Collection Development Policy

As revised, September 2007 and approved by the Library & Technology Committee, November 9, 2007; collection levels revised May 2009

Download 05/2009 PDF

I. Overview

The Duke University School of Law Library is part of Duke Law School Information Services (DLSIS), which also includes the Law School Educational Technologies and Computing Services departments. The overall mission of DLSIS is:

To provide an innovative and comprehensive information environment for study and scholarship to prepare Duke Law students for responsible and productive lives in the legal profession and to support the Law School's national and international leadership in improving the law and legal institutions through teaching, research, and public service.

In support of the DLSIS mission, the law library's primary collection development goal is to provide access to rich collections of electronic and print resources for legal research and scholarship.1 To achieve this goal, the law library relies increasingly on electronic sources of legal information while continuing to develop and maintain in house collections of print and other resources to support research and scholarship at the law school and university.

Duke University is distinguished by interdisciplinary approaches to scholarship and learning, with many formal and informal bridges between departments and schools. Because nearly any field of study can have a legal component, the law school is an active participant in Duke's interdisciplinary programs and initiatives. As a result, the law library serves not only as a library for the law faculty and students, but as a law library for the entire Duke community. Our collections provide access to a broad range of resources on law and on law's intersections with other disciplines. Internationalization is also an area of emphasis for Duke University and the law school. Because nearly every area of legal study is enhanced by consideration of comparative or international perspectives, the law library maintains strong foreign and international law collections to support research in these areas.

In addition to developing its own electronic and print collections, the law library actively participates in campus, regional, and national programs for cooperative collection sharing and development, including the Triangle Research Libraries Network, the Consortium of Southeastern Law Libraries, and the New England Law Library Consortium. Campus-wide access to legal literature, increasingly via reliance on electronic databases, is provided through cooperative programs of the Duke University Libraries.

Legal information is published in a variety of electronic formats, as well as print and microform. Increasingly, the law library relies on electronic resources in order to provide broader access to information, and enhanced searching and retrieval capabilities. To provide the greatest flexibility in use and ensure permanent and reliable access to core resources, the library collects some materials in multiple formats. Choice of format is guided by considerations of the nature of the resource, usability, long-term access, the benefits of ownership versus licensing, as well as cost.

Electronic materials and titles in multiple formats pose new challenges for researchers both in identifying sources of information and accessing them. The library strives to facilitate value-added access to electronic materials selected for the collection through the online catalog and its open URL link resolver and database management components, through web pages, and through Blackboard course sites.

In addition to these general considerations, specific criteria for choice of format vary depending on the type of material, its attributes and patterns of use. These are noted in the appropriate sections that follow.

II. Collections

A. Primary Sources of Law

1. United States

Primary sources of law are authoritative statements of legal rules.2 In the United States, the primary sources of law for both federal and state jurisdictions are issued by governmental bodies with the authority to make law: legislatures, courts, and executive agencies. The sources include constitutions, legislation, court opinions, court rules, and administrative rules and decisions. Because they too are issued by governmental bodies, related materials, such as attorney general opinions and legislative history materials, are also included in this category for collection purposes.

Because these sources are fundamental to legal research and scholarship, and are heavily used by faculty, students and other researchers, the law library holds a comprehensive collection of primary source materials for U.S. law in multiple formats. The library strives to collect and maintain nearly all official primary sources of law for federal and state jurisdictions, as well as selected commercial versions of these materials to enhance access and usability. Print and electronic indexes and other finding tools provide access to these primary sources and related materials. In part, the law library achieves its collection goals for federal primary source materials through its participation in the Federal Library Depository Program. U.S. primary sources are available in a variety of electronic formats, including commercial databases, and government web sites. Currently, nearly all official sources for primary materials are print versions, and methods for ensuring trustworthiness of electronic documents are not well developed.3 Therefore, print resources continue to be collected as official and trustworthy documents for reliable permanent access. As practices and preferences change, the policy is re-evaluated. Other selection preferences for print include the use of the resource for instructional purposes, print's usefulness for some research tasks (primarily statutory research), and instances when a text is lengthy and reliance on other formats would require frequent and extensive printing.

Microforms are selected in limited circumstances when they provide significant space savings, are the only form of publication, or provide a backup to print holdings for titles of highest importance. Digital collections with page images are increasingly available for US primary sources and are chosen in preference to microfiche when they meet that and other criteria.

2. Foreign Jurisdictions

As in the United States, the primary sources of law in foreign jurisdictions include court reports, constitutions, statutes and regulations emanating from courts, legislatures and other official bodies. Only works in the vernacular are considered to be primary sources. The relative authority of the sources varies by country and by the type of legal system in place. In civil law countries, for example, court reports, although important, have traditionally been considered to be non-binding.

The law library's collection development philosophy for foreign primary materials is to develop a focused collection which builds on our historic strengths (e.g., the U.K. and other common law jurisdictions), is representative of major civil law and common law jurisdictions throughout the world, reflects the research interests of Duke Law faculty and students, and supports the curriculum.

To meet these goals, the library collects and maintains current and retrospective foreign law materials with the intensity of collecting guided by collection levels assigned to each country. Definitions describe the primary and secondary sources included for each collection level. Language and difficulty in obtaining materials for some jurisdictions also affects the collection level.

See Collecting Levels for Foreign Jurisdictions (Appendix B)

3. Public International Law

Public international law is the law governing the relationships between national governments and intergovernmental organizations.4 The sources of public international law include treaties, customary law (actions of states and intergovernmental institutions as evidence of general practice accepted as law), general principles of domestic law (e.g. res judicata); jurisprudence of both national courts and international tribunals, and the teachings of eminent international law scholars.5 Primary source materials include treaties, and documents emanating from the legislative and adjudicatory organs of international governmental associations, including both legal acts (decisions, resolutions, directives, etc.), and decisions of international tribunals. The law library collects international primary materials in order to advance the internationalization goals of the university and the law school, and to support the research interests of Duke Law School faculty and students, and the curriculum. Access to current and retrospective materials is provided with the intensity of collecting guided by the collecting level for the organization and type of material.

See Collecting Levels for International Law (Appendix C)

B. Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are materials about the law, used to explain, interpret, develop, or locate and update primary sources.6 A broad variety of books and treatises, journals, encyclopedias, reference materials, and finding tools are included in this category. The library collects and provides access to secondary sources on legal subjects for the United States and foreign jurisdictions, as well on topics of comparative and international law. The intensity of collecting for specific subjects is guided by law faculty research interests, major areas of specialization within the law school curriculum and programs, and legal aspects of interdisciplinary research and initiatives across the University.

The focus of the Duke Law Library collections of secondary sources is on scholarly materials in support of the research and curricular needs of the law school. The library collects only selected practice-oriented materials to support the training of students in clinical programs and skills courses, and to maintain a collection of materials applicable to the practice of law in North Carolina. Materials aimed at student readers are collected if they focus on substantive discussion of course topics, or serve as introductory treatises.

Materials on the law written for non-professional audiences, including the Duke community and members of the general public, are also collected selectively, emphasizing materials on the U.S. Supreme Court, overviews of American legal issues and noteworthy cases, and self-help books for the non-business community. Basic form books, and standard legal research tools, such as encyclopedias, are provided for use by researchers at all levels. Electronic access to resources is provided on site for the general public unless prohibited by licensing agreements.

See Appendices for specific collecting intensities.
Collecting Levels for Secondary Sources (Appendix A)
Collecting Levels for Foreign Jurisdictions (Appendix B)
Collecting Levels for International Law (Appendix C)

1. Treatises and other Books

Legal treatises are traditionally defined as expositions on particular subjects of the law, published in book form.7 Treatises and other books and monographs in law are often written for a particular audience including scholars, practitioners, law students, and laypersons. They vary in publication format and updating patterns.

a. Monographs
Scholarly monographs are written on relatively narrow topics, and are rarely updated. They are often published by university presses and are similar to scholarly works in other disciplines.8 Monographs are published predominantly in print, often in short runs, and are often difficult to obtain after they are first published.

The library selects broadly and deeply in monographs from scholarly and authoritative publishers in accordance with subject level intensities. Both law and law-related titles reflecting law's intersections with other disciplines are collected. Titles that duplicate holdings of other Duke libraries may be selected in areas of strong interdisciplinary interest

Individual monographs are not actively collected in electronic format because of the limited range of law-related titles available, users' resistance to reading lengthy material on computer screens, and the consequent need for extensive printing. However, digital collections of historical treatises are actively licensed since they are often otherwise unavailable in print. Many treatises are also accessible through commercial databases. In addition, the law community has access to a wide range of e-books through the Duke University Libraries subscriptions.

Individual title access to monographs included in digital collections is provided through the catalog. Titles in commercial databases such as LexisNexis and Westlaw or others with law only access are not treated in this way given the campus wide coverage of the catalog, and because they are more frequently identified by users directly through these databases.

b. Multi-volume, supplemented treatises and loose-leaf services
Legal treatises designed for regular supplementation serve several audiences. Some are core works on broad topics used by scholars, practitioners and students. Others, particularly those that are heavily supplemented, are intended for use by practicing attorneys. Titles in this category are selected when they provide the main resources in an area, or are useful to introduce students to resources used in the practice of law, or when the title is expected to be used mainly as an entire work. Print editions are preferred for permanence and ease of use for topics at higher collecting levels, even if they duplicate titles available in databases.

The term "loose-leaf service" is specialized type of secondary source, usually published in multiple volumes, containing a mix of news, commentary, case reporting, and administrative materials kept up to date on a regular and frequent basis. They are increasingly published in electronic format. The library relies almost exclusively on electronic access to these materials, but continues to maintain print format for some subjects.

c. State treatise and practice materials
Other than for North Carolina, secondary source materials from U.S. states are generally not purchased except for the highest level subject areas, faculty interest, or when the topic is specific to the jurisdiction, such as Delaware for corporation law. However, all treatises on North Carolina law from reputable publishers are acquired, including legal practice titles. Books published by the American Bar Association and included in their package plan, along with a very limited selection of CLE materials are also acquired in order to provide a basic collection of materials on practice topics and the legal profession.

d. Student texts
Student texts provide introductory overview treatments of a topic, without detailed analysis or extensive case references.9 The library collects student texts that emphasize substantive discussion of topics covered in the law school curriculum, usually subscribing to publisher series of approved texts. Books on how to take exams and introductions to the law school experience are also collected selectively. Duplicate copies of current editions are provided based on level of use, with one copy of superseded titles retained. Commercial course outlines and materials written exclusively to assist students in preparing for course or bar examinations are generally not collected unless recommend by faculty.

e. Casebooks
Casebooks are usually added only when authored or edited by law school faculty members, received as gifts, or recommended as important general texts on a topic. Casebooks or other required texts for law school courses are generally not purchased because of their limited research value and the difficulties of meeting student demand for assigned texts with one or two copies.

2. Periodicals

Legal periodicals are of several types, published for both general and specialized audiences. The most prominent form is the law review, the primary outlet for legal scholarship and commentary, which in the US is published at law schools. Legal journals from commercial publishers usually focus on current issues of interest to practicing lawyers or specialized audiences. Selection of journals usually involves a long term commitment to purchase, binding and storage. Other forms of periodicals are used for current awareness and recent developments and have less permanent value to the collection.

As the primary source of legal scholarship and commentary, the law review collection has especially high value for both current reading and historical research. The library provides multiple formats and access methods for a broad range of law and law-related journals. Print supports routing to faculty and is the basis for the permanent historical collection. Electronic access supports broad access for both remote and campus-wide use, and is increasingly the choice of researchers for its ease of retrieval and copying.

Online access is always acquired for print subscriptions when available and cost is reasonable. Page image sources are given highest collecting priority to support page citation to the final published version. Access through journal aggregators is rarely relied on as the only or primary source for journals because of concerns about long-term reliable access and incomplete coverage. Electronic-only access is preferred for materials that contain primarily current information with less permanent value, or infrequently used sources.

Access to e-journals is provided in the same manner as print resources via the online catalog, as well as through campus open URL link resolver services. The law library coordinates with other campus libraries to monitor duplication, purchase digital archive access, and explore the most advantageous pricing models for electronic offerings.

a. Law journals
The library subscribes to one copy of nearly all scholarly journals indexed in Current Law Index and the Index to Legal Periodicals and Books. Scholarly journals from organizations, societies, and commercial publishers are collected more selectively than those published at law schools, based on subject collecting levels and the journal's importance to the area of law covered.

The need for multiple print copies has decreased due to increasing reliance on electronic sources. Duplicate print copies are purchased for a small number of frequently cited journals if needed for faculty routing (but not retained and bound), and for law reviews published at North Carolina law schools in order to ensure their availability to all audiences.

b. Journals from other disciplines
Electronic access to a wide range of journal literature and improved intra-campus document delivery for print titles have greatly reduced the need for subscriptions to journals held elsewhere on campus. The library subscribes selectively in print to a few titles held at other campus libraries based on faculty interest, routing and curricular needs but these are not usually bound and retained. In some cases, the law library is the only library on campus with print holdings in disciplines related to law.

c. Bar association materials
The library's periodical holdings include a range of bar association and other professional materials in a mix of formats. All journals and newsletter publications of the ABA and state bar journals are received in print. State bar journals are retained in microfiche. Journals from prominent international and foreign bar organizations are also collected.

d. Newsletters
Newsletters contain content such as case summaries, short items on issues of current interest, and announcements, much of which is of little interest for scholarly or historical research; they are generally not included in standard legal periodical indexes. Electronic access is preferred for newsletters of all types. Print subscriptions are acquired only if routed to interested faculty and copies are retained only for a limited time.

e. Leisure Reading
The library maintains a collection of recently published popular and news magazines, national legal newspapers, and national and local newspapers for current reading only. Suggestions for titles are regularly solicited from students for this collection. For historical research in newspapers and magazines of general interest, the library relies on campus collections of databases and microform sources. Databases are also relied on for legal newspapers.

C. Special Collections

1. Riddick Collections

Dr. Floyd M. Riddick, Parliamentarian Emeritus of the United States Senate and a Duke alumnus, and Marguerite F. Riddick were primary benefactors of the law library. In addition to their support for construction and furnishing of the Rare Books and Special Collections Room, the Riddicks established an endowment to support the library's collections in the areas of legislative and parliamentary procedure, and American government.

Dr. Riddick also donated major portions of his own library to Duke. These materials are organized in four groups: the Senatorial Collection (books written and autographed by U.S. Senators and other politicians), the Parliamentary Collection (materials on parliamentary procedure), the Congressional Collection (U.S. Senate materials), and selections from his personal library.

2. Rare Books

There are approximately 1,600 volumes in the Duke Law Library rare book collection, which is housed in the Marguerite F. and Floyd M. Riddick Rare Book and Special Collections Room. Rare books have been defined as books having value aside from, or in addition to, the intellectual content of the text for example, works that are old, unique or which contain interesting inscriptions. The collection consists primarily of English books published before 1800, American serials published before 1820 and American monographs published before 1870, with a focus on early North Carolina law books. Most of the works in this collection were gathered from review of the library's general collections for materials published during these time periods and meeting the criteria as a rare book. A project is now in progress to evaluate the strengths of the current collection and potential areas of interest for further development.

3. Christie Collection in Jurisprudence

This collection, established in 1973, is named in honor of Professor George C. Christie, James B. Duke Professor of Law and consists of treatises on jurisprudence and legal philosophy. The collection is intended to promote the scholarly study of legal philosophy. Monographs on jurisprudence and legal philosophy are collected at a comprehensive level.

4. Cox Legal Fiction Collection

In 1987, Brainerd Currie Professor of Law James D. Cox donated funds he received as recipient of the Duke Bar Association Distinguished Teaching Award to purchase novels and other fiction involving lawyers or legal themes. Professor Cox has continued to contribute funds annually for this collection. The collection is designed to highlight law in popular culture and "in the hope that a fiction collection with some connection to the law may well spark students and others to enjoy a pleasant diversion while rationalizing it as field work." The library also selects popular films with lawyers as characters or law related themes in DVD format for this collection.

5. Duke Law School Publications

a. Faculty Collection
All non-journal article publications of the Duke Law governing faculty published during their appointment in the Law School (other than journal articles) are acquired and maintained in a separate Faculty Collection. When a faculty-authored item is acquired for the general collection, a second copy is purchased for the Faculty Collection. The collection includes titles authored or edited by faculty members, and books with contributions by the faculty (excepting short contributions to multi-volume encyclopedias).

b. Faculty Scholarship Repository
The library developed and maintains the Faculty Scholarship Repository, using an open access (OAI-compliant) archive of the texts of most article-length publications by faculty members. The repository also includes SJD theses, and contributions from the Duke Law Student Paper Series. Publications in individual bibliographies of Duke Law faculty members are linked to the articles in the repository.

c. Law School events
Events sponsored by the Law School, including conferences, panel discussions, special lectures and other events sponsored by or held at the Law School have been regularly recorded since 1999 and webcast since 2002. The library catalogs the recordings of these events, enhancing access with subject and speaker information, and is responsible for permanently archiving digital versions in the university's off-site storage facility. A project is currently underway to digitize earlier VHS-formatted material so that it can be more effectively preserved and accessed.

d. Law school history
The Duke University Archives is the official repository for records of Duke University, including the law school. To provide local access, the law library collects and maintains copies of many of the publications and historical documents of the law school and library, and preserves them as part of our collection. This material includes bulletins, yearbooks, prior exams, memorabilia and miscellaneous historical documents and reports. A web based timeline on the history of the Law School will be made publicly accessible in fall 2007 and will be enhanced with additional materials from this collection.

6. North Carolina Materials

Legal materials from North Carolina are collected in order to support the curriculum and the needs of the Law School's clinics, the local bar, and the community in researching N.C. law; and to participate with other law libraries in the state in preserving legal materials for North Carolina. Secondary sources, including practice oriented materials, are collected more broadly than for other states or topics. Duplicate copies of print materials for primary sources, and print citators are also held. The library maintains a strong historical collection of all North Carolina materials.

All treatises on North Carolina law from established publishers are acquired, including legal practice titles. Standing orders for continuing legal education materials from the state bar and non-commercial sponsors, annual reports from state bar committees, and selected reports of government agencies are collected. Duplicate copies in print of the law journals published at all North Carolina law schools are collected and retained.

7. Pamphlet and Miscellaneous Documents Collections

The pamphlet collection is an historical collection consisting of legal and non legal Anglo American pamphlets dating from approximately 1765 through 1968. The pamphlets are assembled and bound by size, without regard to subject matter, and numbered in a single series. Each pamphlet is fully cataloged. A similarly organized collection of miscellaneous government documents related to law, or considered of high interest at the time of publication, covers the period from approximately 1880 through 1975.

III. Format Policies

A. Licensed Databases and Digital Archives

The library subscribes to a range of over 30 legal databases for both general use, and for specific subjects or countries. Highest priority in database selection is given to image-based content, resources that enhance the print collections, and those that greatly improve search capabilities and access. Campus-wide access is negotiated whenever possible, and where the nature of the content suggests broad interest. In addition, the Law School community has access to over 400 databases made available through the Duke University Libraries.

B. Microforms

Microforms are unpopular with researchers and are often difficult and inconvenient to explore and print. Microforms do have advantages in space savings, preservation and at times cost. The library collects materials in microform very selectively for infrequently used materials, mainly as a duplicate format and to provide permanent access in economical space for materials such as, records and briefs, legal newspapers, selected U.S. government and congressional documents, and international organization documents. About 30 percent of the library's overall volume count is in microform volume equivalents. Many of the materials previously collected in this format are now available in digital collections. The library actively investigates replacing or duplicating microfiche holdings with digital products as they become available.


Materials in CD-ROM are not selected unless exceptional circumstances exist. Exceptions are: North Carolina primary materials that are received free from the publisher and allow electronic search and discovery otherwise not available to some patrons; titles received in the depository selection; and titles containing content only available in this format. CD-ROMs that accompany, supplement, or duplicate print material are kept with the material.

D. Audio and Video

Externally-produced audio and video materials are collected primarily to support teaching and enhance course-related resources. Because of licensing issues and the challenges audio and video pose for use and preservation over long time periods, these materials are acquired very selectively, usually only when requested by faculty for use in courses, or if they contain documentary type content that is of long term value.
See also II.C.4. Cox Legal Fiction Collection and II.C.5.c. Law School events.

E. Free Internet Resources

Web distribution plays an increasingly important role in providing legal information from local, national and international governments and organizations. Freely available sources may also continue or duplicate titles held in other formats. Web search engines and other web related finding tools remain the primary method for identifying law related resources freely available on the web. Catalog links are provided for web resources that meet the library's general criteria for selecting resources, make significant additions to the collection or aid researchers in identifying the resource, and if it appears that the web site is reliable for future use. The library also adds value by making relevant topical materials prominent through web pages and special research guides.

IV. Collection Organization and Maintenance

A. Reference Collection

This collection gathers sources for quick consultation for both law and non-law topics, guidance for further research, and gathering current, general information. It includes standard reference sources such as encyclopedias, U.S. and foreign legal and general dictionaries, directories, citation guides, style manuals and statistical sources, state legal research guides, indexes to legal periodical literature, general sources on significant topics or cases in American law, U.S. Supreme Court data, biographical sources, finding tools for government documents, and standard reference sources for other disciplines. The collection also contains basic legal self help tools to provide lay users with general information about common legal matters. The collection is reviewed and updated regularly.

B. Reserves

A small collection of permanent and course reserves is located in the circulation area. Permanent reserves include materials used in a manner that requires limited circulation due to high demand or use in connection with courses, as well as introductory texts so that they are easy to identify. It includes student texts, such as hornbooks and nutshells, basic treatises for first year courses, legal research and writing materials, and a selection of titles about attending law school and taking exams. Books and single copies of other materials may be placed on reserve for a particular course at the request of the instructor. The library does not maintain electronic reserves. The University and the Law School encourage faculty to post course-related materials through the Blackboard course management software.

C. Library Service Center

The law library uses the University's Library Service Center (LSC) for off-site housing of low-use materials that can be easily identified for retrieval (e.g. state session laws, official state reporters, second copies of other reporters). Twice daily delivery of materials from the facility provides excellent access to this material as well as appropriate conditions for preservation.

V. Gift Policy

Donors contribute to strengthening the collections and fulfilling the mission of the law library through their financial support and gifts of books, and other library materials. Generally, books about legal and law related subjects are accepted that fit within the scope of the collections. Duplicate copies are evaluated on a case-by case basis. Donors are advised that acceptance is conditional. The law library reserves the right to retain or dispose of the gift materials as it deems appropriate.

A list of gifts in kind is provided annually to any faculty member requesting one. A letter acknowledging the receipt of materials is sent to non-faculty donors and items are book-plated with the donor's name. Under tax law, the library is not permitted to assess value or make appraisals for donated materials.

Appendix A - Collecting Levels for Secondary Sources

The level definitions used here are adapted from the Association of Research Libraries and Research Libraries Group and have been refined for the Duke Law Library's collections.

[1] BASIC: A collection of up-to-date general materials that serve to introduce and define a subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. In addition to important treatises and introductory books, it may include access to appropriate bibliographic data bases, historical surveys, bibliographies, and a few widely used periodicals on the subject. A collection at this level supports general research and brief examination of a topic.

[2] BASIC ACADEMIC SUPPORT: A broader selection of materials for a subject is provided on a wider range of topics with more depth. This collection would include a greater variety of material such as explanatory and reference works, analytical works, a range of periodicals and historical descriptions. Subjects are often included in this category due to a strong legal component in an interdisciplinary area, a developing academic interest in the area, or special library funding supporting the area above a basic level.

[3] INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT: A collection that is adequate to support law school and graduate instruction, or sustained independent study and generalized examination of a topic. An instructional legal collection includes most primary sources, a significant number of monographs, selected treatises that are regularly updated, retrospective and historical works, a selection of specialized journals, access to appropriate non-bibliographic databases, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject. This level may include some practitioners' materials and authoritative multi-jurisdictional titles.

[4] RESEARCH: A collection that includes the major sources in a defined area necessary to do extensive research including materials required for dissertations and independent research. A research level legal collection includes materials that allow for extensive research, seminar level research and writing, and most faculty research needs. It also supports journal publication and editing. It includes an extensive range and more specialized secondary sources, nearly all monographs in the area, and a range of specialized databases. This level includes representative practitioners' titles, and materials for most jurisdictions. Pertinent foreign language materials are included. Older material is retained for historical research.

[5] COMPREHENSIVE: A collection that includes, so far as is reasonably possible, all significant works for a defined field, including extensive historical collections. While this level of collection intensity does not rise to that of a "special collection," the aim is to anticipate and serve research needs of faculty and any academic researcher. Some exclusions and omissions will occur, but these will be limited. Such a collection includes all significant current and historical secondary legal materials, and may include manuscripts, and material on related non-legal aspects. Subjects at this level may result from maintaining historical collection strengths, matching the strengths of the law school curriculum and programs, or supporting special interests of the community.

Admiralty/Maritime Law (see also Law of the Sea) 1
Air & Space Law (includes Aviation law) 4
Alternative Dispute Resolution 4
Animal Law 3
Antitrust (see also Trade Regulation) 4
Appellate Practice (see also Trial Practice) 3
Art Law and Cultural Property 3
Banking Law 3
Bankruptcy 3
Business Associations (includes Corporations, Partnerships, etc.) 4
Children & the Law (includes children's rights, child abuse, neglect. See also Family Law) 3
Civil Procedure 4
Civil Rights (includes rights vs. the government section. 1983 litigation, voting rights, discrimination) 4
Commercial Law (
includes UCC; Franchise Law 2)
Comparative Law 4
Conflict of Laws 4
Computer law (includes areas of contracts, privacy, criminal law) 2
Constitutional Law 5
Construction Law 1
Contracts 4
Courts (includes U.S. Supreme Court) 4
Criminal Justice 2 (includes Juvenile Justice, Prisons & Prisoners, criminology) Focus is on legal and theoretical aspects 2
Criminal Law & Procedure 4
Cyberspace Law 4
Death Penalty 4
Education & the Law 3
Entertainment Law 3
Environmental Law 4
Evidence 4
Family Law (includes Domestic relations) 4
Foreign Relations 1
Government Contracts 1
Gender & Law (includes Women and the law) 4
Health Care Law 3
Human Rights -legal aspects 3
Immigration Law 2
Indigenous Peoples 3
Insurance Law 1
Intellectual Property 5
International Business Transactions 4
Jurisprudence Synonyms: philosophy of law, legal theory 5
Labor and Employment Law (but Pension Law/ERISA 1) 4
Land Use Law 3
Law & Economics 4
Law & Literature (see also Legal Fiction) 2
Law & Medicine (see also Health Care Law) 3
Law & Religion
includes Jewish, Islamic, Cannon law
Law Librarianship 5
Law of the Sea (see also Admiralty/Maritime Law) 4
Legal Biographies

Legal Education 4
Legal Fiction 2
Legal History (includes Roman, Greek law) 4
Legal Profession 4
Legal Research & Writing 5
Legislation 3
Military Law 3
Natural Resources Law (includes Energy Law, Oil & Gas, Nuclear Energy) 2
North Carolina Law 5
Politics & Government 2
Poverty Law 3
Privacy Law (includes areas of torts, cyberspace law,
consumer protection)
Professional Responsibility 4
Property 4
Race & the Law 4
Science, Technology and the Law ( includes biotechnology) 3
Securities 4
Sports & the Law 3
Taxation 4
Telecommunications Law 3
Torts (Includes Remedies) 4
Trade Regulation (see also Antitrust, International Trade Regulation
but Consumer protection 2 )
Trial Practice 3
Trusts & Estates 3
Worker's compensation 1

Appendix B - Collecting Levels for Foreign Jurisdictions

The levels for foreign jurisdictions have the same definitions as those in Collecting Levels for Secondary Sources modified to more accurately describe primary and secondary foreign legal materials. The collecting levels apply here to the jurisdiction, rather than to a subject.

Only works in the vernacular are considered to be primary sources. In common law jurisdictions, the primary sources of law are statutes and cases. In civil law countries, codes are primary (i.e. binding) sources of law. Traditionally, court reports, although important, are considered to be non-binding. Journals and treatises are considered secondary sources in all jurisdictions. See, e.g., Alan Watson, The Making of the Civil Law 168-178 (1981).

[1] BASIC:
Primary Materials: The Library does not collect codes or court reports.
Secondary Materials: The Library collects English-language secondary works only. The Library collects general works on the legal system and on major subject areas (e.g., constitutional law) in English.

Primary Materials: The Library collects selected codes or collections of statutes based on subject. The Library collects court reports from the highest court in common law jurisdictions.
Secondary Materials: The Library does not collect any court reports for civil law jurisdictions. The Library collects selected English translations of codes based on subject, general works on the legal system, and works on major subject areas, such as contracts, business law, etc. Secondary works in both English and major European languages are collected.

Primary Materials: The Library collects major codes or collections of statutes based on subject and court reports from the highest court, and selected reports from lower courts in common law jurisdictions.
Secondary Materials: The Library collects selected court reports from civil law jurisdictions, and translations of codes and court reports. The Library collects works on the legal system and on selected subjects. The Library does not select practitioners' materials, unless essential to a subject area, and collects expensive monographs and serials selectively. The Library collects secondary works in English and the vernacular.

Primary Materials: The Library collects most codes or collections of statutes for both civil law and common law jurisdictions, and collects most court reports in common law countries.
Secondary Materials: The Library collects most court reports in civil law countries, English translations of codes and court reports, works on the legal system and on wide variety of specialized subjects. The Library selects only the most important treatises or other materials requiring frequent supplementation, and collects expensive monographs and serials selectively. The Library does not select practitioners' materials unless essential to a subject area. The Library collects secondary works in English and the vernacular.

Primary Materials: The Library collects all codes or collections of statutes, and reports from all courts in common law jurisdictions.
Secondary Materials: The Library collects reports from all courts in civil law jurisdictions, translations of codes and court reports into English, works in English on all aspects of the legal system, and works in major languages on important aspects of the legal system.


Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zaire, Zimbabwe 1
Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda 2
Kenya, South Africa 3
Asia and Oceania  
Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Yemen 1
Israel, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore 2
China, Hong Kong, India, Japan 3
Australia, New Zealand 4
Caribbean - All countries 1
Central America - All countries 1
Albania, Andorra, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Comm. Independent States, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Turkey, Vatican City 1
Belgium, Croatia, Netherlands, Switzerland, Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) 2
Italy, Russia, Spain 3
France, Germany, Ireland, Scotland 4
United Kingdom 5
North and South America  
Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Uruguay 1
Brazil, Peru, Venezuela 2
Argentina, Chile 3
Mexico 4
Canada 5

Appendix C - Collecting Levels for International Law

The levels for international governmental organizations (or IGOs) have the same definitions as those in Collecting Levels for Secondary Sources modified to describe primary and secondary legal materials more accurately. The collecting levels here apply to the organization, rather than to a subject.

Types of primary legal materials from IGOs include treaties, charters, legal acts (e.g. decisions, resolutions, directives, etc.), decisions of tribunals, etc. Many IGOs also publish secondary materials such as yearbooks and annual reports, technical reports, monographs, periodicals, and press releases.

The law library does not systematically collect materials from IGOs that do not publish legal materials; however, materials from these organizations may be purchased if they fit subject criteria for the library's general collection development policy.

[1] BASIC:
Primary Materials: The Library does not collect primary materials.
Secondary Materials: The Library collects general works on the organization and works on major subject areas (e.g., human rights) in English.

Primary Materials: The Library collects selectively.
Secondary Materials: The Library collects general works on the organization and works on major subject areas, such as trade or the environment in English and major European languages.

Primary Materials: The Library collects selectively.
Secondary Materials: The Library collects works on the organization in general and on selected specialized subjects. The Library collects secondary works in English and major languages.

Primary Materials: The Library collects most primary sources.
Secondary Materials: The Library collects works on the organization in general and on a wide variety of specialized subjects. Loose-leaf treatises or other materials requiring frequent supplementation, and expensive monographs and serials are collected selectively. Practitioners' materials are not selected unless essential to a subject area. The Library collects secondary works in English and major languages.

Primary Materials: The Library collects all available primary materials.
Secondary Materials: The Library collects all important works on all aspects of the organization's legal activities. The Library collects secondary works in English and major languages.


Organization Level
Bank for International Settlements (BIS) 3
Council of Europe 4
European Free Trade Association (EFTA) 3
European Union (EU) 5
International Bank For Reconstruction And Development (IBRD or World Bank)                                    3
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 3
International Monetary Fund (IMF) 3
Mercado Commún Del Sur (MERCOSUR ) 4
NAFTA Secretariat 4
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) 3
Organization of African Unity (OAU) 4
Organization of American States/Organización De Los Estados Americanos: (OAS/OEA) 4
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 4
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) 3
Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) 4
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) 5
United Nations (UN)    5
World Trade Organization (WTO) 5

1. The history of the early years of collection development is traced in William R. Roalfe, The Duke University Law Library: An Account of Its Development, 35 Law Libr. J. 41, 42-45 (1942).

2. Roy M. Mersky & Donald J. Dunn, Fundamentals of Legal Research 10 (8th ed. 2002).

3. See e.g., Richard J. Matthews & Mary Alice Baish, State-by-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources (2007). The report concludes that although a significant number of state online resources are official, none are authenticated or afford ready authentication by standard methods. State online primary legal resources are, therefore, not sufficiently trustworthy.

4. Private international law (often referred to as "conflict of laws") governs the choice of law to apply when there are conflicts in the domestic law of different nations related to private transactions (such as contracts, marriage and divorce, recognition of judgments, etc.) The intensity of collecting of private international law materials is guided by the collection policy for secondary sources.

5. Article 38 (1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice  provides the classic formulation of the sources of international law:
"The Court, whose function is to decide in accordance with international law such disputes as are submitted to it, shall apply:
a. international conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting states;
b. international custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law;
c. the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations;
d. subject to the provisions of Article 5 judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations, as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law."

6. Mersky & Dunn, supra note 2.

7. Id. at 396.

8. Cohen & Olsen, Legal Research in a Nutshell 48-49 (9th ed. 2007).

9. Mersky & Dunn, supra note 2, at 397.