Collection Profile

Since 1913 the Peace Palace Library has been serving the international legal community as a Standard Library of International Law. From the beginning, in its classification of books, book-items, journal articles and other types of publications, the Library has tried to remain faithful, as much as possible, to the Catalogue de la bibliothèque du Palais de la paix, designed in 1916 by Elsa Oppenheim, daughter of the famous Dutch professor Jacques Oppenheim.

The Peace Palace Library is a unique Library because of its vast collection on international law and on the diplomatic and political history of conflict areas. The Library’s extensive collection covers both public and private international law, foreign and comparative law, as well as war and peace issues.

The main part of our Collection is searchable through the Catalogue. This Catalogue is unique because it classifies not only books and journal articles according to their subject, but also book-items and essays. Nowadays there is a tendency to move to more input from databases: online books and electronic articles. The Library provides access to thousands of e-Books, a collection that is ever expanding. The e-Books have been selected, catalogued and classified individually, just as with printed books. We also offer a collection of almost 2500 electronic journals and reviews. In order to facilitate fast access and retrieval, we have catalogued and classified all relevant journal items (articles, essays, reviews, documents, etc.) at the time of entry. The most prominent and leading journals and reviews in international law have been presented in our Top 200. We understand the importance of being up-to-date in international law!

Keywords and Systematic Classification

From 1980 onwards, a vast keyword-thesaurus of about 4200 keywords has been added to the Catalogue in order to optimize information retrieval. The PPL keywords are available in English, French, Dutch and Spanish, and are related in their hierarchical relative position with other words or terms, e.g. parent/broader terms, child/narrower terms, and synonyms. Keywords are a search option in the Catalogue.

As mentioned above, the Library possesses an in-house Systematic Classification, modernised and updated as of January 1, 2016, which has been used to classify books, essays and articles. Originally created in 1916, the systematic classification supports your search with regard to content and is divided into various sections. The systematic classification reflects our Collection Profile to the full extent. However, as from January, 2020, the systematic classification is no longer supported by our current library automatisation system.

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