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A New Online Source for Treaty Information: The Electronic World Treaty Index

The Electronic World Treaty Index is a new post by Paul Poast of the University of Michigan Department of Political Science, Daniel Martin Katz of the University of Michigan's Center for the Study of Complex Systems and Computational Legal Studies, and Michael J. Bommarito II of Systematic Global Macro and Computational Legal Studies, on the VoxPopuLII Blog, published by the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School.

In this post, the authors describe the content and functionality of The World Treaty Index (WTI), a new, updated, digital version of Peter Rohn's pioneering reference source.

The new digital World Treaty Index includes metadata for nearly 75,000 treaties that entered into force in the twentieth century. Users may search by numerous access points, including citation; title keyword; party name (including countries and organizations); "Correlates of War" country code; subject; whether the treaty is unilateral, bilateral, or multilateral; and signature date.

Visualizations and data export are among the notable functionality in the new digital WTI. Display results include a visualization "of the distribution of the requested treaties over the requested time period," a function that highlights the data visualization expertise of the founders of Computational Legal Studies. In addition, users may export search results for bilateral treaties, and may export metadata for multilateral treaties in bulk, in both instances in .csv format, for use in standard statistical packages. These features render WTI both a legal reference source and a valuable data set for research in political science and law.

In the coming months, the authors plan to extend WTI's coverage through 2011, add metadata about "treaty terminations and renegotiations," enhance the multilateral treaties interface, and add links to full text of treaties.

This post should be of interest to researchers in international law and political science, legal information professionals, developers of legal information systems, and those who study legal metadata.

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