F. Tim Knight on Linked Data and Canadian Legal Resources

I am interested to see what comes out of the CanLII hackathon that took place this weekend. F. Tim Knight kindly shared slides and notes from his presentation on Friday, Linked Data and Canadian Legal Resources.

Don’t know what linked data is? Tim walks us step-by-step through what it is, some of the theoretical background of this concept, how linked data could be used, and how it might apply to Canadian legal resources (such as case law), especially using CanLII.

I especially recommend his slides with notes. In them, he encourages more open contributions of legal data:

If we want to support the linked open data initiative and be part of this emerging global database we should be working towards adding our structured legal data to the open cloud of linked data. Every contribution is useful and will lead to a critical mass of legal data.

and he suggests Canada could use more leadership in this area, a role that CanLII might step into:

There is a lot of work being done in Europe and the U.S. but activity in this country is rather quiet. But it seems like a logical next step for CanLII. CanLII is well positioned to take their place at the centre of the open legal data cloud in Canada. And I humbly encourage them to take this opportunity to do so.

I’m sure there are others in a similar position who might be interested and able to share their own data in this way.

Finally, he asks to be made aware of other open data initiatives:

I’d be interested to hear about any legally oriented or government organizations in Canada that might be considering participation in the development of a legal data cloud in Canada …

Incidentally, this was my first time having a look at YorkSpace where he posted the slides. Louis Mirando described it for us back in 2011. Lots of great content has been added–it is worth a look as well.


  1. Thanks for letting us know about Tim’s presentation. It’s a terrific proposal. I hope those in a position to take it further respond to his humble encouragement.

  2. As usual, Tim is able to take some pretty heady stuff and make it comprehensible. I particularly like the series of screens which show the growth of a semantic web. It’s like info-porn :)

  3. Connie: Thank you for mentioning my presentation! It was a great event and I’m hoping it will become an annual affair.

    And yes, please let me know if you discover any Canadian legal linked data projects.

    Wendy: info-porn indeed; such an exciting time to be on the potential threshold of a semantic web!