New International Law Resources: The 2011 US Digest and a Nuclear Treaty Database

by Duncan Hollis

Two quick research-related items.  First, I’m pleased to report that the 2011 Digest of United States Practice is now available on the State Department website.  Here’s the description from today’s press release:

The digest provides the public with a record of the views and practice of the Government of the United States in public and private international law. The official edition of the 2011 Digest is available exclusively on the State Department’s website at: www.state.gov/s/l/c8183.htm. Past digests covering 1989 through 2010 are also available on the State Department’s website. The Digest is edited by the Office of the Legal Adviser.

The Digest traces its history back to an 1877 treatise by John Cadwalader, which was followed by multi-volume encyclopedias covering selected areas of international law. The Digest later came to be known to many as “Whiteman’s” after Marjorie Whiteman, the editor from 1963-1971. Beginning in 1973, the Office of the Legal Adviser published the Digest on an annual basis, changing its focus to documentation current to the year. Although publication was temporarily suspended after 1988, the office resumed publication in 2000 and has since produced volumes covering 1989 through 2011. A cumulative index covering 1989-2006 was published in 2007, and an updated edition of that index, covering 1989-2008, was published in 2010.

I’m a huge fan of the digests (indeed, my first post-JD book purchase was a rather expensive complete set of Moore’s Digest, which I’ve since supplemented with the ensuing sets and volumes). The fact that the digest is now available electronically and no longer requires large monetary outlays is a service the State Department should be proud of.  And, on a more substantive note — check out Chapter 4, which includes information on both the ACTA negotiations and early US briefs in the Bond litigation, which Peter Spiro has since blogged about.

Second, back in April I posted a list of on-line treaty databases that scholars and practitioners might benefit from using in their work.  Recently, Jim Keeley of the University of Calgary’s Political Science Department called to my attention his work over the last quarter century compiling more than 2000 bilateral civilian nuclear co-operation agreements.  Although full-texts of these agreements are not always available, in many cases his database contains source information that includes the treaty texts.  I understand from Mr. Keeley that his list has been made available in the nuclear non-proliferation and co-operation arenas for some time, but I’m pleased to report that he’s willing to have it available more widely.  So, for those readers interested in treaties in the nuclear non-proliferation and cooperation contexts, check out his database here.

http://opiniojuris.org/2012/07/16/new-international-law-resources-the-2011-us-digest-and-a-nuclear-treaty-database/

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