The INT-LAW Email Discussion List Migrates to Google Groups

On February 9, 2018, the Int-Law International Law Librarians list was migrated from LISTSERV to Google Groups. The migration was seamless. Joe Schumacher, the Int-Law list manager, did a great job of giving us advanced notice, migrating the list, and following up on any post-migration problems. The email address for posting to the Int-Law list remains the same. It’s been about a month since the migration. Below, I review the new features of Int-Law via Google Groups.

We learned that Int-Law was going to move to a new host when Joe Schumacher posted the following message on Int-Law on February 7, 2018:

Migration of Int-Law to Google Groups

Dear Int-Law Members,

CIESIN is migrating the Int-Law list from our in-house list server to a Google Group.

The targeted date to complete this migration is this Friday, February 9th. There will be a brief down time between 10 a.m. to noon Friday EST while we make the switch. CIESIN will continue to operate the group and I will be the manager.

The Int-Law Google Group can be accessed using any email account. A Gmail account is *not* required to interact with the list via email. The subscribe/unsubscribe addresses will change, but the address for posting to Int-Law will remain the same:

You will also be able to use the Google Group web site to read, post, and manage your list messages, *if* you sign in with a Google account. For example, you can set your preferences for receiving emails and digests by clicking on “Membership and email settings” under the “My Settings” icon on top right of the list web page. We will send you further details on this once we enable access to the Group web site.

The archived messages on our list server will be accessible until June 2018 at We are exploring the best way to preserve the entire Int-Law archive for long term accessibility to past posts.

We thank you for your continued participation on Int-Law and we very much appreciate your patience and understanding during this migration to Google Groups. Please contact me if you have any concerns or questions.


Joe Schumacher

NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC)

Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)
Earth Institute at Columbia University

INT-LAW Is Borderless

Mila Rush and I launched the Int-Law list at the University of Minnesota on April 31, 1991.[1] Our intent was to create an email discussion group for foreign, comparative, and international law librarians and others who work with FCIL materials anywhere in the world to share information. Back then, it seemed wonderful that we could communicate with legal information professionals in the U.S. and other countries at any time of day. Legal information exchange without borders. By June 1992, we had over 200 subscribers from about 20 countries.[2]

INT-LAW Is For Information-Sharing

The Int-Law list was set up so that replies went back to all instead of just to the original sender. This encouraged sharing of information so that we all learned from questions asked. There were some initial hiccups as some political, potentially inflammatory discussions and debates flared up, but we survived the “flame wars” that harmed other listservs. So we just had the occasional mistaken replies to all. The automatic reply to all was still a sort of hidden feature that tripped Int-Law subscribers up every once and a while. So it’s great that the Int-Law list via Google Groups is set up so the default set up is reply directly to the original message poster, so reply all has to be an intentional decision to share information.

INT-LAW Is Accessible To All

When we started the Int-Law list in the early ‘90s, it was still at time of Gopher and not much capacity for sharing huge files via email. The Int-Law list was set up to allow for text messages (no graphics) and to disallow attachments. This allowed for free, easy flow of information no matter the state of technology – anyone can receive simple, non-loaded emails. And, if the posted message bounced, it would not be a huge file incapacitating someone, somewhere. The Int-Law list via Google Groups now allows for graphical messages and attachments. The Int-Law list looks more modern, and is possibly more convenient for Int-Law subscribers, but I am waiting to see if there are accessibility issues with these new features.

INT-LAW Information Is Discoverable and Preserved

Public archives of Int-Law messages on the listserver go back 12 years from March 2006 to February 2018. This means the archived messages are easily available. They are openly accessible without needing to log in, and discoverable via web search engines like Google. Int-Law subscribers and non-subscribers can access over a decade of international legal information shared via these open archives. To protect privacy, email addresses of message posters are obscured. This promotes unfettered sharing of information.

With the move to Google Groups, looks like the Int-Law list messages archives are also public. You do not need to log in to access Int-Law posts from February 2018 onward. I do not yet know if the Google Groups messages are Googleable, findable via web search engines. If so, Int-Law will continue to be easy to find out about and to subscribe to. And anyone can discover the information posted to Int-Law serendipitously via Googling. Int-Law messages being Google discoverable is a feature that helps Int-Law’s information-sharing mission.

It looks like the email addresses of Int-Law message posters are not obscured in the Google Groups public archives, so there might be privacy concerns and a possible increase in spam from posting. The move to Google Groups is intended to improve the security of the network. We will see what happens going forward.

INT-LAW Is A Global Legal Information Network

While the Int-Law list has changed hosts, it’s still a network of people around the globe exchanging legal information. The more people subscribed to Int-Law, the deeper the knowledge base. So, if you or someone you know works with foreign, comparative, and international legal information resources and are not subscribed to the Int-Law list, I encourage you to subscribe and use Int-Law via Google Groups.[3] The Int-Law list had over 800 subscribers from all over the world at the time it migrated to Google Groups. Help us continue to grow the network. And let us know what you think of the new features. Happy networking!


[1]Fast Forward: New Electronic Group Mail Targets Foreign, International Law Librarianship,” FCIL Newsletter, May 1991, at 6; Mila Rush, “INT-LAW Offers Quick, Informal Means of Communication,” FCIL Newsletter, October 1991, at 5. From email exchanges, it seems that the University of Minnesota and CIESIN at Columbia University collaborated in running Int-Law as far back as 2000. Int-Law was a BITNET LISTSERV when it started in April 1991, but, by the time CIESIN took over from UMN (at least by August 2003), it was a majordomo list. Int-Law moved back to the LISTSERV software on March 2006.

[2] Denis S. Marshall, “Rethinking Library Resource Sharing: Exploiting the Internet,” 1 Commonwealth Law Librarian 95, 104 (December 1992)(reprinting a June 16, 1992 message I posted on the Int-Law listserv).

[3] Here is the information you need to use the Int-Law list:

Post/send email to INT-LAW:
Subscribe INT-LAW:

Unsubscribe INT-LAW:

Opt out/Unsubscribe INT-LAW:

INT-LAW Google Groups page:

INT-LAW current archive:!forum/int-law.

INT-LAW old archive (through June 2018):

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