An OASIS Open Repository for Legal XML Documents

Robert Richards reported yesterday on the Legal Informatics Research Network group that OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) has established a new open repository on Github.* The repository has been created to support the work of the OASIS LegalDocumentML (LegalDocML) Technical Committee a group dedicated to “advancing worldwide best practices for the use of XML in legal documents.”

The repository will contain “schema files, examples, exemplificative implementations and libraries, and documents related to developing a specification for Akoma Ntoso” and they are intending this collection of documents to be “as useful as possible for people who want to use them (e.g., developers) and contribute to improve them (e.g., comment, customization, restriction, extension).” They’ve also noted that although initiated by this OASIS Technical Group contributions to the repository are “invited from all parties, whether affiliated with OASIS or not.”

The Akomo Ntoso standard “aims to provide a format for long-term storage of and access to parliamentary, legislative and judicial documents that allows search, interpretation and visualization of documents.” The project also stresses the importance of open access which includes describing, classifying and structuring content to expose “meaningful elements that can be read and understood by software applications” and facilitate machine actionable processes. Taking advantage of the “structure and semantic components” of these documents will allow the development of information services that will “assist institutions and citizens to better play their respective roles.”


* If you’re interested in getting involved but new to Github you can learn the “how to git” basics in 15 minutes. XML basics may take you a little more time, but if you’re familiar with HTML you’re well on your way.


  1. Thanks for posting the link.
    Unfortunately, it requires membership,
    and my application for membership has been denied,
    so I have not looked at what they are trying to accomplish
    in real-world terms.

    I will-say though,
    It seems to me the legal system (the courts) refuses to formalize any semantics in natural language – they could simply specify an HTML format, but they don’t. They standardize
    on things like pdf and MSWord. Maybe XML will force the law to confront what digitization really means, but I am not optimistic.