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Pritzker Legal Research Center

International Legal Research Guide

An overview of international law and where to begin research


Start your search for books by using NUsearch, the library catalog for Northwestern University, to see what books we have available in the campus library system. If you need additional books or if you are looking for a particular title that we don't own, you can search for the item in WorldCat and submit an interlibrary request for it. 

For international law e-books, see the Oxford Scholarly Authorities on International Law. This resource provides electronic access to commentaries, scholarly works, and books on international law topics, including human rights law, environmental law, criminal law, use of force/humanitarian law, and more. A full list of the titles included in this collection is available here


NUsearch is the library catalog for Northwestern University and will search for items owned by Northwestern's campus libraries as well as materials available online through databases for which Northwestern subscribes. 


NUsearch allows you to conduct a basic search or an advanced search.

Basic Search: A basic search consists of one simple search bar, similar to what you see on Google. Click on the "NUsearch" dropdown on the right side of the search bar to select "Books, Images, and More." This will exclude articles from your search. 

Advanced Search: An advanced search allows you to conduct a much more targeted search. An advanced search allows you to search for keywords that appear specifically in the title of the book or search for exact phrases (e.g., "climate change"). Additionally, an advanced search offers more restrictions by material type, so you can limit your search just to books. 


If your search retrieves too many or too many irrelevant results, you can either run a new search with different keywords or narrow your results. 

Refine Results: You can filter the search results using the options provided in the left sidebar. If are only interested in seeing what books are physically available at the Pritzker Legal Research Center, you can select "Law Library." If you only want books published in the past five years, you can also set a date range. 


If your search did not retrieve enough results, you can use the following strategies to find additional books using one relevant result. 

Find Additional Books Using Subject Headings: If you find a book that sounds relevant to your research, you can look at its subject headings to find other books also classified with the same subjects or topics. In the catalog record, scroll down to the "Details" section to view the subject headings. These are hyperlinks you can click on to find all materials with those subject headings. 

Find Additional Books Using Virtual Browse: The catalog also includes a feature that allows you to browse books with nearby call numbers, similar to if you were to go to the shelf and look at the surrounding titles. The Virtual Browse is located at the bottom of a catalog record. 


Find Books in Law Library Stacks: Books that are listed as available at Law Library Stacks can be checked out (with the exception of books marked as "non-circulating," which can be consulted but not checked out). In general, monographs (MON) are located on the second floor of the law library (the floor with the circulation desk and reference desk), while international materials (N, ---) are on the third floor of the law library. 

Request Books from Law Library Closed Stacks: Books that are listed as in the Law Library Closed Stacks can be requested using this form. Closed stacks items are retrieved twice a day, Monday through Friday. 

Request Books from Other Campus Libraries or Oak Grove Library Center (Off-Site Storage): You can request books listed in the catalog as available at other campus libraries (e.g., Main Library) or Oak Grove Library Center through NUsearch to be delivered to the law library for pickup. 

To request a book from another campus library or Oak Grove Library Center, click into the full catalog record. Sign in with your NetID and password, then click the "Request" link.

In the pop-up form, make sure to select "Law Library" for pickup location. Books generally arrive in 1-2 days. You will receive an email when your book is ready for pickup at the circulation desk. 

Obtain Books Currently Checked Out: If a book is currently checked out, you can submit an interlibrary loan request (see below). Our library will coordinate with other libraries to obtain a copy of the book for you. 


You may wish to search for books not owned by Northwestern University. WorldCat allows you to search across the collections of thousands of libraries across the country and around the world at once. If you find a book of interest that is not held at any Northwestern campus library or is currently checked out, you can submit an interlibrary loan request to obtain the item (see below). 

You can see whether any nearby libraries own a book by putting in your zip code. This is also a good way to double check and confirm that Northwestern University does not own the book prior to submitting an interlibrary loan request. 

Interlibrary Loan

If Northwestern University does not own a copy of a book or if Northwestern's copy is currently checked out, you can submit an interlibrary loan request. Please visit this webpage for information on how to submit interlibrary loan requests. You must create an account the first time you submit an interlibrary loan request and will use that account to submit requests, check the status of requests, or renew ILL materials. You can either request the entire book, or if you know that a specific chapter is relevant, you can request a scan of that chapter.