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Using the Moody System at Harvard Law Library for Foreign Legal Research

Introduction to the Moody Classification System

Harvard Law School's International Legal Studies collection houses the laws of all foreign jurisdictions, except for the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and the MOSLEM (Islamic) and Islamic Law/Reference materials, which are located in the Langdell Hall side of the library.

In the ILS part of the Library, foreign law is classified using Harvard's own Moody classification system.  We also have some Moody materials which include English translations of selected laws and codes in the Reference collection, which can be found on the 4th floor of the Langdell side of the library.  This system arranges materials first by jurisdiction, then by form, subject, author, and in some instances, date.

This system uses a three-part call number: the first part indicates jurisdiction, the second part defines the book by form (first digit) and subject (last two digits); and the third part contains other identifying information, such as a very abbreviated form of the author's name or the title.  On the Jurisdictional Symbol Pages of this guide, you may note that some of the symbols still in use are anachronistic, but the Library does not always have the time nor funding to correct records for such a large collection when political changes take place.

A decimal extension of the number that makes up the second part is sometimes used to designate a further subdivision of the subject.

For example: FRA 962 ALE

62=constitutional law
ALE=author's last name (abbreviated)

Using the Moody classification system can make legal research in foreign jurisdictions easier. For instance, all judicial reports are classified in the 500s, all constitutions in the 100s, etc. In any jurisdiction, you can go to the call number you are interested in and browse the shelf for books on your area of interest.

Also, in HOLLIS CLASSIC, you can perform a Browse Search the "Other Call Number" option to find materials in your subject area, from the main screen.  On the Expanded Search Screen, just change "anywhere" in the drop-down menu to "Other Call Number." 

For example, to find treatises on commercial law in the UAE, within HOLLIS CLASSIC, perform a Browse Search using the "Other Call Number" selection from the drop down menu. Enter UAE 929. (UAE=United Arab Emirates 900s=treatises 29=commercial law).

With some exceptions, most Moody items with call numbers in the 900s do circulate. Please contact our Circulation Department, located on the main floor of the library, in Langdell Hall, at 617-495-3455, if you have any questions about whether a particular item may be checked out.

Hollis Classic Expanded Search

Subject Guide

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Stephen Wiles