Antiquarian/Rare Books Vendors and Dealers: Foreign and International Law

By Lyonette Louis-Jacques

domesday-book-1804x972For those building special collections of rare law books, here is a list I compiled recently after a call for suggestions to the AALL FCIL-SIS (Foreign, Comparative, and International Law) and LHRB-SIS (Legal History & Rare Books) e-Communities, and the INT-LAW (International Law Librarians) listserv. Thanks especially to Mike Widener, Andreas Knobelsdorf, and Jonathan Pratter for suggesting names of antiquarian vendors/dealers/publishers, etc. of foreign, comparative, and international law rare books. Please send any other suggestions or updates to me at llou@uchicago.edu).

Here is the list:

Sometimes FCIL rare books are sold through auctions via Bonhams or Doyle.

Mega-catalogs or rare book search pages for identifying rare FCIL titles include AbeBooks.com, viaLibri, ZVAB (Zentrales Verzeichnis Antiquarischer Bücher), WorldCat, and KVK – Karlsruher Virtueller Katalog (you can limit your search to the Buchhandel = Book Trade section). You can use these sources to check if a law title is unique or owned by few law libraries.  You can check these sources or digital libraries or commercial databases directly to see if a rare law book you own has already been digitized (if you’re thinking of special digitization projects).

For tracking the literature related to FCIL history, it’s useful to regularly review the Bulletin of Medieval Canon Law which includes an annual bibliography of essays and books) and “Orientamenti Bibliografici”, a bibliography coordinated by Rosalba Sorice with contributions from Manlio Bellomo, etc. published  in the Rivista Internazionale di Diritto Comune.

You can enroll in Mike Widener’s course for training in law rare book collecting. It’s a Rare Book School class called Law Books: History & Connoisseurship. He teaches it every two years or so. A reading list is available. Mike’s most recent law rare books class was in June 2016 and covered Roman, canon & civil law in addition to Anglo-American law. Bill Schwesig reported on this year’s class in the summer 2016 issue of the CALL Bulletin. Susan Gualtier, Teresa Miguel-Stearns, Sarah Ryan, and Fang Wang reported on the summer 2014 class in the March 2015 issue of AALL Spectrum.

It might be also useful for FCIL rare book collection development to check the catalogs and new acquisitions lists of research center libraries such as the Library of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (which, BTW, has a great digital library!).

Some of the libraries that have strong collection of rare FCIL book include Yale (including the Library of the Stephan Kuttner Institute of Medieval Canon Law), Berkeley (Robbins Collection on Religious and Civil Law), Law Library of Congress (The Rare Book Collection), and the Peace Palace Library (Grotius Collection). Sharing knowledge with them, generalist rare book librarians, or EXLIBRIS-L subscribers, on FCIL rare book collecting would be important for others new to selecting materials in this area. What are some strong FCIL rare book collections or specialized vendors?

Report from IFLA in Lyon

By Anne Burnett

Several AALL and FCIL-SIS members were among the nearly 4000 attendees at the 80th IFLA World Library Information Congress, held in Lyon, France, August 16-22, 2014, with a theme of “Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge.” This was my first time attending IFLA, and I had the honor of doing so as Representative from AALL to IFLA.

Sally Holterhoff and her poster on authentication and advocacy by law librarians in the United States.

Sally Holterhoff and her poster on authentication and advocacy by law librarians in the United States.

The biggest conference-wide news was the highly-anticipated launch of the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development, which outlines the need for access to information to be recognized in the United Nations post-2015 development framework and calls upon member states of the United Nations to acknowledge that access to information, and the skills to use it effectively, are required for sustainable development. IFLA is encouraging organizations and institutions to sign onto the Declaration, which is currently under review by AALL’s leadership.

Claire Germain presided as Chair over the two meetings of the Standing Committee for the IFLA Law Libraries Section. The Standing Committee and observers discussed issues relevant for the diverse group of law libraries represented and planned the Section’s activities for the coming year. A Working Group comprised of Sally Holterhoff and Marisol Floren provided the Section with an update on their Report on Access to Digital Legal Information, which assesses the official status, open access and authentication of legal gazettes. The report now covers all of Latin America and the Caribbean and work continues to assess gazettes worldwide.

Members of the Law Libraries Section collaborated with other sections to present two well-received programs at this year’s conference:

1) How Safe is the Law? Authentication of Official Gazettes: A Worldwide Report with an introduction by Sally Holterhoff and presentations about authentication of the EU e-Official Journal (Martine Reicherts, European Union Commissioner for Justice, Citizenship and Fundamental Rights), the French Digital Official Journal (Didier François, Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information), and the Federal Register (Charley Barth, Office of the Federal Register, National Archives & Records Administration); and

2) Access to Law at the Digital Cross Roads: Innovative Solutions to Complex Challenges, with multiple speakers presenting on topics ranging from building a digital repository for Myanmar’s Parliament to collaborative digitization of French heritage legal collections to designing a service-oriented architecture for automatic mark-up of documents in the Chilean Congress.

Materials for these programs are accessible in the WLIC program.

Sally Holterhoff also shared information about AALL’s advocacy efforts with a poster titled “Keeping the Law Safe: Librarians Advocating for Digital Authentication in the United States.” Visitors to

the poster were interested not only in the specific issue of authentication but also in the role American law librarians play in advocacy efforts and the support they receive from AALL.

The Law Libraries Section enjoyed a presentation and reception at the Bibliothèque Municpale de Lyon, where we learned about the fascinating (and somewhat grisly) special collection of materials belonging to early 20th century French criminologist, physician and forensics expert, Alexandre Lacassagne.

Many law librarians and parliamentary librarians from diverse jurisdictions expressed interest in the FCIL Schaffer Grant and in the FCIL-SIS Clearinghouse for Internships and International Personnel Exchanges. These colleagues were pleased to have the information and flyers provided by the FCIL-SIS for these programs.

The IFLA World Library Information Congress will meet in Cape Town, South Africa in August, 2015, and the Law Libraries Section will once again be an active presence. Keep 2016 in mind as well: the Congress will meet much closer to home in Columbus, Ohio.

From the program on authentication of legal gazettes worldwide, left to right: Charley Barth, Office of the Federal Register; Didier François, French Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information; Martine Reicherts, European Union Commissioner for Justice, Citizenship and Fundamental Rights; and Sally Holterhoff, Valparaiso University Law School and former President of the American Association of Law Libraries.

From the program on authentication of legal gazettes worldwide, left to right: Charley Barth, Office of the Federal Register; Didier François, French Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information; Martine Reicherts, European Union Commissioner for Justice, Citizenship and Fundamental Rights; and Sally Holterhoff, Valparaiso University Law School and former President of the American Association of Law Libraries.