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Another Option for Finding Library Materials by Subject

I have written before in this blog about using the Hollis library catalog to find materials in the law library by subject.

Specifically, I find the Hollis catalog’s hyperlinked Library of Congress (LC) Subject Headings to be a great way to discover what the libraries at Harvard have on a particular topic, especially if I’m looking for materials in multiple languages.

I recently learned more about a subject-based classification system that is used in many German academic libraries, the Regensburger Verbundklassifikation (RVK) system. This system was developed by the library at the University of Regensburg in the 1960s.

As with LC Call Numbers, the RVK system assigns letters to subjects. However, where law books are given a call number that starts with “K” under the LC system, the RVK system uses the letter “P” for call numbers for legal materials.

There is a wonderful RVK directory and search engine that is freely available through the internet: RVK Online. Although it is all in German, it is intuitive enough to use even if you don’t know the language well.

On the homepage of this site, there is a collapseable list of subjects. To view the subtopics under law, you would click the plus-sign next to Rechtswissenschaft (Legal Sciences).

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Next, keep collapsing the list until you find the subject you want.  For example, if you are interested in researching the history of criminal law in the German states, you would click Rechtswissenschaft > Strafrecht, Strafverfahrensrecht, Kriminologie > Allgemeines und Geschichte > Geschichte > Deutsche Länder.

Once you have clicked down to a designated subject, a menu will appear on the right side of the screen. There is a row of blue buttons under the text of the subject you have selected. You can use these buttons to search for materials on this subject in German-language library consortia catalogs. (Suche = Search)

  • BVB – Library consortium of the state of Bavaria
  • GVB – Library consortium of the states of Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Niedersachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thüringen
  • SWB – Library consortium of the state of Baden-Württemberg
  • OVB – Library consortium of Austria

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If, on the above screen, you were to click Suche in SWB, you would see a search results list of 288 items available in the libraries of Badem-Württemberg, listed chronologically, newest first. (Note: I personally find the SWB catalog to be very strong in legal materials.)

The first book in this list is a 2014 conference publication about the work of Feuerbach, a late-17th century German legal scholar whose major work was to reform the Bavarian criminal code.

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If you are interested in the history of criminal law in Bavaria, you will probably want to read this book. Of course, if you are not in Germany, you’re wondering if any U.S. libraries have this book so that you can borrow it.

This is easy enough to find out. Click the record in the SWB catalog, and look for the book’s ISBN number, a 13-digit code that starts with “978.”

Then, use that code to search for the book in the worldwide library catalog WorldCat (http://www.worldcat.org/advancedsearch). There is an option to search WorldCat by ISBN.

If you do this, you will see that several North American libraries (include the HLS Library!) own this book.

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Although there is not a lot that has been written about the RVK system in languages other than German, there are lists of selected subjects (including those under the “P” legal sciences class) translated into both English and Italian. These lists are available at http://www.unibz.it/en/library/about/projects/rvk-translation.html.

The RVK system provides researchers with another option for finding library materials by subject. It might be easier to use this RVK system for certain types of research than to try to search a library catalog by keyword, especially if you are unfamiliar with the language used to discuss the topic in the scholarly literature.

I know that this is a resource that I am very happy to have learned about, and one that I will always use in my searches for German law materials in the future.

 

New Title Spotlight: The Liechtenstein Rules of Arbitration

One of the more recent European jurisdictions to make itself available as an arbitration venue is the Principality of Liechtenstein. In 2010, Liechtenstein amended its Civil Procedure Code (Zivilprozessordnung) to include a number of provisions related to arbitration.

The Liechtenstein Arbitration Association was formed in 2011. Since its formation, this organization has worked to establish Liechtenstein as a desirable forum for resolving disputes through arbitration. One of the means by which the organization’s membership has done this is to create the Liechtenstein Rules of Arbitration.

An English-language commentary on these rules, which includes the text of the rules in both English and French, was recently added to the law library’s collection:

The Liechtenstein Rules of Arbitration (Liechtenstein Rules): A Commentary Including the French Version and Model Clauses
Authors: Felix Dasser and Nicolas W. Reithner
Call Number: KKJ 182.9 .D37 2015
Location: Lewis (ILS) building, first floor

Co-author Felix Dasser is the head of the Ligitation/Arbitration practice team at the Homburger Law Firm in Zürich, Switzerland. He earned his LL.M. from Harvard Law School in 1990.

Welcome LLM Students!

WelcomeIt has been so great to see all of the new LLM students here at the law school during the last week or so! We are very glad you’re here. There is such wonderful energy here on campus during this time of year.

We have seen many LLM students already in our library tours and Hollis/E-Research training classes so far. If you are an LLM student and you have not had a chance to sign up for these yet, visit the Law Library Training Calendar to register – http://libcal.law.harvard.edu/calendar/researchtraining.

Comparative Law Resources in the Law Library

I often post in this blog about recently-acquired English-language comparative law resources in our collection. These types of resources can be a great way to explore the law of jurisdictions for which there are otherwise not a lot of materials in English.

One of our newer books, for example, will be very helpful to researchers who would like to conduct a multi-jurisdictional exploration of patent law:

Patent Enforcement in the U.S., Germany, and Japan
Toshiko Takenaka, et al.
Published in 2015 by Oxford University Press
Law Library, Langdell Building 3rd floor
Call number K 1505 .T35 2015

The lead author is a technology law professor at the University of Washington Law School, where she also completed her LLM and PhD. The book represents her collaboration on this subject with law professors and patent law attorneys in Germany and Japan. Topic covered include infringement, validity challenges, enforcement procedures, and remedies for each of the three jurisdictions.

Library of Congress Subject Heading Authorities in the Hollis Library Catalog

I also wanted to use this post to discuss searching the Hollis library catalog (http://hollis.harvard.edu) using subject keywords. This can be a good method for finding comparative law materials in the law library collection, not only in English but in other languages as well.

The law library’s catalogers use Library of Congress Subject Authority Headings (http://authorities.loc.gov/help/subj-auth.htm) when they catalog our library materials. Because they represent a controlled vocabulary, using LOC Subject Authority Headings in your subject keyword searches will help you find materials on the subject you specify regardless of what language the materials themselves are written in.

For example, you can search Hollis using these subject keywords:

patent laws germany japan

There are seven results for this search, four in English, one in German, and two in Japanese. The Hollis results screen is shown below.

Hollis Catalog Search Results Screen, Search is Subject Keywords: patent laws germany japan

 

In the Hollis record itself, each subject heading authority is hyperlinked. Click a link to find additional materials to which that subject heading authority was specifically assigned.

Hollis record with green box around hyperlinked subject heading authorities.

 

As you are learning how to use Hollis, you may want to experiment with searching by subject. You may find that your searches are more precise, and your search results more relevant, than using general keywords alone.

Please visit http://asklib.law.harvard.edu/ if you need help from a research librarian on searching Hollis or any other aspect of law library research.

German Passports and Identification Documents: A History

In browsing the library’s German stacks recently (“KK” call numbers – 3rd floor of the Lewis/ILS building) I discovered a very cool book: an illustrated history of German passports and identification documents from the middle ages to the present.

Der Passexpedient: Geschichte der Reisepässe und Ausweisdokumente – vom Mittelalter bis zum Personalausweis im Scheckkartenformat
Andreas Reisen
Nomos Verlag, 2012

Andreas Reisen (whose last name, interestingly, is the infinitive form of the German verb “to travel”) must have had a lot of fun researching this book and exploring historical and modern examples of German passports and travel/identification documents.  Some have been scanned and included as illustrations, making the book appealing even to those who don’t read German.

When I mentioned this book to one of my colleagues, she asked, “They had passports in the middle ages?”  Well, in a manner of speaking, yes.  They weren’t little books filled with border guard stamps, however.  Instead, for example, they might have looked like this:

According to the caption, this is an “accompanying letter from Kaiser Carl V for Martin Luther for travelling to Worms” from 1521.  This letter was issued during a crucial period in the course of Luther’s life, as he had recently been excommunicated from the Catholic Church and was called to appear before the Diet of Worms to answer for his criticism of the church.  Ultimately, this journey, as a result of which he was a labeled a “convicted heretic,” was a significant stepping stone toward Luther forming the Lutheran Church.

By the 1800s, statutory requirements for passports in the area we now know as Germany were coming into force.  One example of this is the 1813 Allgemeines Paßregelement of the Royal State of Prussia. According to this law, foreign nationals, “regardless of profession, age, gender and religious belief, regardless if [they] arrive by water or land, or through an official post, or otherwise by wagon, horseback, or on foot, whether [they] would like to remain in our territories or simply pass through them,” must provide personal documentation that states one of several acceptable reasons for admission into Prussia.

(By the way, the publication in which this law originally appeared, Gesetz-Sammlung für die königlichen Preußischen Staaten, is available in print through the Harvard Depository.  Harvard’s print copy has also been digitized and is available through the HathiTrust database.  Click here to see page 47 of the 1813 volume, where this law was originally published.)

Examples of passports from the various governing entities in Germany in the mid-1800s follow a common format, with the person’s biographical information listed in the left-hand column, and the description of the reason the person is travelling on the right.

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Photos, however, did not start appearing in passports until the early 1900s.

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The second half of the book describes and shows the evolution of personal identification and travel documentation in Germany throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.  It concludes by discussing the new personal ID card format that was introduced in 2010.

This is a fascinating historical survey of German passports and identification documents, thoroughly researched and well-illustrated with beautiful scanned images.  It’s well-worth a look, even if you don’t read much German.

“Transliteration” of Foreign Languages in HOLLIS Records

The law library’s print collection includes many non-English books and journals, including materials published in languages that do not use the Roman/Latin alphabet.

The example below shows the HOLLIS+ record of a Russian-language book that was recently added to the collection.  Information in several of the fields, including the title, is shown first in Cyrillic, and then in what is known as “transliterated” or “Romanized” Russian:

HOLLIS+ Record of a Russian Book in the Law Library.

HOLLIS+ Record of a Russian Book in the Law Library.

The law library’s catalogers use the ALA-LC Romanization rules to create the transliterated text. Romanization tables showing these rules, for languages from Amharic to Vai, are available to the public through the Library of Congress’s website: http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/roman.html.

Want to learn more about how Romanization works for non Latin/Roman alphabet-language materials in libraries?  Check out these resources:

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