Search Instructions

The World Treaty Index is based on a database controlled by a subject thesaurus.  The field descriptions listed below will help you construct your search.  After you submit your query, you will be presented with a list of results.  You can access details about each record in your results list by clicking on the linked treaty number.

Field Descriptions

1. Treaty Number: The treaty number is the unique identifying number for records, and consists of six digits.  For treaties from the United Nations Treaty Series, a leading "1" has been added as a placeholder to five-digit numbers designated by the U.N.   A "20" is prefixed to four-digit treaties, and a "200" is used for three digit treaties.  For example, a treaty which is assigned the number 27876 in the United Nations Treaty Series will appear as treaty number 127876.  Treaties from other sources rely on a unique numbering scheme.  Documentation on this scheme will be forthcoming.

2. Primary Source: This field indicates the primary source from which a treaty record is taken, and lists the source code rather than the full title.  A Uniform Title project is now underway, and at its completion the code will be replaced by the title of the source.  You may use UNTS or UNXX for the United Nations Treaty Series, either full text or monthly bulletin, respectively. 

3. Laterality: Treaties can be defined by their laterality, either bilateral, multilateral, or unilateral.  Most of the treaties in the database are bilateral treaties.  Unilateral treaties usually entail a party's recognizing the International Court of Justice.  Please note that multilateral treaties do not list each individual party.  This was due to an earlier design of the database, and we have a project in progress that will provide this information.

4. Party: The country or multinational organization that are parties to a treaty.  By entering more than one party through the "Browse Terms" feature, the search terms will be joined by "or," meaning that the results will list all treaties in which the parties appear, in addition to the treaties that they have entered into with each other.

5. Treaty Topic: The topic is assigned by the Treaty Research Center from our controlled vocabulary (click on “Browse Terms”).  Each topic belongs to a broader topic group, encompassing diplomacy, welfare, economics, aid, transport, communications, culture, resources, and administration.  The treaty record has been assigned the most predominant topic heading, even if more than one may apply.  See the topic descriptions for more information.  Again, the search terms will be joined by "or."

6. Title: Title refers to the legal term categorizing the kind of deal which has been made and is usually taken from the first significant word in the title statement, i.e. agreement, exchange, letter, memorandum, etc.  Click on “Browse Terms” for complete list.

7. Headnote: The headnote is a statement found at the beginning of the listing of the treaty in the source document, containing a brief description provided by the treaty-makers themselves of what the treaty is about.  This provides the database with a keyword searching feature.  Please note that entering more than one word in this field will result in the terms being used as a phrase.

8. Date Treaty was signed, concluded, etc.: Lists the date that the parties signed the treaty, or the agreement was concluded.  This field has some bugs at the moment.  Please refrain from searching on this field until the problem is remedied.

Document created January 29, 2001 by Lisa Spagnolo. v.1.0.