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Global Legal Information Network

How to Search the GLIN System

How to search for law summaries
How law summary search results are displayed in GLIN
How to search for legal writing summaries
How legal writings search results are displayed in GLIN

How to search for law summaries

There are seven fields available for searching for law summaries: jurisdiction, subject terms, title, issuance date, publication date, instrument class, and instrument number. These fields may be used separately or in combination to search for law summaries.

To search by issuing jurisdiction (country, international organization, etc.):

To search for all the laws of one particular jurisdiction, scroll down the list of jurisdictions until the desired jurisdiction is highlighted. Once the jurisdiction is highlighted click on the Query button on the bottom of the screen to initiate the search.

To search for more than one jurisdiction at a time, highlight the first jurisdiction on the list, then hold down the CTRL button on the keyboard, scroll to the next jurisdiction, highlight it and continue until all the desired jurisdictions have been selected. Then, click on the Query button at the bottom of the screen.
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To search by subject:

To search the GLIN database by subject, use terms taken from the GLIN Thesaurus. The terms must match the spelling and punctuation used in the thesaurus exactly. If a subject term is misspelled or a term is entered that is not in the thesaurus, a message will be displayed to indicate the error. For example: "trade – bad subject term(s), correct and resubmit query."

GLIN allows for Boolean searching—with the operators AND and OR. Up to 5 terms can be searched simultaneously. The default operator is AND.

To find the right Thesaurus term:

Look up terms in the GLIN Thesaurus by clicking on the hypertext link (GLIN Thesaurus) above the boxes for subject terms. Clicking on this link will bring up the Library of Congress Thesauri homepage. Click on the GLIN box. Then enter the term of interest in the TERM box. If a term has been entered that is valid, it will be listed as a "main term." If the term is not valid, it will be listed as a "nonpostable" term and will be followed by the correct term that should be used instead.

To view the entire GLIN Thesaurus from the beginning, type "a" (without quotation marks) into the box and it will begin with the first term in the thesaurus. You may then scroll through the terms. At the end of each page, click NEXT to move on to the next group of terms.

The KWOC box should be used when you are searching for all instances where a word might be used (including those phrases where it would not appear first). For example, if you type "government" in this box, you will get a list of all the terms in the thesaurus where government appears, including "government property" and "national government." If you had entered "government" in the TERM box, you would have seen the first term, but not the second.

The only way to return to the search screen from the thesaurus is to use the browser's back button. Terms can be cut and pasted from the thesaurus into the subject search boxes by using the Browser's Edit button.
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To search by date:

There are two fields for dates: issuance date and publication date. The issuance date refers to the date of issuance, enactment, or promulgation. This date is generally published along with the text of the instrument. The date of publication is often on the first page of the publication.

The date must be entered in this format: DD/MM/YYYY
where DD = two-digit day of the month; MM = two-digit month; and YYYY = four-digit year. For example, January 31, 1996 must be entered as: 31/01/1996

{If 01/31/1996 is entered, a message will be displayed indicating an error, since there is no 31st month. If an incorrect date is entered that corresponds to an existing date (e.g. 01/12/1996 [December 1, 1996] when 12/01/1996 [January 12, 1996] was meant), the unintended date will be searched. NOTE: do not enter a four-digit year as 0096 when you mean 1996—the system will accept this and interpret it as the year 96A.D.}

To search by title:

Because titles were not required in a previous version of GLIN, the current system usually displays the first 80 characters of the summary field as a default. It will only display a "real" title if one has been entered. On the search screen, there is not enough room to enter all 80 characters, so the system will do a "left match" with whatever has been entered. This means that you should enter only as many words as needed to identify the title. For example, if the first word or words of the title are quite unique (e.g. "Oroville-Tonasket"), no additional information is needed. If the first words of a title are generic (e.g., "Proclamation No. 1 of the first session…"), it will be necessary to enter as many words as known to retrieve the specific instrument.
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To search for a type of legal document ("Instrument Class"):

The instrument class (e.g. law, resolution, decree, proclamation, etc.) varies by jurisdiction. For example, in Brazil "Decree-Law" is a valid instrument class, but this instrument does not exist in the United States. This field is best searched in combination with a jurisdiction—and generally with other fields as well (subject and/or date, for example).

To search by instrument number:

For countries that have unique instrument numbers, such as the United States, searching by instrument number may be the fastest way to locate a particular law. Even for countries that reuse numbers for legal instruments, an instrument number search often returns a much shorter hit list than other searches. When combined with instrument class or a date, the search is even more precise. Like the title search, the system performs a left-match search with instrument numbers. For example, if just 7 is typed in this field, it will return all instruments that begin with 7—7, 71, 716, etc.

How law summary search results are displayed in GLIN

The first result is a Hit List:

All searches will result in a hit list with the hits displayed in reverse chronological order by issuance date. A (-) displayed after the jurisdiction indicates that the issuance date was not input into the system. A few records that were converted from an old version of GLIN may still be present and these will be on the top of the hit list. For these records, a searcher should check the text of the summary record to determine the date of issuance. If more than one jurisdiction has been selected, the results will still be displayed in strict reverse chronological order—the list will not be sorted by jurisdiction.

To look at one of the hits on the list, click on the number of the hit. This will bring up the full summary record.
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Viewing summary records:

To move through summary records, use the NEXT and PREV buttons at the bottom of the screen. To return to the entire hit list, use the browser's BACK button at the top of the screen. Clicking on one of the thesaurus terms in a full summary record will instruct the system to perform a search on the country or countries selected initially and the subject term selected from the list of subject terms.

WARNING: To return to the search screen, or to refine or conduct a new search, always click on the Search Law Summaries button. DO NOT USE the browser's BACK button to return to the search screen. If you use the BACK button, you will not get the search results that you want. The system will default to a search on ALL jurisdictions, not just the jurisdiction that you believe you have selected (even if it appears to be highlighted). You must clear the search screen each time. This is done automatically if you click on Search Law Summaries on the left side of the screen. If you have used the BACK button then click on the "Clear" button on the bottom of the search screen.

To search GLIN, sign on here .

How to search for legal writing summaries

Click on Search Legal Writing Summaries button on the left side of the screen to get to the search screen for legal writings. There are three fields available for searching for legal writings: publication country/entity, subject terms, and publication date. These fields may be used separately or in combination to search for legal writings summaries.

To search by publication country/entity:

To look at all the legal writings for a particular publication country/entity, scroll down the list until the one of interest is highlighted. Once the country/entity is selected, click the Query button located at the bottom of the search screen. To search for more than one country/entity at a time, highlight the first country/entity, then hold down the control (CTRL) button and highlight additional selections.
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To search by subject:

To search the GLIN database by subject, use terms taken from the GLIN Thesaurus. The terms must match the spelling and punctuation used in the thesaurus exactly. If a subject term is misspelled or a term is entered that is not in the thesaurus, a message will be displayed to indicate the error. For example: "trade – bad subject term(s), correct and resubmit query."

GLIN allows for Boolean searching—with the operators AND and OR. Up to 5 terms can be searched simultaneously. The default operator is AND.

To find the right Thesaurus term:

Look up terms in the GLIN Thesaurus by clicking on the hypertext link (GLIN Thesaurus) above the boxes for subject terms. Clicking on this link will bring up the Library of Congress Thesauri homepage. Click on the GLIN box. Then enter the term of interest in the TERM box. If a term has been entered that is valid, it will be listed as a "main term." If the term is not valid, it will be listed as a "nonpostable" term and will be followed by the correct term that should be used instead.

To view the entire GLIN Thesaurus from the beginning, type "a" (without quotation marks) into the box and it will begin with the first term in the thesaurus. You may then scroll through the terms. At the end of each page, click NEXT to move on to the next group of terms.

The KWOC box should be used when you are not searching for all instances where a word might be used (including those phrases where it would not appear first). For example, if you type "government" in this box, you will get a list of all the terms in the thesaurus where government appears, including "government property" and "national government." If you had entered "government" in the TERM box, you would have seen the first term, but not the second.

The only way to return to the search screen from the thesaurus is to use the browser's back button. Terms can be cut and pasted from the thesaurus into the subject search boxes by using the Browser's Edit button.
Top of Page

To search by date:

There are two fields for dates: issuance date and publication date. The issuance date refers to the date of issuance, enactment, or promulgation. This date is generally published along with the text of the instrument. The date of publication is often on the first page of the publication.

The date must be entered in this format : DD/MM/YYYY
where DD = two-digit day of the month; MM = two-digit month; and YYYY = four-digit year. For example, January 31, 1996 must be entered as: 31/01/1996

{If 01/31/1996 is entered, a message will be displayed indicating an error, since there is no 31st month. If an incorrect date is entered that corresponds to an existing date (e.g. 01/12/1996 [December 1, 1996] when 12/01/1996 [January 12, 1996] was meant), the unintended date will be searched. NOTE: do not enter a four-digit year as 0096 when you mean 1996—the system will accept this and interpret it as the year 96A.D.}

How legal writings search results are displayed in GLIN

The first result is a Hit List:

All searches will result in a hit list with the hits displayed in reverse chronological order by date. If you have selected more than one jurisdiction, the results will still be displayed in reverse chronological order—the list will not be sorted by jurisdiction. To look at one of the hits on the list, click on the number of the hit. This will bring up the full summary record.
Top of Page
Viewing the summary records:
To move through summary records, use the NEXT and PREV buttons at the bottom of the screen. To return to the entire hit list, use the browser's BACK button at the top of the screen.

Clicking on one of the thesaurus terms in a full summary record will instruct the system to perform a search on the jurisdiction(s) selected initially and the subject term selected from the list of subject terms.

New Search: To conduct a new search for a legal writings summary, click the legal writings summaries button to return to the search screen. DO NOT use the browser's BACK button to return to the search screen.

To search GLIN, sign on here


GLIN Home Page

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Comments: glincen@loc.gov
rev. Jan. 2003

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