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October 25, 2005

Toot, toot

So this partner calls. He wants a copy of a foreign court's decision. All he knows are the companies involved and that it was "recent." There's nothing more he can tell me.

I have no idea where to start. I search news databases to see if I can find any articles that will give me more information. I call a database help line, and the person helps me find a single newswire article, which isn't in English. I feed the text into Babelfish to see if it's relevant. It is. So I've now gained a little more information - an approximate date, which is more informative than "recent."

I find a website for the country's court system. Again, not in English. I look to librarian mailing-lists for research ideas. A few responses trickle in, but nothing particularly helpful. I call a document service to see if they can obtain a copy of the decision for me. The ballpark estimate is $1000, with translation services at $100/page if I so choose.

Back to the court's website. I start feeding text into Babelfish to help me find my way around. Eventually I find a page that allows users to search for judicial opinions by various fields. I type in a party name and a date range....

I found it! I get a rough translation from Babelfish to make sure, but yes, it's the document I need. I send off an email with the document attached, explaining that the partner would need to get the decision translated.

And the response? Zip. Zilch. Nichts. Nada. A mere "thanks" would have sufficed. A "Wow! That's incredible! Thanks!" would be even better.

A lot of this is way too technical and boring. But it's a big deal to me personally. It's the librarian's equivalent of pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

Anyway, I'm sure something will stump me today, so I better not let my head get swollen. Like anyone would notice, anyway. :p

Yours, &c., LC | 12:51 PM | Librariana | TrackBack (0)

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