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Research Guides

Treaties and International Agreements

Guide to print and electronic resources for finding bilateral and multilateral treaties.

Treaties and International Agreements

Article 2, Section 1(a) to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which has been widely accepted as the instrument governing the law of treaties since its adoption by the International Law Commission in 1969, defines a treaty as such: 

'Treaty' means an international agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by international law, whether embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments and whatever its particular designation....

Treaties one of the main sources of international law. Indeed, conducting international legal research almost invariably involves locating a treaty at some point, whether bilateral or multilateral. Bilateral treaties are those treaties concluded between two states or organizations, and multilateral are those concluded between more than two states or organizations. Treaties are one type of international agreement, and can also be called things such as agreement, settlement, pact, accord, protocol, compact, convention, or covenant, etc. 

The purpose of this research guide is to identify relevant print and electronic resources for locating treaties and international agreements. The guide lists useful treatises on the law of treaties, print indexes necessary for locating official texts of treaties, and databases offering full-text access to thousands of international agreements.   

Using JACOB to Find Treaties and International Agreements

One of the first places to consider starting is with the library's catalog, JACOB. The catalog search engine provides all kinds of filters and search features to find exactly what you're looking for. Start with the Advanced Search feature:

And then choose applicable terms and words to search by.  You can also filter by subject, title, author, etc. If you need to filter by time frame, language, or format, look to the right-hand corner. It's important to know where you're searching too:

  • JACOB means print materials (mostly books) held in the library's collection.

  • JACOB+ means print materials AND articles held in the library's collection.

  • Course Reserves are simply books held on reserve a professors' request for their courses.

  • WRLC is the Washington Research Library Consortium that consists of about 13 local libraries (we have a speedy lending agreement among this group of institutions). Search here for your broadest reach.


Search by Library of Congress Call Number Range:

JACOB has a filter for searching for items this way.

This is the Call Number range for the topic of Treaties:

  • KZ118 -1152

Search by Library of Congress Subject Headings:

You can also search by the following subject headings. Just type any of these into the search bar and filter to "Subject."

Additional Assistance in Researching Treaties and International Agreements

Click the image below for more in-depth research strategies and information about treaties and international agreements.

Click the image below for more in-depth research strategies and information about treaties and international agreements.

How to Cite United States Treaties