Starting Points for Foreign, Comparative & International Legal Research

Updated March 31, 2011.

Libraries & Library Departments

The University of Washington offers a wealth of research material to the researcher. In addition to the Gallagher Law Library, several other units of the UW Libraries contain valuable sources.

UW Gallagher Law Library

The Law Library catalog enables the researcher to locate books, documents, periodicals, and other sources available in the Library. On the homepage, you can select from several commercial databases to which the Library subscribes and find other information, such as interlibrary loan and other services.

Because the Law Library is part of the School of Law and not part of the UW Libraries, Law Library materials are not included in the main UW Libraries only catalog.

Librarians in the Reference Office on floor L1, 543-6794, answer reference questions for United States law, international law, and the law of  foreign jurisdictions. The Reference staff will assist with basic legal reference questions regarding China, Japan, and Korea, but will refer patrons to the Library's East Asian Law Department staff for in-depth questions concerning those countries. Users may submit questions via email using the form linked from the Ask Us banner on the top of each webpage.

The staff of the East Asian Law Department handles Chinese, Japanese, and Korean law reference questions. 543-7447, l rrbritt@u. Also available are specialized research guides for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Taiwan legal research.

The staff of the Circulation Department on L1, 543-4086, provide a variety of services with respect to accessing materials. For instance, if a book you need is checked out, you can request the book by talking to a Circulation staff member or via the Law Library catalog. If a book (or journal) you need is not available here in the Law Library or in the UW Libraries, or in the academic libraries in Washington and Oregon states (for more information, see the "Summit" section below), Circulation staff may be able to borrow it for you from other libraries through interlibrary loan. See the Interlibrary Loan webpage for more information about this service.


UW Libraries

The UW Libraries-only catalog includes materials available in the many library departments located throughout campus (e.g., Suzzallo Library, Engineering Library, Fisheries-Oceanography Library, Foster Business Library, and East Asia Library). It does not include the Law Library materials. However, you will find Law Library materials when you search the UW Libraries WorldCat catalog.

Information about the libraries around campus is available (hours, locations, services, websites, etc.). Selected departments include:

  • Government Publications, Suzzallo Library ground floor; 543-1937. Government Publications is a depository for U.S. federal government publications and for Canadian, United Nations, and European Union documents. The collection includes selected documents from a variety of international organizations. Some microfiche documents are here (e.g. EC Official Journal). Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) is a collection of translations of newspaper articles and radio and television broadcasts from foreign countries. The emphasis is on political, socioeconomic, scientific, technical, and environmental information. The set has been superceded by the online World News Connection. The UW Libraries-only catalog includes selected international titles, but many titles must be accessed through internal records/files with staff assistance.
  • Microform and Newspaper Collections, Suzzallo Library ground floor; 543-4164. MicNews maintains a large current international newspaper collection, with an emphasis on Slavic, South and Southeast Asian papers and a selection of European and American papers. Includes indexes and backruns for major newspapers. Many, but not all, of this collection is included in the online UW Libraries-only catalog and/or the e-Newspapers list.
  • Suzzallo Library Reference, Suzzallo Library first floor, 543-0242; email and chat reference. Handles reference questions concerning: anthropology, cinema studies, classics, communications, economics, education, English language and literature, ethnic studies, geography, Germanics, history, linguistics, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, Romance languages and literatures, sociology and women's studies. Includes links to research databases in the humanities and social sciences.



Summit is an online catalog that combines information from more than 30 academic libraries in Washington and Oregon. When you search UW Law WorldCat, you will see material owned by these libraries. UW students, faculty, and staff can borrow materials directly from these libraries for delivery to the UW Law Library. Four other law school libraries are Summit members. More About Summit



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