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Ten things you didn’t know about the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law

By Katherine Marshall

1. Key dimensions: If you are lucky enough to own the entire ten volume set, plus the Index and Tables, you will need to be equipped with a sturdy shelf. Each volume of the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (MPEPIL) weighs roughly two kilograms.

2. Quality Control: Each article in the Encyclopedia can go through up to eight rounds of review to ensure that the scholarship is of the highest possible standard.

3.  Author credentials: Over 800 scholars and practitioners from 83 countries contributed to the volumes, making it one of the most definitive reference resources on public international law.

4. Continuous evolution: The Encyclopedia online is constantly changing with new content being added and many articles revised throughout the year!

5. An A-Z of public international law: The online version of the Encyclopedia contains a grand total of 1,639 articles, on subjects ranging from air warfare to the Zambezi River — and it’s growing. Better get started.

6. Bizarre content: The Encyclopedia contains many interesting and, sometimes, unusual entries. For example, did you know that, as a result of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, states are forbidden from claiming any territorial ownership on the moon? Also, did you know that the tuna fish is the most important commercial high migratory stock and is regulated in a total of five regional fishery management organizations?

7. Citations, citations, and more citations: The Index contains a complete list of citations for documents referenced in every article. That’s over 15,000 citations in total.

8. Number crunching: If you add together all the pages in the Encyclopedia and Index and you get… 12,836. If all pages were laid end to end, they would stretch nearly two miles.

9. Origins: The main precursor to MPEPIL was the Encyclopedia of Public International Law (EPIL), which was published between 1981 and 1990. However, radical changes in public international law over recent decades meant that nearly every article had to be completely re-written for this new edition.

10. Timeline: This new edition of the Encyclopedia began to be compiled in 2004 and was first published as an online database in 2008. Finally in 2012, it was published in print and has graced the bookshelves of law scholars ever since.

Katherine Marshall is Marketing Executive for Academic Law titles at Oxford University Press.

The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law is a comprehensive online resource containing peer-reviewed articles on every aspect of public international law. Written and edited by an incomparable team of over 800 scholars and practitioners, published in partnership with the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, and updated through-out the year, this major reference work is essential for anyone researching or teaching international law. An all-new user experience is coming summer 2013.

Oxford University Press is a leading publisher in Public International Law, including the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, latest titles from thought leaders in the field, and a wide range of law journals and online products. We publish original works across key areas of study, from humanitarian to international economic to environmental law, developing outstanding resources to support students, scholars, and practitioners worldwide.

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Image credit: Full Moon by Gregory H. Revera. Creative Commons License Wikimedia Commons

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