Skip to Main Content

Finding Books and Articles on International and Foreign Law


There are many ways to find law review and journal articles using the resources available to you at the Law Library and the University Libraries. There are differences between Pegasus and CLIO that must be addressed when it comes to searching for articles.

As mentioned above, Pegasus does not search the actual text of items held by the Law Library. Pegasus will only search the title, author, or subject of the journal. This means that you cannot look for the title or author of an individual article in Pegasus. When using Pegasus, you should be searching for the title of the journal itself. Some journals will only be available in print. Recent unbound issues of journals are kept in the 3rd Floor Reserve area, while bound volumes will be located elsewhere. There are separate item records for the print copies of journals and the electronic journals. When you click on the electronic resource listing for the journal, you will see all of the databases that the Law Library subscribes to that provide access to the journal. Please use the dates provided only as a guideline since there may be more recent issues available than indicated. When you click on the link to the database, you should be taken directly to the journal.
Unlike Pegasus, CLIO searches not only local information in the catalog, but uses the Blacklight search and discovery engine that allows users to find the over 1.6 billion items in the Summon article database. This means that users can search for article titles and authors in CLIO in addition to searching for the actual journals. In CLIO, you can just search without choosing a particular option. If you do this, you will get the search results divided by catalog, GeoData (spatial data collections), Articles, Academic Commons (CU digital repository), and Libraries Website. You can also choose where you would like to search to begin with. For instance, with searching for books, you clicked on catalog first so that you were searching the University catalog. If you want to search for articles, you can click on Articles. The advantage of this is that you will then be able to search by title, author, keyword, and publication title, thus allowing for more targeted searching for a specific item. If you click on a result in Articles, you will be taken to the E-link page to show which database you can find the article in. Some journals that we have in Pegasus may also be available electronically through the University so it can be helpful to look for journals in both catalogs.

Finding Articles on your Topic

Pegasus and CLIO are great to use once you know what articles you are looking for. If you are just starting your project you will need to do research to find articles that will be useful to you. Once you do find an article, you can always use the footnotes in the article to find other articles that may be of interest to you. There are generally two ways that you can search for articles. The first is to use a full text database that has articles within it and search among all the articles by keyword or phrase. The second method is to use a periodical index to find articles based on subject. Whichever method you use, there is no single database that indexes or includes every journal that exists so you may need to search in more than one place in order to conduct a thorough search.

Full Text Searching Databases --WestlawLexis Advance, and Bloomberg Law

These three databases are available to current Columbia Law School students, faculty, and staff. Each database is accessed using an individual username and password. In each database, it is always a good idea to check out the scope notes or information to see what journals are included. Additionally, only a portion of the journal may be included in the database, not the entire run.
In these databases, you can search through particular journals or through all of the journals that are available. Journals are generally listed under secondary sources in all of these databases. You can also search through certain portions of the articles, known as fields or segments, by using the advanced search option once you have narrowed down the type of resource to journals. When you are searching, remember that since it is a full text database, you will receive a result on your search every time your search word or phrase appears in a document. This is true even if a search term or phrase only appears once. The downside of this is that you will get back search results that are not really about what you are looking for, but do use the search term or phrase you entered. To ensure that you only get results that are actually about a topic, you can use term frequency or the “at least” command. Term frequency and the “at least” operator allow you to ensure that the search term or phrase appears in the results a minimum of x times. By using this, you can ensure that your results are actually about what you are searching for rather than just using the search term or phrase only once or twice. If you ever have questions about which Boolean operator or terms and connectors to use in a database, you can generally find the answer by clicking on the help icon or of course always come to the reference desk.

Legal Periodical Indexes

Index to Legal Periodicals and Books (ILP)
There are two versions of this particular index, Index to Legal Periodicals and Books and Index to Legal Periodicals and Books Retrospective 1918-1981. As its name implies, the Retrospective version indexes periodicals from 1918-1981, so for anything after 1981 you would use Index to Legal Periodicals and Books. This index includes over 500 legal periodicals that are published in the U.S. Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. This index is hosted by EBSCO, which provides it with an additional useful feature. If you are searching for articles on a topic that is interdisciplinary and is not just law, you can search through multiple indexes to look for articles. This means that in one search, you could be searching economics journals, business journals, academic journals, etc. In order to do this, you click on the link where it says “Choose Databases” (see Figure 8 circled in red). When you do this, you will then be able to choose which databases you would like to search and then click OK once you have made your selections.
Once you have entered in search terms you can look through the search results. You can filter through the search results on the left-hand side of the screen or read through the results. Each result will show the title of the article, author, journal, citation, subjects, and either a link to the PDF of the article or the e-link option. The e-link will show you where within any of the databases that Columbia University subscribes to you can find the article. Sometimes, there will be no results; which means that the article is not available electronically through Columbia. When this happens, make sure to see if the journal is available in print here at Columbia. If the journal is not available in print here at Columbia, you can always try to get a copy through interlibrary loan (ILL); law students must make all ILL requests in person at the Reference Desk. When you click on a particular result, you should consult the subjects that are provided. These subjects are how the database indexes these topics and provides the most accurate way to find information on a topic. You can click on any of these subjects and you will then run a search based on that subject.
LegalTrac is an expanded online version of the print resource, Current Law Index. More than 1200 major law reviews, legal newspapers, Bar Association journals, specialty publications, and international legal journals are indexed in LegalTrac. Of these, more than 200 titles are available in full text. The database covers federal and state cases, laws and regulations, legal practice and taxation, British Commonwealth, EU, and international law. The indexed content is also available below as the Legal Resource Index although this version does have better subject searching capabilities since the database will provide suggested subjects for the terms you enter.
Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP)
This is a current awareness service for legal research rather than an easily searchable database for articles. Current Index to Legal Periodicals provides subject indexing of over 500 journals. Article citations are organized by subject area in each weekly listing. Each edition is available in HTML, Word, and PDF format. There is no full text linking, but you can identify the articles that you will want to retrieve separately.
Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (IFLP)
A multilingual index to legal articles and book reviews published worldwide. Over 500 legal journals are included in this index. The Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals covers international (public and private), comparative, and foreign law of jurisdictions other than the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia. A list of journals covered can be found at Berkeley's IFLP website. Periodicals are continually being added. Coverage in IFLP includes records from 1984 to date. For records from 1960-1983, you need to click on the print edition tab once you are in the resource on HeinOnline. In addition to the journals that are indexed, IFLP also analyzes the contents of some individually published collections of legal essays, Festschriften, Mélanges, and congress reports every year..
Legal Resource Index (LRI)
Accessible via Westlaw.
This index has coverage of over 700 journals from common law countries going back to 1980. You can search based on terms and phrases, title, author, subject, and citation. This is the electronic companion to the print publication known as Current Law Index, which was published on a monthly basis.
Legal Journals Index (LJI)
This index, available in Westlaw, indexes and provides abstracts for articles published about UK and relevant EU law since 1986.

Indexes to Non-Law Journals, Relevant to Legal Research

Often, articles on legal subjects are published in Non-Law Journals. Additionally, many legal topics also include interdisciplinary topics. The following is a selective list of indexes that will help you find these articles. Other indexes may exist for other subjects. The following databases are available through the Columbia University Libraries. You can search through databases in CLIO to find additional subject indexes.
Provides indexing of local and regional business news coverage of large corporations, privately held companies, local start-ups, executive profiles, marketing, finance, and industry news. Coverage is from 1985 to present.
Academic Search Complete
This is a multidisciplinary full-text database with more than 6100 full text periodicals, including more than 5100 that are peer-reviewed. More than 10,000 journals are indexed as well. PDF content goes back as far as 1887.
Africa-Wide Information
Over 3.5 million citations and abstracts dating back to the 16th century, this database combines bibliographic databases from around the world to cover Africa and African studies.
Business Source Complete
Full text for scholarly business journals and other sources. Coverage goes back to 1922.
Contains citations, abstracts, and full text to economic materials dating back to 1969.
Environment Complete
Coverage of sources in the area of agriculture, ecosystem ecology, energy, natural resources, marine & freshwater science, geography, pollution & waste management, environmental technology, environmental law, public policy, and urban planning among others.
Indexes journals, reports, conference papers, and other materials on education back to 1966.
Provides indexing and full text of journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, books, conference proceedings, and reports on women’s studies and LBGT research.
Humanities full text
Has full text back to 1995 and indexes back to 1984 of scholarly sources in the humanities.
Index Islamicus
Indexes material on Islam, the Middle East, and the Muslim world from periodicals, Festschriften, conference proceedings, books, book reviews, and other materials in European languages, Turkish, Malay and Bahasa Indonesia. More than 2000 journals are included.
Provides abstracts to over 4800 current biomedical journals.
Omnifile full text mega
Provides indexing in all core undergraduate subjects and cross-disciplinary work with full text articles from over 2500 publications dating back to 1994, indexing and abstracts from approximately 3600 publications, and retrospective coverage back to 1982.
PAIS International
Indexes journal articles, books, government documents, statistical compilations, reports, directories, and other items from all over the world. Subjects included are public policy, social policy, social sciences, public affairs, business, government, international relations, banking, environment, health, law and legislation, political science, finance, education, and statistics. Coverage is from 1972 to the present.
Includes citations and full text articles in academic and professional disciplines like business, economics, gender studies, literature, and political science.
Social Sciences full text
Covers more than 350 international English language periodicals in the area of the social sciences. Indexing back to 1983 and full text back to 1995.

Full-Text Journals Online

Some journals can be found online in full-text. Many of the indexes listed above provide full-text access. To see if a journal is available in full-text online, search the library catalogs, Pegasus or CLIO for the title of the journal.

The Columbia Law Library and the Columbia University Libraries subscribe to several good journal collections online. Note that the individual journal titles covered in the following databases are cataloged in Pegasus or CLIO, and most of the articles in these journals are indexed in the indexes listed above. Just because some issues of the journal are available in full text, does not mean that all issues will be available; quite often, some journals will have a temporary embargo on allowing these databases to provide electronic full text access for a period of time following the initial publication of the issue. Following is a list of a few of the journal collection databases, most useful for legal research.

Cambridge Journals Online
China Academic Journals
Oxford Journals
Sage Full-Text Collections

Journals Available in Print

While many journals are available electronically, it is important to note that some are only available in print; this is particularly true for many of the Law Library’s foreign periodicals. Search Pegasus or the other catalogs described in the ‘Books' section for the title of the journal. Make sure that you look to see what the Library’s current holdings are since we do not always have a complete run of journals.