These tools can do two things for you. First good, scholarly encyclopedias can be a great place to start. They can give you a borad, learned view of a topic that you know little or nothing about. They can provide the background that you will need to make sense of law review articles. Second, both encyclopedias and dictionaries can give you short explanation of concepts and terms that are new to you. You will usually use them in this way as you read the academic literature to fill in small pieces of needed information.
The first item is one of the most useful encyclopedias; it is one of the best places to start your research.. Although it's title does not include the term, "human rights," the subject and a large number of it's subtopics are authoritatively covered. Indeed, it is so highly regarded that you can cite it in your papers.
The second item,The Foreign Law Guide is another highly authoritative tool. It can be used as both an encyclopedia and a source of full-text, foreign, primary legal texts although it is not strictly speaking an encyclopedia at all. Each article covers a country or intergovernmental organization. It describes the history of the legal system, legislation and the judicial system, official gazette, compilations or official codifications, session laws, codes, court reports, introductory sources, online sources, selected print sources, and laws of the country listed by subject. There is no better source for locating the primary legal texts of foreign countries.
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