Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Treaty Research

This guide describes resources and methods for locating and updating treaties of the United States and other countries.

Finding Citations to Full-Text Sources for Multilateral Treaties

The first step in the process of researching of a multilateral treaty is to find a citation to a full-text treaty source.  If you already have a citation, skip this step and use the citation to retrieve the treaty text.  To find a citation, use one of the resources described in the table below.  Note that some of these resources also provide direct links to treaty texts.  Others are treaty indexes that provide only citations to full-text sources.

Title & Description Dates of Coverage Print Holdings Online Access
Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL)
EISIL is a good place to start your research if you are looking for major multilateral treaties concluded during the 20th or the 21st century.  It provides basic information about each treaty, including the dates of signature and entry into force, citations to full-text sources, and links for accessing  the full text online.    Cautionary Note:   The EISIL database is in the process of being updated and migrated to a new platform.  Many links to the full texts of treaties are temporarily broken.  If you encounter a broken link, you can still use the citation information provided to retrieve the treaty from a full-text source.
1900-2013, plus a few older treaties. Online only. EISIL website
If you know the exact name of a treaty, use the Advanced Search and restrict your search to the title field.  Alternatively, you may browse for treaties by subject.  As you drill down through the sub-topics, look for the name of the treaty under the heading "Primary Documents."  Click on the link labeled "More Information" below the treaty name to view key information, including citations to full-text sources.  Links to the full texts of treaties also are provided.  (See cautionary note to the left.)
Cumulative Index to the U.N. Treaty Series
The U.N. Treaty Series (U.N.T.S.) contains the full texts of more than 100,000 multilateral and bilateral treaties that have been registered or recorded with the U.N. from 1946-present.  Each issue of the Cumulative Index to the U.N.T.S. covers a specified date range (corresponding to a range of U.N.T. S. volume numbers) and is divided into two sections.  The first section (Chronological Index) lists treaties by date of adoption or signature and includes updates for older treaties.  The second section (Alphabetical Index) lists treaties by subject and by country.  Each entry includes the volume of the U.N.T.S. in which the full text of the treaty appears and/or the registration number of the treaty.
1946-present REF KZ171 .U512 1999 U.N. Treaty Collection
Each issue of the Cumulative Index to the U.N.T.S. can be downloaded in PDF format.  To search for the name of a treaty or by keyword across all issues of the index, it is preferable to use HeinOnline (see below).

HeinOnline's World Treaty Library
The Cumulative Index to the U.N.T.S. is one of several treaty indexes and collections included in Hein's World Treaty Library.  By default, all available sources are searched.  To search only the Cumulative Index to the U.N.T.S., you must highlight it in the list of sources.  Citations retrieved in the search results include direct links to treaty texts. 
FLARE Index to Treaties
Hosted by the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies in London, FLARE's searchable database includes more than 2,000 of the most significant multilateral treaties concluded from 1353 onward, as well as key bilateral treaties concluded between 1353 and 1815.  Each record in the database includes basic information about the treaty, including citations to full-text sources, and links for accessing the full text online, if available.
1353-present. Online only. FLARE website
The database is searchable by keyword (free text), by title, by date, by the location at which the treaty was concluded, and by the country or organization which serves as the depository for the treaty. 
Multilateral Treaty Calendar (Wiktor)
This single volume index covers multilateral treaties concluded between 1648 and 1995.  Treaties are arranged chronologically by date of signature.  Each entry provides basic information about the treaty, including the subject matter, the parties, and the date of entry into force, along with one or more citations to full-text sources.  Also includes a general subject index and a glossary of main subjects in English and French.
1648-1995 REF KZ118 .W55 1998 HeinOnline's World Treaty Library
The Multilateral Treaty Calendar is one of several treaty indexes and collections included in Hein's World Treaty Library.  By default, all available sources are searched.  To search only the Multilateral Treaty Calendar, you must highlight it in the list of sources. 
Multilateral Treaties:  Index & Current Status (Bowman & Harris)
Covers more than a thousand multilateral treaties concluded between 1853 and 1993.  Treaties are arranged chronologically by date of signature.  Each entry provides basic information about the treaty and one or more citations to full-text sources.  Also includes brief subject and keyword indexes.  The last supplement was published in 1995.
1853-1993 REF KZ118 . M8 1984 Content from the Bowman & Harris index is included in the FLARE Index to Treaties online database (see above).
Rohn's World Treaty Index (2d edition)
This five-volume set includes both multilateral and bilateral treaties concluded between 1900 and 1980, along with a few treaties concluded in the 19th century.  Treaties are arranged chronologically by date of signature.  Each entry provides basic information about the treaty and citations to one or more full-text sources.  Volume IV contains a party (country) index, and Volume V contains a subject (keyword) index.  This resource has not been updated since the second edition was published in 1983
1900-1980. REF KZ173 .R63 1983 HeinOnline's World Treaty Library
Rohn's World Treaty Index is one of several treaty indexes and collections included in Hein's World Treaty Library.  By default, all available sources are searched.  To search only Rohn's World Treaty Index, you must highlight it in the list of sources.