Website Review: Multilaterals Project Of The Fletcher School Of Law And Diplomacy

Started by Peter Stott in 1992, the Multilaterals Project has grown in scope from a project designed to improve public access to environmental materials to one that provides multilateral documents on a wide range of topics including human rights and trade relations.

By Erik J. Heels

First published 11/3/1997; LegalResearcher.com; publisher: New York Law Publishing Company

The Multilaterals Project of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (http://www.tufts.edu/fletcher/multilaterals.html) is a large compilation of treaties and related materials. I can only hope that my difficulty in accessing this site is an exception and not the rule. But even with a multiple T3 Internet-connected office, performance of the site was sluggish.

Started by Peter Stott in 1992, the Multilaterals Project has grown in scope from a project designed to improve public access to environmental materials to one that provides multilateral documents on a wide range of topics including human rights and trade relations.

The database is conveniently searchable from the Multilaterals Project home page. The default mode of operations (which you can unselect) is to search for full words (i.e. not partial words). The search engine is pretty basic, and the summary information shown from a search (for example for “International Court of Justice”) provides little more than the names of the found files.

For the adventurous, an FTP-style directory listing is also available (http://www.tufts.edu/departments/fletcher/multi/texts/), showing the names and dates of the files in the collection. The file A.INDEX (a Gopher-style naming convention – which shows you how “old” this site is in Net years!) includes descriptions of the files in that directory.

The public search engines can also be used to search the Multilaterals site, but those searches are only as good as the number of files in the public search engines. For example, an AltaVista advanced query shows that 49 of the Multilaterals Project text are in its database. The same search in Infoseek turned up 165 documents. Hoping that AltaVista and Infoseek will update their databases, I resubmitted the URL for the texts (http://www.tufts.edu/departments/fletcher/multi/texts/) to the search engines for reindexing. If the numbers above have increased, the reindexing worked!

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