This constitutes a useful resource!

For this week’s blog post, we’ve decided to take you around the world….in constitutions!  Government and research nerds rejoice!

Nerd Crossing

Image by Jon Parise. CC license here.

All jokes aside, we are referring to a wonderful and freely available reference website: www.constituteproject.org. Initially funded with a grant from Google Ideas, “Constitute offers access to the world’s constitutions that users can systematically compare them across a broad set of topics — using an inviting, clean interface” (from the ‘About’ page).

If you’ve ever wondered about the gender equality laws in Tunisia, wished to compare France and Norway’s constitutions, or wanted to see a list of all of the constitutions in the world which grant judicial independence, this is the tool for you!  Read on to learn more about what content is included and how to navigate this resource.

What exactly is available…?

Unsurprisingly, most of the world’s constitutions are available to read/download on the Constitute Project’s website.  In addition to being able to read and search these documents, you can also compare constitutions and explore them by topic.

As noted on their ‘About’ page, “Currently Constitute includes the constitution that was in force in September of 2013 for nearly every independent state in the world, but we continue to update these texts as they are amended or replaced.”

How can I use this awesome tool?

In its most basic form, you can use this site to read and search the world’s constitutions.  The initial search page will list all countries alphabetically and offer a search box on the left side of the screen to let you look for something specific:

constitute1

Click image to enlarge.

While that functionality alone is quite useful, there’s a lot more you can do.

For instance, let’s say that you are doing some research about definitions or protections for indigenous groups in various countries.  You could use the ‘Topic’ links to navigate to ‘culture and identity’ –> ‘indigenous groups’ –> ‘citizenship of indigenous groups’ (or one of the other indigenous rights-related topics):

constitute2

Click image to enlarge.

Upon making this selection, you will see a list of all of the constitutions which include a piece about the citizenship of indigenous groups.  You could then select to read them individually, or you may choose a few to compare, like so:

constitute3

Click image to enlarge.

On the ‘compare’ screen, the relevant sections of each constitution will be highlighted so you can quickly and easily review them:

constitute4

Click image to enlarge.

For more detailed navigating information, check out their YouTube tutorial series:

Happy Searching!

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