One promising metadata project dealing with the legal domain is URN:Lex (A Uniform Resource Name (URN) Namespace for Sources of Law (LEX). A proposal was submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) back in 2010 and was the product of a number of groups. The Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques of the Italian National Research Council led the charge and the initiative also involved Cornell’s Legal Information Institute.
“The purpose of the “lex” namespace is to assign an unequivocal identifier, in standard format, to documents that are sources of law. The identifier is conceived so that its construction depends only on the characteristics of the document itself and is, therefore, independent from the document’s on-line availability, its physical location, and access mode.”
“A URN Standard for Legal Document Ontology: a Best Practice in the Italian Senate,” is a nice paper that outlines the proposal for this legal metadata standard and includes Pierluigi Spinosa as one of the authors (also the author whose name appears on the IETF Draft).
I noticed that the IETF Draft is set to expire next week. I looked around but don’t see any definitive statement about the status of this project. The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) status was changed to “AD Evaluation” on April 29th, 2014.
An AD Evaluation status indicates that, “A specific AD (e.g., the Area Advisor for the WG) has begun reviewing the document to verify that it is ready for advancement. The shepherding AD is responsible for doing any necessary review before starting an IETF Last Call or sending the document directly to the IESG as a whole.”
“Ready for advancement” sounds promising.
But I’m left wondering: will URN:LEX continue to be developed or will it now just fade away?