The Legal Semantic Web Inches Forward

Those of you who are into legal informatics will like to know that there’s a proposal to form a new technical committee at OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) to work on “an open standard for machine-readable tagging of legal citations.” Legalcite, if the draft proposal is approved, will come up with a “tagging model” that would let content producers affix a variety of metadata to a case or statute citation in such a way that a computer could, first, recognize that the citation was just that: a legal citation; and then “understand” a number of things about that citation.

It’s no small task to standardize xml metadata for a given industry. And any legal “tags” must be able to accommodate a wide range of citation forms and style in use across common law jurisdictions and, ideally, styles in use in civil systems. From the draft proposal:

A non-proprietary and royalty-free citation markup standard designed with the input of subject matter experts and focused on the unique requirements of the broad legal community can provide the foundation for creating enriched content that can be useful across multiple groups of interested parties. It can provide a basis for creating more powerful editorial and data handling tools for legal content. It can support the development of federated citation databases that help connect legal professionals to resources. It can support the growth of open source legal content and applications. And it can become a foundation for new products and uses that can make the material more valuable to everyone in the legal community.

Those involved in proposing the new committee include representatives from MTG Management Consultants, Bloomberg, LexisNexis and the University of Bologna-CIRSFID.

[Hat tip: @cottinstef]

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