New Database: Oxford International Organizations

Oxford International Organizations is first database for analyzing and understanding key documents of international organizations. Each document is accompanied by a concise expert commentary. In order to capture the full bearing of international organizations on various substantive areas of international law as well as on the field of international institutional law in particular, the database includes, but is not limited to, resolutions and decisions of organizations, draft normative texts prepared within the framework of organizations, and constituent instruments of organizations. It also contains court decisions relevant for the institutional law of organizations as well as, occasionally, a treaty to which an organization is a party, where this brings light to issues of institutional law. In this resource the term “international organization” is understood as an intergovernmental organization established between states or other international legal actors by a treaty or other instrument possessing at least some permanence of structure, thus excluding NGOs from its scope.

New Exhibition: Hommage à Paul-André Crépeau.

To honour the life and work of the late Professor Paul-André Crépeau (1926-2011) and to commemorate a generous donation of his research archives and private library to McGill University, the Nahum Gelber Law Library opens a new exhibition: Hommage à Paul-André Crépeau.

“Professor Crépeau was one of Canada’s greatest humanists. His penetrating intellect, the depth of his intellectual cultivation, his extraordinary knowledge of Civil Law, his boundless energy, his sound judgement, and his great tact and discretion, all explain why he became a model for several generations of legal scholars and practitioners. Thousands of students cherish life-long memories of their time with Professor Crépeau, as he invited them to immerse themselves in the millennial tradition of the Civil Law as well as its modern and particular expression in Quebec. He remained vibrant with his passion for the law, which he transmitted with so much enthusiasm to his students and colleagues, right to the end of a life devoted to teaching, research, and public service.”

Read the full obituary by former Dean of the Faculty of Law, Daniel Jutras, here:

New Technology in the Law Library

Thanks to the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Library Improvement Fund, the Law Library has just received three media collaboration screens and two charging stations for mobile devices!

The screens offer new opportunities for viewing, processing, and sharing information between students working on the same group project, presentation, or paper. To connect your laptop or mobile device to the screen, you need to follow the instructions (print instruction on the wall or on the screen itself). You can also watch this Youtube video on how to connect your devices to the screens. The screens are located in three group study rooms that McGill Law students may book at the Loans desk.

The charging stations are currently being installed on the ground floor of the law Library.

Law Library Opening Hours, Fall 2017

From September 5th to October 14th, the Law Library is open for study:

  • Monday–Friday 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
  • Saturday & Sunday 10:00 am – 11:00 pm

Please note that our service desk hours have changed. They are now: Monday – Friday 09:00 am – 6:00 pm and no service on weekends. This means that the books borrowed from the Law Library’s course reserve on Friday after 3:00 pm have to be returned only on Monday before 10:00 am.

Remember that a valid McGill ID card is required for access to the Library after service hours. The full opening and service hours for the Fall term are posted at the Law Library’s webpage:

http://www.mcgill.ca/library/branches/law

Building Canada: One Law at a Time. New Exhibition at the Law Library

2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation, when the British North America Act of 1867 created the Dominion of Canada by unifying the colonies of Province of Canada (Upper and Lower Canada that will later become Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. 

Commemorating the jubilee, the Law Library offers to its visitors a new exhibition, Building Canada: One Law at a Time. The blended-media exhibition highlights statutes and other legislative acts and agreements marking important dates and watershed moments in the process of building the country: creation of the Confederation, process of joining the Confederation by provinces and territories, the relationship with Canadian First Nations, the Constitution, and an official adoption of Canadian national symbols.

The material part of the exhibition features primary documents, books, reproductions of archival documents, and memorabilia.

The exhibition expands into a digital realm paying specific attention to the history of First Nations in Canada and showcasing reproductions of archival documents, photographs, testimonies of the survivors of residential schools, and video materials presented on the digital touch table.


The use of touch-table for this Law Library exhibition is a part of the McGill Library Innovation in Service project. The exhibition was curated by Svetlana Kochkina and Sonia Smith.

New HeinOnline Collections

As of now, the library offers McGill community the access to five new HeinOnline collections:

  • Immigration Law & Policy in the U.S., a monumental collection, a compilation of the most important historical documents and legislation related to immigration in the United States as well as current hearings, debates and recent developments in immigration law. This first comprehensive database includes BIA Precedent Decisions, legislative histories, law and policy titles, extradition titles, scholarly articles, an extensive bibliography, and other related works.
  • Animal Studies: Law, Welfare and Rights includes titles from the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Animal Welfare Institute and aims to establish the foundational laws pertaining to animals and follow the evolution of these rights throughout the years. It includes philosophical books dating back to the 1800s, videos, periodicals, brochures, and more.
  • Law in Eastern Europe, a collection of books, published by Brill, of more than 60 titles that showcases the development, enactment, and impact of the rule of law in Eastern Europe.
  • Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law Publications: more than 60 publications from this prestigious school, such as the 22-volume set, A Bibliography on Foreign and Comparative Law. Book and Articles in English by Charles Szladits, along with An Introduction to the Legal System of the United States by E. Allan Farnsworth, among various others.
  • Religion and the Law, hundreds of unique titles and nearly one million pages, including books, periodicals, and bibliographies. This collection provides a research platform for the development, history, organization, and fundamental principles of various world religions. The collection also includes the Christian Legal Society publications, an assortment of Canon Law, and rare historical bibles.

We hope you will find them relevant and useful for your teaching, research, and writing.

 

Do Not Fall into a Trap: Predatory Publishing 101

The expression “predatory academic publishing” may sound as an oxymoron to a person unaware of the phenomenon. However, it is real, it is here, and it is hurting the most innocent and vulnerable members of academia: postdocs, doctoral students, and young pre-tenured faculty.

Dealing with predatory publishers can at the best lead to monetary losses, long-lasting embarrassment because of being fooled, and the forever exclusion of item from the list of publications (If all of this can be called “the best.” As a doctoral candidate myself, I can vividly imagine the frustration of somebody who would publish a book reporting five or six years of research only not to mention it on the CV). At the worst, especially if the unlucky author signs away the moral rights to the work, it can irremediably tarnish an academic reputation, undermine credibility of the research, and affect the decisions of hiring and tenure committees and granting agencies.The reality of the current highly competitive and overcrowded scholarly marketplace is such that this worst-case scenario is getting frighteningly possible, and Mary Bennet’s well-known moralising about female virtue could be easily applied to an academic reputation. Paraphrasing Jane Austen, the loss of reputation in an academic is irretrievable; one false step involves him/her in endless ruin; his/her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful; and he/she cannot be too much guarded in the behaviour towards the undeserving representatives of the publishing industry.

The ink has been flowing for a while with hundreds of pieces already penned on the subject, so why would I need to write another one? What I would like to accomplish with this blog post is to offer some simple and practical advice, some sort of “Predatory Publishing 101,” that should help to instantly weed out most of potentially harmful offers and to provide resources to learn more on the subject. A recent conversation with one of McGill graduate students prompted me to write this post. He /she came to talk to me all elated and excited to share great news. The student got an email from a publisher who offered to publish a book based on a yet unfinished and undefended thesis. To me, acquainted with the practices of predatory academic publishers, this sounded only all too familiar. The ubiquitous name of the publisher confirmed my worst suspicions. It was a well known vanity press, publishing with which would leave a stain on an academic reputation. My immediate advice to the student was to never answer that email, to never publish anything with them, and the most important to always be on guard and seek more information if he/she gets a publishing offer from an unfamiliar source. I felt sorry to break it to the student, but (to say it without a false modesty) this student got lucky. Before subscribing to a publishing deal that could in a long-term harm the academic career, the person benefited from an advice from an information professional who knows what kind of jungle is the modern academic publishing, and where most of its pitfalls and traps are.

To avoid falling into a predatory publishing trap, if you get a publishing/conference presentation offer from an unfamiliar source, get a second opinion, talk to an information professional/librarian, check resources available for you (see below), Google the publisher’s name, and do a search on Twitter to find information about them. If after a bit of research, you can say “yes” to most of the following, you need to be extra careful and seriously consider rejecting or, even better, not replying to the offer:

  1. It is not specified in their email where they got the information about your research: your recent conference presentation, your thesis supervisor, your colleague, etc.
  2. You are not a member of their “scholarly” society and never subscribed to their listserv.
  3. They mention on the website that they may charge their authors some “modest” editing/printing/book production fees.
  4. They do not mention or are vague about peer or editorial review process on their website.
  5. There is information raising suspicions on the web (lawsuits aiming to take them off the lists of vanity/predatory presses, disclaimers that they are not a vanity or predatory publisher/journal, tweets and blog posts from frustrated scholars describing dishonest dealings and swindling of the money).
  6. Their name looks very similar but is not exactly the same as a name of a respectable publishing house, a well-known academic institution, or a reputable journal.
  7. The contract they ask you to sign stipulates that you will relinquish not only the copyright to your work but also the moral rights.

This list is far from being complete, but it should give you a good start. To know more on the subject and to protect yourself from the mistakes with the long-lasting consequences, you can check the following sources:

Good luck with your research and publications!

 

Book Restored in Honour of Professor Margaret Somerville

In honour of Professor Somerville’s work and achievements, the Faculty of Law of McGill University has restored the 1773 edition of An Interesting Appendix to Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. This volume is part of the Rare Book collection of the Nahum Gelber Law Library, and its record will carry in perpetuity a notice in tribute to Professor Somerville on behalf of McGill University.img_0014

An interesting appendix to Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the laws of England. Philadelphia: Printed for the subscribers, by Robert Bell, 1773. This book is a collection of correspondence between William Blackstone, Joseph Priestley, and Philip Furneaux published as a reaction to the fourth volume of his Commentaries on the Laws of England, where Blackstone argued in support the suspension of legal penalties against nonconformists, and that essentially nonconformity remained a crime. The correspondence powerfully reveals and illustrates the philosophical, religious, and ethical tensions in the 18th century England. Priestley criticised Blackstone’s positions in the Commentaries relative to offences against the doctrine of the Established Church, while Furneaux in his letters on his Exposition of the Toleration Act offered powerful statement moral arguments against enforcing religious truths by civil penalties. After this public exchange of opinions, Blackstone made alterations to the subsequent editions of his Commentaries: he rephrased some offending passages, moderated his language in others, and corrected the errors and inaccuracies that had been pointed out by his correspondents.

img_0015Joseph Priestley (1733 – 1804) was English clergyman, political theorist, and physical scientist whose work contributed to advances in liberal political and religious thought and in experimental chemistry. He is best remembered today for his contribution to the chemistry of gases, while during his time day he was known also as a vigorous advocate of unitarianism and of liberal reform of government, education, and theology. Philip Furneaux (1726–1783) was an English independent minister, known for his work on behalf of the rights of nonconformists.

Five Puzzles and Counting

Having attended some presentations at conferences about the stress and mental health of university students, we decided on a new initiative at the Law Library. This fall semester we created a de-stress corner.

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Our first puzzle of 500 pieces was done in a week! We are posting the finished puzzle images on the Law Library FaceBook page, where it has created a lot of interest.

We are already on our fifth puzzle and students are loving it! Some students shared with us their questions and comments:

  • Where do you get this puzzles from?
  • The nice staff at the Gelber Law Library brings these from home or go to a thrift shop to buy these.
  • What do you do with them after these are done? Do you frame these?
  • We don’t frame the puzzles. We put them back in their boxes. We are also sharing the puzzles with an older man in his 80’s that lives in an Old Age Home Residence who loves to do puzzles and exercise his brain.

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Comments:

  • “I’m a puzzle person and it is such a good idea to have this at the Library. This last puzzle is difficult and fun!”
  • I spent an hour doing the sky and I enjoyed it very much!
  • This is becoming a social activity and bringing us to the Library. Thank you for doing this!

Our new puzzle has 1000 pieces. We all enjoyed seeing students working at it, and taking a well-deserved few minutes break from their studies.

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Nuremberg Trials Exhibition Goes Digital

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New digital materials have been added to the Law Library exhibition commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the International Military Tribunal, the most known and the most important of the Nuremberg Trials. The exhibition includes now digital materials presented on an interactive touch-table.

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It features archival footage, photo documents, testimonies of the survivors of concentration camps, reproductions of archival documents, and visual materials illustrating Nazi crimes during the Second World War in Europe and the International Military Tribunal itself. You can browse through scanned documents, watch footage taken at the trials, and search through the collections of documents from the Harvard Law School Nuremberg Trials project, United States Holocaust Museum, and many others.

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The use of touch-table for this Law Library exhibition is a part of the McGill Library Innovation in Service project. The exhibition was curated by Svetlana Kochkina and Sonia Smith.