts will shed some light on the French, Spanish, African and Jewish influences which might have been present and even created in Louisiana or New Orleans and then made it to US law. Potential speakers include historical and legal experts on the topic, local history experts, and a local legal history expert or just legal history expert.

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

Legal information from U.S. Territories

Legal information from and on the current U.S. territories is a nightmare to find. Most major commercial vendors do not include this information and local institutions do not have the resources to digitize and make this information more accessible. What should we do?

Potential speakers include law librarians from different U.S. territories, law librarian specializing in this area, perhaps a government/court librarian from the territories.

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis

Is Google Translate the only option?

The legal document or any material you are working on has a few sentences on Spanish, Estonian, Swahili or Vietnamese. What do you do? If you’re under some pressing time constraints locating and hiring a translator might not be an option. Is Google Translate the only and best option we have? Are there any other options out there either free or not?

Potential speakers include: a FCIL librarian with experience using materials in foreign languages, a certified legal translator, a rep from Google Translate or someone working in one of the other translation sites or apps such as Linguee or Lingvo.

BOK Content Area:  Research & Analysis


Introducing…Lesley Dingle as the August 2019 FCIL Member of the Month

2019.08 Lesley

1. Where did you grow up?

I was born in Mutare Zimbabwe but grew up in the small remote town of George, Western Cape, South Africa.

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career?

I trained to be a teacher and librarian, and then trained as a lawyer. I was ultimately able to combine these interests.

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law?

In 1997 when I was appointed to the Squire Law Library at Cambridge, having previously managed the Law Library at City University, London. I came to the Squire Library having trained in a foreign jurisdiction (mixed Roman Dutch and Common Law), and therefore had a foreign, international perspective.

4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there?

University of Cambridge. 22 years

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

Afrikaans, Flemish. Working knowledge of German and French.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

Founding and developing the Cambridge Eminent Scholars Archive. During this time I’ve had the privilege of interviewing many international lawyers/jurists.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?

White bread and jam

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance?

Cheikh  Lô with Youssou N’Dour – Set

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?

To be able to play the violin well.

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without?

Some form of exercise.  Swimming, cycling or walking.

11. Anything else you would like to share with us?

I greatly value my ties with colleagues world-wide. I have made wonderful friends through FCIL activities, both home and abroad.   Similarly, my research in the course of compiling the ESA has brought home to me the variety of adversities and amazing contingencies that direct the course of most people’s careers.


Despatches on Brexit from BIALL 2019

By Alison Shea

BIAALL.jpgI’ve recently returned from the BIALL 2019 Annual Conference, held in the (usually sunny) seaside town of Bournemouth – although this picture from outside the conference venue may inspire envy, I assure you it was cold and rainy pretty much the entire time!

The good news is that while the weather may have been poor, the conference program was great!  I was very excited to attend the opening session, which was delivered by David Allen Green, a lawyer and contributing editor for the Financial Times.  Green was also the keynote speaker at the BIALL Conference in 2017 where he gave a great overview of what to expect from Brexit, which at that time we all thought would be over by now.

Of course we know that the UK did not leave the EU on March 29, 2019, so Green returned to provide an update on where we are now.  Green, who will be coming out with his own book Brexit: What Everyone Needs to Know in August 2019, started off by explaining there are three ways the Brexit issue could be resolved by the current October 31 deadline.

First, the UK could request another extension, but Green feels this is unlikely given that extensions must be agreed upon by the entire EU Council, and given that the previous two extensions were not agreed upon quickly or easily.  Further, every request for an extension requires further time, planning, and government representation to organize, and most EU member states are about at the end of their patience which such requests.

The second outcome would be if the UK political establishment finally agrees to the current deal that has been negotiated.  However, given that two of the greatest Parliamentary defeats in history have come from votes on this deal, it is unlikely that a new government will have any better luck pushing it through a third time.

A third outcome would be to revoke Article 50 and work on “starting over”, but there does not seem to be the political will to move forward with this option.  However, leaving with no deal would be – in Green’s words – “like Armageddon”, so it is entirely unclear what the next move for the UK will be at this stage especially given the current uncertainty surrounding who the next Prime Minister will be (consider following the BBC coverage on this development).

I found Green’s most interesting comments to be on the logical outcomes of all the effort that has gone into planning (or maybe not planning) for Brexit.  Due to all of the special apparatuses that had been set up in the EU and the UK to handle negotiations and transitions, Green believes the UK was never in a better position to leave the EU than it was in March.  Now due to political leadership changes in both the EU and UK, these teams are being disbanded and much of the institutional knowledge and experience will be lost.  Therefore, Green believes that the UK is now in a worse position than it was in March.

In closing, Green spoke very highly of the work that various information professionals have been doing in support of disseminating information, specifically that of the House of Commons and House of Lords libraries’ research briefings on Brexit.  He also recommended Parliament’s Select Committee reports which can be browsed either by most recent reports or by Committee, with the Exiting the EU Committee being especially relevant to Brexit issues.  Green also singled out two monographs worth consulting on the topic of Brexit: 9 Lessons on Brexit by Ivan Rogers and A Short History of Brexit by Kevin O’Rourke (slightly less relevant, this was my personal favorite Brexit book purchase of the trip).

In addition to Green’s opening plenary session, the closing plenary session by Matthew Bell of the National Archives on meeting the domestic legislative publishing challenges of Brexit offered some interesting insights as well.  Although I could only stay for a few minutes of this talk before leaving to catch my flight home, I did find that Bell gave a presentation at the 2018 Law via the Internet conference and the slides posted from that presentation are very similar to what I saw at the BIALL conference.

The most interesting takeaway I had from Bell’s presentation was that the National Archives is well placed to begin its work to create a fully functioning domestic statute book as soon as the UK leaves the EU – the key part being “when”, which was covered extensively in Green’s comments above.  The slides do an excellent job of spelling out what is required of “the Queen’s printer” by European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, c.16, Sch. 5 para.1 and how legislaton.gov.uk will be working to capture the “moment in time” of EU legislation via Eur-Lex when (if?) then official exit occurs.

Finally, I’d like to put in a small plug for those of you who might have an interest or school focus on UK/Irish law to consider joining BIALL (you may be as shocked as I was to see a familiar face welcoming you to their membership page) and/or attending their conference.

The next BIALL Annual Conference will be held June 11-13, 2020 in Harrogate, which is a lovely Victorian spa town in Yorkshire definitely worth visiting.    I personally find BIALL to be more accessible than AALL, especially when it comes to speaking with vendors.  Although the products in the UK are not always the same as we have in the US, many of us in the FCIL community are responsible for recommending the purchase of foreign materials and BIALL is an excellent place to learn more about these resources.  I’ve attended a number of BIALL conferences over the years and would be glad to answer any questions you might have!

AALL 2019 Call for Bloggers

We are hoping to once again provide robust coverage of the AALL Annual Meeting.  With this in mind, we are looking for volunteers to recap one or more programs in Atlanta. It’s a great way to serve the SIS and help those who can’t attend the Annual Meeting to learn a little.

Below are a list of some of the programs that we think would be especially interesting to FCIL-SIS members, but we are always open to members covering other programs, so if you’re going to be at something and would like to cover it, just let us know. To volunteer for any of the programs below or any other program, just email Alyson Drake at alyson.drake@ttu.edu.

Saturday, July 13:

  • 8:45am-12:00pm:  FCIL Bootcamp: Basic Training (Offsite–Georgetown)
  • 1:30pm-5:00pm:  FCIL Bootcamp: Advanced Training (Offsite-Georgetown)

Sunday, July 14:

  • 11:30am-12:30pm:  GDPR: What Your Library Needs to Know (WCC Room 147 AB)
  • 12:45pm-2:15pm:  FCIL-SIS Business Meeting (WCC Room 102 A)
  • 2:30pm-3:30pm:  Growing Out, Not Climbing Up (WCC Room 146 A)
  • 4:00pm-5:15pm:  Diversity & Inclusion Symposium: Privilege and Power in Legal Environments: Overcoming Barriers to Entry and Advancement (WCC Room 146 A)

Monday, July 15:

  • 9:30am-10:30am: Hungry, Hungry Hypos: Designing Raw Materials for Problem-Based Instruction (WCC Room 145 AB)
  • 9:30am-10:3am: Polishing Your Public Speaking: Beyond Picturing People in Their Underpants (WCC Room 150 AB)
  • 11:00am-12:00pm: The Age of AI: Emerging Regulatory Landscape Around the World (WCC Room 146 A)
  • 11:00am-12:00pm: Let’s Get Experiential! Creating Strategic Partnerships to Develop Experiential Simulation Courses (WCC Room 150 AB)
  • 1:30-2:45pm:  FCIL-SIS Teaching Foreign and International Legal Research Interest Group Meeting (Marriott Magnolia)
  • 3:00-4:00pm:  Locating Latin American Legal Sources (WCC Room 145 AB)
  • 5:30-6:30pm:  FCIL-SIS Schaffer Grant for Foreign Law Librarians Recipient Presentation (Marriott Marquis Ballroom Salon 4)

Tuesday, July 16:

  • 8:30am-9:30am:  Instruction Zone: Active Learning Ideas Showcase (WCC Room 145 AB)
  • 11:15am-12:15pm: Social Media as Primary Sources of Government Information (WCC 145 AB)
  • 11:15am-12:15pm: Better with Science: Strengthening Patron Learning (WCC Room 152 AB)

Introducing…Abby Dos Santos as the June 2019 FCIL Member of the Month

dos santos

1. Where did you grow up? 

I was born and raised in Washington, D.C.

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career? 

When I was in law school, I started working in the law library because I loved spending time in the library and learning from the librarians.  After law school, I worked closely with my firm’s law librarian.  I loved researching and the process of finding the answer, more than the answer itself.  The law librarian at the firm encouraged me to pursue a career in law librarianship, and I did!

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law? 

I have an undergraduate degree in international relations, and thought I would work in international development.  But I found a love for the law while working as an International Program Specialist for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP)—providing technical assistance programs to foreign governments on topics related to international legal reform.  I further developed my interest in FCIL topics while working at Georgetown’s Wolff International & Comparative Law Library during library school and after graduating.

4. Who is your current employer? How long have  you worked there?

I currently work as the Reference Librarian at Caplin & Drysdale, in Washington, D.C.  I’ve been at Caplin & Drysdale for five years.  The firm primarily works in tax law and bankruptcy litigation, so I still use my FCIL knowledge when helping our attorneys find resources on tax treaties and other international tax issues.

5. Do you speak any foreign languages?

My family is originally from Brazil, so I speak fluent Portuguese.  I’m also fluent in Spanish.

6. What is your most significant professional achievement?

Redirecting my professional path to law librarianship and graduating from library school.  I’m very proud of graduating from law school, but as soon as I made the change to law librarianship, I knew it was the best decision for my professional career and thus has been the most significant so far.

7. What is your biggest food weakness?


8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance? 

Any Brazilian music

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?

Speed reading

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without?

My phone (unfortunately)

11. Anything else you would like to share with us?

I lived in Minnesota for college and law school, but came back to D.C. for library school.  I’m not sure how, but people tell me I still have a bit of a Minnesota accent.  So I’m probably one of the only native Washingtonians with a Minnesota accent!

From the Reference Desk: U.S. Acquisition of Pacific Island Territories

By Amy Flick


Courtesy of the CIA World Factbook, which is in the public domain.


“I have a citation that Guam was the first U.S. Pacific island territory, and I’m not sure that that’s correct. What date did it become a U.S. territory?”

At last, a ready reference question! This should be quick!

“What about Hawaii, Samoa, the Aleutians, Santa Catalina and the islands off the California coast? Oh, and I need to find the treaty for the U.S. acquisition of Guam, and for whichever of those acquisitions came first.”

So, not a quick question. I then spent the afternoon wading through the history of nineteenth-century U.S. colonialist adventures.

One issue to resolve here is definitions. Are the Aleutians and Santa Catalina considered Pacific island territories? With “U.S. Pacific island territory” part of the original question, are you including islands that are part of U.S. states? Do you want the acquisition date, or the date that the islands formally became U.S. territories? Beyond raising those questions, I leave it to the professor to decide, and I concentrate on finding dates and documents for acquisition of the islands she mentioned.

Since this was an urgent request, I started with Google hoping to find a list already compiled. I found lists of U.S. territorial acquisitions, with dates, from the Global Policy Forum and from Dr. Kathryn MacKay at Weber State University. These list the acquisition dates for the Mexican Cession (California) as 1848, Alaska 1867, Hawaii 1898, Guam 1898, and American Samoa 1899. The list from Dr. MacKay cited a publication from the U.S. Geological Survey, Franklin K. Van Zandt, Boundaries of the United States and the Several States. Emory’s catalog listed it with a link to the USGS. I went through them in the order listed in the USGS book.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Feb. 2, 1848, 9 Stat. 922, T.S. 207, added California and other western territory to the United States as a purchase after the Mexican-American War. Article V of the treaty sets the boundaries, including “thence across the Rio Colorado, following the division line between Upper and Lower California, to the Pacific Ocean,” with no mention of the islands off the coast. Van Zandt at page 151 notes that California never had the status of an organized territory, but was instead admitted directly into the Union. The California state constitution of 1849, Article 12, asserted jurisdiction of “all the islands, harbors, and bays along and adjacent to the coast,” and an August 31, 1852 appropriations act of Congress at 10 Stat. 91 made an appropriation for subdividing the islands. And Santa Catalina was included in the County of Los Angeles in the Compiled Laws of California for 1850-1853. According to Van Zandt, “[t]he question of sovereignty over these islands has been raised several times, the claim being made that as they were not mentioned in the treaty of 1848, Mexico had not given up its title to them; but it is evident…that it was generally understood after the treaty was signed that the islands were a part of the territory ceded to the United States.” (Van Zandt, p. 152)

Alaska was purchased by treaty from Russia in 1867, in Treaty Concerning the Russian Possessions in North America, art. I, March 30, 1867, 15 Stat. 539, T.S. 301, 11 Bevans 1216, 1217 (1867). However, it wasn’t formally organized as a U.S. territory by act of Congress until August 24, 1912, 37 Stat. 512. Article I of the treaty sets Alaska’s boundaries, including “to the meridian of one hundred and ninety-three degrees west longitude, so as to include in the territory conveyed the whole of the Aleutian islands east of that meridian.”

Hawaii’s annexation was complicated. Characterized as a “voluntary action of its citizens” (Van Zandt at p.33),  the male property owners voting under the 1897 Constitution of the Republic of Hawaii, and was not by treaty. The Legislature of the Republic of Hawaii approved a Joint Resolution of annexation to the United States in 1895. Joint Resolution, Laws of the Republic of Hawaii 1892-1898, Special Session 1895, p. 100 (Aug. 13, 1898). Hawaii was annexed by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1898. Joint Resolution: To provide for annexing the Hawaiian Islands to the United States., Chapter 55, 55th Congress, Session 2, 30 Stat. 750, 751 (July 7, 1898). Hawaii became a U.S. territory by act of April 30, 1900, 31 Stat. 141.

Getting to the subject of the original question, Guam was ceded to the United States by Spain in the Treaty of Paris in 1898, along with the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Treaty of Peace (Treaty of Paris), art. II, Dec. 10, 1898, 30 Stat. 1754, T.S. 343, 11 Bevans 615, 621 (1898).

As with Hawaii, American Samoa’s history is also complicated. According to Van Zandt (p. 36), the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany exercised a “joint protectorate” over Samoa after a naval confrontation over the islands in 1889. Samoa was divided into German and U.S. regions in an 1899 treaty with Germany and the United Kingdom. Adjustment of jurisdiction in Samoa, Dec. 2, 1899, 31 Stat. 1878, T.S. 314, 1 Bevans 276, 277 (1899). As Van Zandt notes at page 36 of the USGS document, “natives of Samoa had no part in this convention.” The Joint Resolution of Congress accepting the cession of the Samoan Islands came in 1929 by Public Resolution 89, Ch. 281, 70th Cong. 2d Sess., 45 Stat. 1253 (Feb. 20, 1929).

Of the islands and territories listed by the professor in her request, Santa Catalina and the islands off the coast of California were acquired by the United States first. Guam was acquired by treaty in 1898. The information from the U.S. Geological Survey document, Franklin K. Van Zandt, Boundaries of the United States and the Several States, made it easy to find the treaties, congressional acts, and state laws on Hein Online to send to the professor. (I’m linking here to the Library of Congress, HathiTrust, and other freely available sources, however.) I also recommended Foreign Relations of the United States for more documents related to the territorial acquisitions and treaties.