Author Archives: Marylin Raisch

Wrap Up Your Research While Avoiding “Fake News”

One of thnewse ways to check your sources in our wild and vast information landscape is through noting which sources have garnered professional peer acclaim, whether within the academy or among professionals. Your Georgetown Law Library colleagues, who have created the multidisciplinary research guide A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States (as announced in a previous post), are proud to announce that it is the winner of the 2017 Publications Award, Nonprint Division, of the American Association of Law Libraries, our professional association. Congratulations to the authors: reference librarians Heather Casey, Kristina Alayan, Rachel Jorgensen, and Barbara Monroe.

For even more curated sources that pull together primary sources with deep context in the area of equal justice, check out the category tag for our National Equal Justice Library and across all subjects we have more expert guides crafted by many members of our team.


“A Proper Job” Will be Necessary: Lawyers and Researchers After the EU Exit by Britain (Brexit)

evening [272/366]

While the UK Independence Party leader, Brexit advocate, and Member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage has undiplomatically  asserted that his European Parliamentary colleagues have  “never done a proper job” , there will be a great deal of work to be done by the many British and European bureaucrats recently under scrutiny by the victorious  “Leave” movement. The EUBusiness News Service, an independent but well-established reporting service for EU commercial and legal matters, provides a useful Article 50 Factsheet on what should happen once the UK notifies the EU of its intention to leave (whenever that may be, but from that point negotiations must conclude within a two-year period or depart without negotiated terms). While much is undecided, the text of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is provided succinctly at this site; it begins by stating that “…Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.” The official text of the Lisbon Treaty and news on Brexit are available at the EU’s Europa web site.

Numerous news outlets and blogs will teem with information, but just a couple to follow might include the Global Government Forum, a blog for civil servants across jurisdictions (and featuring Sir Paul Jenkins, former head of the UK Government Legal Service, warning of the massive task ahead to undo 40 years of a constitutional arrangement), and the Global Legal Post, a news summary source that warns of a possible British exit from the European human rights regime and court in Strasbourg as well- one that is NOT part of the EU but of a different European body, the 47-member Council of Europe.

In addition to the resources in a previous post just prior to the vote, you may wish to look at UC Berkeley government documents guide on Brexit; there may be other similar guides to this event as the post-referendum process unfolds.


Game of Thrones with Brexit, Britons and Brussels Bureaucrats: the U.K. Referendum on Leaving the E.U.

illustration greatest nations

This way In? Out? Red Wedding?

There is high anxiety on both sides of the Atlantic about the vote today, June 23, 2016, when British voters get to decide if Britain should leave or remain within the European Union.  There is much at stake and speculation about the possibility of a British Exit. As this particular departure would be an unprecedented event in the history of the E.U., no amount of research into the legal, political, or economic situation of the E.U. and its member states could yield a clear answer as to  the ramifications, and readers of this blog may not even see this post until it is all over.

However, the threat of crisis provides an occasion  to explore resources curated by the law library that may provide some understanding of the issues. Check out what one of our British information providers, Oxford University Press, has created alongside its paid database, Oxford Reports on International Law: part of the Oxford Public International Law collection, it is a Debate Map listing official free resources as well as Oxford journal subscription articles, all on Brexit. There is also a good summary of legal and political facts and questions posted today at the blog of the Law Library of Congress, In Custodia Legis: “Brexit Referendum.”

Irrespective of the voting outcome, interest in how the entire matter developed and what future reforms might result from simply holding such a vote may suggest follow-up research projects. For these, may we suggest using our Georgetown Law research guides for the European Union and the United Kingdom.  For tracking continuing developments, we have a guide that links to our array of world news sources, such as Access World News.

Finally, one of the most disturbing developments of all: a commentator in the journal Foreign Policy points out that the HBO series Game of Thrones is produced with some funds from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund, and in the event the British vote to leave the E.U., the filmmakers may no longer have access to those assisting funds, and this is an expensive production!So in addition to possible economic turmoil and recession, recent shows such as last week’s GoT, filmed partly in Northern Ireland, could be at risk. The latest episode in the real life saga is about to be released.

The United Nations: Another Charter has a Birthday

version of UN logoThe United Nations Charter is 70 years old today, and the UN Dispatch has recommended a  nice piece by Mark Goldberg on Global Dispatches and his tribute to the UN and its founding in the form of a podcast. In that podcast we hear Goldberg’s interview with author Stephen Schlesinger, who has written a book about the early history of the UN and its founding. Fact and anecdotes are analyzed and compared in the podcast, The UN Charter Turns 70,  and it is available on iTunes and Google Play. Did Churchill really get confronted in the bathtub and was the name “United Nations” just dreamed up? Find out bathtubnotreallychurchillsthrough this painless and entertaining way to learn the history. (Hat tip to UN Wire from the United Nations Foundation).

Law of Armed Conflict in the Twittersphere: IHL and Game of Thrones

 Game of Thrones Tweet-a-thon

[CAUTION: mild spoiler alert!!]  Last week, April 8-11, the American Society of International Law (ASIL) held its 109th Annual Meeting here in D.C. at the nearby Hyatt Hotel. If you want to match up your love of the HBO series with your commitment to international humanitarian law (IHL) then you might want to follow @HumanityinWar to see the results of a challenge quiz announced at a terrific panel entitled #int_law@social_media that took place on the morning of Friday, April 10th. The American Red Cross, a branch of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), ran a “Tweet-a-thon” during Sunday night’s season 5 premiere asking ASIL viewers to send tweets assessing violations of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) depicted during the episode, #GoTIHL . (Well, when are they not violating the laws of war?)

To brush up on the Geneva Conventions and its commentary, visit the ICRC website as well to bolster your argument that indeed, the burning at the stake of Mance Rayder (leader of the Wildlings)  while he is a prisoner of war under Stannis Baratheon is a violation of article 13, Geneva Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 12 August 1949, Humane treatment of prisoners. But what about Jon Snow’s merciful arrow from afar, ending Mance’s suffering? Add the video “web casebook” tour linked at ICRC’s website to your media archive and get started on that one.

A Googolplex of Issues for the Googleplex, thanks to the European Court of Justice

On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, the European Court of Justice released to its web site, Curia, the judgmentGoogolplex number on issues of privacy and control of personal data  (including the so-called “right to be forgotten”) in Case C‑131/12, Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v. Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) and Mario Costeja González (request for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU from the Audiencia Nacional, Spain). As legal commentators around the world and via the blogosphere weigh in on the court’s expansive reading of what may be an outdated (but still in force) directive (Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (1995 OJ ( L281) 31), access to the court’s documents makes it possible to compare the judgment with the separate opinion delivered almost a year earlier, in June 2013, by Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen. There, as a Finnish AG writing the original in English, he examines whether or not a search engine is a “controller” of data in the manner that the 1995 directive could have intended at a time before the current state of search engine technology. Except for the cache, he concluded that the current search engine does not really fit under that definition. The Court, however, found the opposite to be true and saw Google’s search engine as in fact such a controller. As experts such as Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Law Librarycontinue the discussion in the coming days and weeks as to the existence, scope,  and nature of data removal rights versus the public’s (and perhaps posterity’s) right to know, Georgetown Law Library’s collection contains a wealth of material in several formats on data, protection, privacy and Europe- keywords to combine as you choose in our catalog. If you don’t mind a googolplex of answers, however, by all means just google it. 

It’s 10 p.m.- Do You Know Where Your Laptop Is?

laptop and studentEveryone should be aware that unfortunately we still have the occasional incident of suspected theft, and there is probably nothing more distressing to students than loss of a laptop- most likely among their most important possessions at the end of the semester. Indeed, such a loss may create real havoc in lives and studies.

Laptops and other portable electronic devices cannot be left alone for one moment! So how can we work together as a community to prevent or minimize such losses, especially at the end of the semester when paper deadlines and looming exams take up mental “bandwidth,” leaving less attention available to monitor possessions? Here are some tips from around the library and around the web:

  1. Register your laptop with the manufacturer and write down the serial number of your machine and keep that somewhere else safe.
  2. Back up data in a second location, such as using your account on the Georgetown Box service available to all students, or you can use another service or a flash drive.
  3. Consider using tracking and location tools. Here are some articles with tips on tracking software and other tips from

Have a safe and secure holiday, and best of luck on exams!


Legal Resources on the Use of Force Against Syria

Using its newly redesigned platform, Oxford Public International Law, the editors at Oxford Online (with specific content created by John Louth) have created an information hub for the Syrian chemical weapons crisis at the site for their collection of databases. The news and blog posts reside alongside their electronic versions of Oxford publications, including interrelated texts linked through their bibliographic tool for cross-referencing cases and sources, the Oxford Law Citator.  The Debate Map linked there outlines issues raised by the use of such weapons in a civil war and draws upon blogs, in-depth news stories, and articles published through OUP journals; while one of the blogs is sponsored in part by OUP (Opinio Juris), there is scholarly opinion from the open web on topics such as humanitarian intervention. the legality of arming rebels, arms control, responsibility to protect, and exploration of possible recent precedents.

The law library subscribes to the Oxford Reports on International Law (annotated and analyzed case law, from both international and national courts) and the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law as well as a wealth of related resources from several other publishers, all available electronically: International Law Reports (major, frequently cited decisions and some arbitral awards dating back to 1902 via Justis Ltd., UK), Recueil des Cours/Collected Courses of the Hague Academy (via Hein Online), and Kluwer’s International Encyclopaedia of Laws (covering various subjects of comparative law; linked in this post is a sample of one module, criminal law). These, and a wealth of additional resources in print, enable researchers to look in-depth at international law implications of events while  the headlines continue to track the story as it unfolds in our national and global politics.

Information News from the EU, and Welcome, Croatia!

The official publications desk of the European Union has released three information items of importance to researchers in European Law. At the end of March, 2013, ” the new EUR-Lex moved from the webgate to the domain. The new address is, open to everyone. An easy access point is the button on the home page of the current EUR-Lex..

In the beginning of May, an important update of the website was brought online. It incorporates feedback gotten so far from testers. The new version includes e.g. easier access to all search features, via a widget on the homepage.

Thanks to a new Council Regulation (No 216/2013 of 7 March 2013), the legal value of the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ) will on the 1st of July 2013 go from the paper to the electronic version. Therefore, the display of the OJ has been adapted. Already today, each electronic OJ is signed by an electronic signature. From the 1st of July, it will be possible to verify this e-signature and the authentic character of the electronic edition of the OJ via Checklex. There will be direct links from EUR-Lex to this application.

In the mean time, EUR-Lex is getting ready to welcome Croatia, joining the EU on the 1st of July 2013. From that date, the website will be available in Croatian.”

Symposium on 1/30: Prof. Paul Ohm on Privacy

Paul OhmThe Georgetown Law Library’s 125th anniversary symposium, Big Data and Big Challenges for Law and Legal Information, will explore a range of topics related to the applications of big data in legal scholarship, practice, and policy.

One of our panelists, Professor Paul Ohm, with academic credentials both in computer science and in law, will provide a fascinating introduction to his interdisciplinary approach to internet privacy issues. Companies soon will be able to collect personal information about us, but without ever receiving that information directly from us. Can and should privacy law respond to this challenge?

To learn more about Professor Ohm’s research and scholarship in this area, see his investigation of inadequate privacy protections revealed in Broken Promises of Privacy: Responding to the Surprising Failure of Anonymization, 57 UCLA Law Review 1701 (2010) and his work on the potential intersection of internet privacy practices with trademark law in a forthcoming article, Branding Privacy, 97 Minnesota Law Review ___ (forthcoming 2013). Visit or look for his posts at the blog Freedom to Tinker. You may watch the symposium live online on Wednesday, January 30.