A Standardized Data/Markup Model to Support Neutral Citation of Court Cases, Legislation, and Regulations

Date: 2014-01-17
Version: 02
Prepared by: Robin Cover (OASIS)
Further Information: Discussion and Updates

As of September 12, 2012, community discussion was underway about the value of a standardization effort to define a non-proprietary and royalty-free citation markup language model for legal/legislative content. The proposed data model and markup language standard for neutral/universal legal citation would be of relevance to software developers, legal publishers and service providers, law librarians, court and legislative staff, linked data information architects, open government digital librarians, and legal analytics experts.

The proposed open standardization activity does not seek to place constraints on existing citation models, nor alter display/presentation formats for published legal citations as mandated or recommended within various jurisdictions. It seeks to establish a common information data model (conceptual model, vocabulary, and metadata definitions) for the structure and semantics of citation components needed in several genres of legal texts which have digital format representations. Excerpt from a recent draft proposal of 2013-07:

Problem: "...the number of officially binding electronic resources for legislation, case law, and official documents is increasing. Relying solely on the printed text of citations will add to the cost and burden of researching and complying with increasingly complex legal issues. A uniform approach to legal citations is crucial for the long-term accessibility and preservation of legal content..."

Solution: ... development of a formal vocabulary and markup language system for legal citations meeting the "unique requirements of the broad legal community [to] provide the foundation for creating enriched content that can be useful across multiple groups of interested parties. This model can provide a basis for creating more powerful editorial and data handling tools for legal content, and can support the development of federated citation databases that help connect legal professionals to resources. A legal citation markup standard can enable a new generation of tools and capabilities benefiting all players and allowing commercial entities to deliver new generations of products and services limited only by their imagination and ability to innovate..."

The collected citations below are intended to provide general background to the larger "legal citation" problem that continues to concern several classes of stakeholders. "Neutral citation" (medium-neutral, vendor-neutral, content-neutral citation) appears alongside "universal citation" and "universal legal citation" as a cover term, but varying nuances are not teased apart here.

Selections from the reference list:

Please contact Robin Cover to suggest additions or corrections for the following reference list. Similarly, send email if you would like further information about the ongoing standardization [proposal] discussions.


  • [1995] "Citation Formats Committee Task Force Report." By the American Association of Law Libraries. Law Library Journal 87 (1995), pages 581-632, with 136 notes. See especially: "The Problem of Legal Citation in the Electronic Age", and "The Final Report of the Task Force on Citation Formats" (page 577).
    The "Task Force Recommendations for Case Citation Form included: (1) "For those jurisdictions considering change to a medium neutral citation form, the Task Force recommends the use of the following case citation form: case name, year of decision, court, opinion number, and, where a pinpoint citation is needed, paragraph number... Paragraph numbering should be consecutive from beginning to end of the decision, including concurrences and dissents... Each court should have its own abbreviation. Periods should be left off, as they are superfluous..." (2) "Regardless of whether or when jurisdictions adopt the Wisconsin model, the Task Force recommends that all jurisdictions begin to number their decisions by paragraphs, and encourages citation to paragraph numbers."

  • [1996] American Bar Association (ABA) Resolution on a System for Official Citation. Supplied by Don Bivens (Chair, ABA Standing Committee on Technology and Information Systems) in the ABA document of February 2003, per summary: "The American Bar Association created a special committee to review the universal citation issue in 1995. The Committee sought input from throughout the legal profession, legal publishers, and other interested groups. The result of their extraordinary efforts was the resolution that the House of Delegates considered, and passed, in 1996.** The resolution stated a preferred format for citing to an American judicial opinion, expressing a vendor-neutral and medium-neutral set of terms to identify the court, page, and date the opinion was published The ABA led the way in universal citation and this resolution acted as a spark for other organizations that were also considering the issue of uniformity...The creation of a standard list of programming tags for citation [now] requires development of citation format standards. LegalXML, Inc., which joined the larger OASIS XML standards organization in 2001, has begun looking at universal citation activities and attempting to create a standard set of citation format elements — how to describe the court, date, docket number, and so on — in order to start creating an XML citation standard for legal materials..."

    "[ABA 1996:] ** RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association recommends that: All jurisdictions adopt a system for official citation to case reports that is equally effective for printed case reports and for case reports electronically published on computer disks or network services, that system consisting of the following key elements: The court should include the distinctive sequential decision number described in paragraph C in each decision at the time it is made available to the public. The court should number the paragraphs in the decision. The court should require all case authorities to be cited by stating the year, a designator of the court, the sequential number of the decision, and where reference is to specific material within the decision, the paragraph number at which that material appears. Until electronic publications of case reports become generally available to and commonly relied upon by courts and lawyers in the jurisdiction, the court should strongly encourage parallel citations, in addition to the primary citation described in paragraph C, to commonly used printed case reports. When a cited authority is not available in those printed case reports, the court should require counsel to provide printed copies to opposing counsel and to the court. The parallel citation should only be to the first page of the report and parallel pinpoint citations should not be required. The standard form of citation, shown for a decision in a federal court of appeals, should be: Smith v. Jones, 1996 5Cir 15, ¶ 18, 22 F.3d 955 — 1996 is the year of the decision; 5Cir refers to the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit; 15 ndicates that this citation is to the 15th decision released by the court in the year; 18 is the paragraph number where the material referred to is located, and the remainder is the parallel citation to the volume and page in the printed case report where the decision may also be found."

  • [1997] "A Universal Citation Database as a Catalyst for Reform in Scholarly Communication." By Robert Cameron. First Monday 2:4 (April 1997).

  • [1998] "President's Briefing: The Path to Citation Reform." By AALL President. AALL [American Association of Law Libraries] Spectrum, July 1998.
    "... In January 1994, Louisiana's Supreme Court adopted a vendor-neutral citation form for its decisions, to enable increased competition for publication of the decisions. Meanwhile, a committee of the bar in Wisconsin was debating the idea of a vendor- and medium-neutral citation form and the establishment of an electronic archive of opinions. In March, concerned about the Balkanization of legal citation form, and convinced of the potential leadership that law librarians could display in this area, American Association of Law Libraries President Kay Todd (Paul Hastings et al., Atlanta, Georgia) appointed a Task Force on Citation Formats, chaired by Lynn Foster (University of Arkansas at Little Rock)... Following months of study and debate, the AALL Task Force — comprised of law librarians, publishers' representatives, and a reporter of decisions — issued its recommendations in March 1995. The most important were: [1] Those jurisdictions considering change to a medium-neutral form should use case name, year of decision, court, opinion number, and, where a pinpoint citation is needed, paragraph number. [2] Jurisdictions should begin to number all paragraphs within their decisions..."

  • [1999] Universal Citation Guide. By the Committee on Citation Formats, American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). See also the subsequent revised editions, e.g., Second Edition and AALL announcement for the Third Edition.
    The Guide documents AALL's "recommendations for universal citation rules for judicial decisions, statutes, and administrative regulations. Designed in an easy-to-use format, [it] complements The Bluebook by effectively bridging the gap between the current print-based citation forms and the technology-based future of legal information. Universal citation works equally well for both print and electronically-published law. The guide provides a roadmap for constructing actual citations for those jurisdictions that have adopted the universal citation form. For those jurisdictions still debating the issue of citation reform, it serves as a model for adoption."

  • [December 2000] "A Neutral Citation Standard for Case Law." Edited by Daniel Poulin and Martin Felsky, Canadian Citation Committee. Goal: "The neutral citation aims to permit the permanent identification of a judicial decision independently of its mode of publication, be it paper or electronic. It has no descriptive elements pertaining to the hierarchical level or to the internal structure of the institutions concerned." For related discussion, see Wikipedia notes on Neutral Citation in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Example definition: Medium-Neutral Citation (case citation), e.g., via Macquarie University Library: "give the abbreviation for the court and not a named law report; use court assigned case numbers rather than a volume and page number; use paragraph numbers rather than page numbers..."
    "Summary: In 1996, a committee of the Canadian Judicial Council produced a standard for the preparation of judgments in electronic form. This standard, which recommended the numbering of paragraphs, among other things, received a warm welcome from the judiciary. The adoption of this standard has led to the establishment of a second standard for neutral, uniform case law citation. This new method of citation has three essential elements: the traditional style of cause, the core of the citation (containing the year of the decision, a court or tribunal identifier and an ordinal number attributed to the decision) as well as certain optional elements. With this new citation, for example, a court of appeal decision could be cited as follows: Smith v. Leblanc, 1998 BCCA 21. The most obvious advantage of this approach is that the court or tribunal assigns this citation at the very moment the decision is rendered. This citation is unique, complete, immediately available and permanent. This proposal is made at a time when other similar initiatives are being promoted around the world, notably in the United States, Australia,and New Zealand..."

  • [January 2003] American Bar Association Memorandum: 'creation of an American universal system of citation for case reports, statutes, administrative documents and other resources.' By Ernest Gellhorn and Judy Kaleta (Section Delegates). 2003 Midyear Meeting Agenda. "The ABA Standing Committee on Technology and Information Systems urges jurisdictions to participate in the creation of an American universal system of citation for case reports, statutes, administrative documents and other resources upon which the legal profession relies... [JK]: The ABA passed a resolution in 1996 supporting a uniform citation and specified a case citation format. The 1996 resolution limits that ABA's ability to compromise. I recommend we not oppose this recommendation. [EG]: I'll go a step further and support this recommendation. Please note that this recommendation refers to a uniform citation format for identifying cases, statutes or other legal materials — not citation systems such as the Bluebook or the Maroon Book which describe how to implement systems designed by others. With the advent of computers and what is called XML citation standards for legal materials, the need for a uniform format is increasingly important if briefs, cases and articles are to create readily usable links..."

    See also Peter Martin in "Neutral Citation," page 5: "The ABA appointed a Special Committee on Citation Issues in August 1995. It produced a report that was released in final form during May of 1996. The report led in August to a House of Delegates resolution calling on the nation's courts to adopt neutral citation...." as reported now in Legislative Policies of the American Bar Association, November 2011, pages 38-39: "Courts/Judges/Procedure" — Universal Citation System: Recommend that courts adopt a universal citation system that is equally effective for printed and electronically published decisions. Such a system should require each issuing court to assign a sequential number to each decision made publicly available, and to assign sequential internal paragraph numbers within each decision. 8/96 [...] Recommend the development and implementation of a universal American citation standard that reflects ABA recommendations and other formats for case reports, statutes, administrative documents and other legal documents through cooperative efforts among federal and state entities. (03M101) 2/03"

  • [December 09, 2006] "A Public Index of Case Law References: The End of Multiple and Complex Citations." By Marc van Opijnen. Presented at JURIX 2006, 19th International JURIX Conference, December 7-9, 2006, Paris, France. Conference Proceedings edited by Tom van Engers: Legal Knowledge and Information Systems: JURIX 2006: The Nineteenth Annual Conference, ISBN 1-58603-698-X. See also SSRN, and subsequently: European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) in LJN. This paper reports on the development of the Dutch LJN, and the importance of the publicly available index. See also the ECLI overview.

    "Case law citations are often lenghty and complex, despite the development of neutral citation standards. Within the Dutch judiciary a public index with more than 350,000 case law references is developed which makes the citing of references superfluous. This paper describes the realization of the index, the logical model and the interfaces. Some possible improvements are discussed, both in the logical model and in the way indexnumbers are assigned... For nearly every lawyer case law is an indispensable source for daily practice. However, to cite a judicial decision in such a way that the reader is able to identify and find it, can be quite strenuous. For developers of legal information systems the absence of a citation standard or uniform resource identifier (URI) is an important hindrance in realizing user-friendly systems for the dissemination of case law from different sources. In [Section] 2 a review of the most common Dutch citation-standard shows where citation problems arise in practice. Also the emergence of neutral citation standards is discussed here. The development of both the Dutch citation standard and the index of references is discussed in [Section] 4, and 5 focusses on the public accessibility of this register. [Section] 6 describes the logical structure of the index, together with some possible improvements. [Section] 7 finally explains why the index isn't perfect yet, and how the index could evolve into a system which completely covers all case law published in the Netherland..."

  • [Spring 2007] "Neutral Citation, Court Web Sites, and Access to Authoritative Case Law." By Peter Martin, Cornell University Law School. Law Library Journal 99:2 (Spring 2007), pages 329-364. With 164 notes. This landmark publication constitites an "edited version of remarks delivered at Legal Information and the Development of American Law: Further Thinking about the Thoughts of Bob Berring, a symposium held at Boalt Hall on the University of California, Berkeley campus, October 21, 2006." Other sources/formats: PDF; Cornell Law Library (2006); AALL Publications. [archive/cache]. An excellent 2011 update from Peter Martin is available in the video prepared for the Initial Meeting of UniversalCitation.org, held July 25, 2011.

  • [April 2007] "Cite Unseen: How Neutral Citation and America's Law Schools Can Cure Our Strange Devotion to Bibliographical Orthodoxy and the Constriction of Open and Equal Access to the Law." By Ian Gallacher, Syracuse University College of Law. In: Syracuse College of Law Faculty Scholarship, Paper 2. April 01, 2007.

  • [Fall 2007] "The Next Generation of Legal Citations: A Survey of Internet Citations in the Opinions of the Washington Supreme Court and Washington Appellate Courts, 1999-2005." By Tina Ching, Seattle University School of Law. Journal of Appellate Practice and Process. Volume 9, Number 2, Fall 2007. "As more legal research is conducted online, it is reasonable to conclude that there will be a corresponding increase in citations to the Internet by judges in their opinions. With the widespread public use of the Internet to access information along with the constant changes and impermanence of websites, citing to the Internet should be an issue of increasing concern to the legal community across the country. This paper surveys the types of Internet sources the Washington state Supreme Court and Appellate Court justices are citing. It discusses the interrelated issues of link rot and the impermanence of web pages, citation format, authentication and preservation of online electronic legal information..."

  • [December 2007] "'HTTP' or 'URN' URIs for Legal Resources? How About Both?" By João Alberto de Oliveira Lima, Monica Palmirani, and Fabio Vitali. Presented at JURIX 2007: the Jurix 2007 Workshop on Legislative XML, December 15, 2007. "Legal resources in different national standards have been named using two different identifiers, both backed up by the W3C and IETF: Italian NormeInRete [now: Normattiva Project: Il Portale Della Legge Vigente] and Brazilian LexML rely on URN-based URIs, while African Akoma Ntoso, Dutch Metalex and many others use HTTP-based URI... In this paper we introduce an ontologically sound approach to the generation of URI-based addresses for legislative resources that can address the needs of modern parliamentary document systems, and give room to both URN-based and HTTP-based addressing approaches. Conversions between approaches becomes easy and completely automatic, as long as the correct entities are referenced in both approaches. It is our intention to suggest the CEN Metalex workshop to consider this proposal for standardization and internationalization... We show that HTTP-based URIs have the same useful characteristics that URN-based ones are known to have. Secondly, we show that HTTP-based URIs can, in fact, exceed URN-based ones in terms of flexibility and standard support. Finally, we propose a common framework that can accommodate both approaches (and a few more, including the OpenURLs standard) with conversion paths among them that are easy to implement and to maintain..."

  • [December 15, 2007] "Resilience in Identifier Design, and Some Thoughts on Granularity." By David Shetland and Thomas Bruce. Prepared for the workshop Standards for Legislative XML. Writtten as a position statement for the Workshop on Legislative XML associated with the 2007 JURIX conference in Leiden. Also available in PDF.
    "... The Legal Information Institute (LII) has a great deal of experience with processing the United States Code (USC), as well as US Supreme Court opinions and various other legislative and case law resources. Here we address two closely related questions that confront the XML and Legislation Workshop associated with Jurix 2007, having to do with our use of identifiers and the means by which we determine granularity....The USC consists of about 50,000 sections containing the statutes as codified, together with about 8,000 section-size container elements like Chapter. All authoring and revision is done by the US Congress and its Office of the Law Revision Counsel before the LII receives it. It is transmitted in a specialized, highly modal encoding used for typesetting. Decisions about appropriate granularity and identifier schemes — which in any case are closely related — have been driven by the realities and contingencies of an automated filtering process used to create an XML version of the US Code from this typesetting data... The task of presenting statutory text derived from a legacy data format, in a manner that retains authority, is far different from the task of defining a new approach to authoring the source data. Techniques and devices for discovery of existing material in a data set (reflection, etc.) as well as for resolution of addressing ambiguities are needed by both kinds of support systems. But a variety of identifier schemes may be expected in support of the different systems. In fact they will co-exist within any system supporting migration from legacy data. Any single-identifier mandate must be considered external to the mandates inherent in the base data sets, which must be allowed their own identifier schemes, if only recorded as part of the routine metadata..."

  • [February 2008] "PRESTO: A WWW Information Architecture for Legislation and Public Information Systems." By Rick Jelliffe. O'Reilly XML.Com Articles, and source and PDF overview.
    "PRESTO (P - Public, Permanent URLs; REST - Representation, State Transfer; O - Object-oriented) is not something new: its basic ideas are presupposed in a lot of people's thinking about the web, and many people have given names to various parts. The elevator pitch for PRESTO is this: 'All documents, views and metadata at all significant levels of granularity and composition should be available in the best formats practical from their own permanent hierarchical URIs.' I would see PRESTO as the kind of methodology that a government could adopt as a whole-of-government approach, in particular for public documents and of these in particular for legislation and regulations....Lets say we are a government and we have adopted PRESTO so all our legislatation is online with these kinds of permanent URLs including every numbered thing inside the legislation. Then we want to be able ask 'What other laws reference Part 4 of this Act?' In PRESTO, we say 'OK, the object here is Part 4, so we want to extend the URL for Part 4 to add a name which means the list of references.' So we would have a URL like http://www.eg.gov/laws/ChildProtectionAct1904/1993/Part4/Referenced so that this gives a new URL, hierarchically based on the object it was dependent on. What we don't do is http://www.eg.gov/functions/getReferences?to=/laws/ChildProtectionAct1094/1993/Part4 (which is procedural/functional) and [arguably] not http://www.eg.gov/laws/ChildProtectionAct1904/1993/Part4?query=Referenced. ...PRESTO decouples representations from resource identification. The particular details of how to form the permanent URLs, which methods are available, etc are the next level of question... PRESTO is is not so much a general statement of principle, it is a program of action: it is not that when you have some high value or easy concepts or resources and then you give them URLs, but you systematically make sure you have URIs for everything significant at every significant level of granularity (and history). And in particular, for documents...PRESTO is about emphasizing that the decision to have persistent URIs for everything significant is a decision, not something intrinsic to an information collection..."

  • [October 01, 2008] "Finding Case Law on a European Scale: Current Practice and Future Work." By Marc van Opijnen (Department for Internet Applications of the Council for the Judiciary, the Netherlands). Paper presented at JURIX 2008, and published in the Conference Proceedings: Legal Knowledge and Information Systems — JURIX 2008: The Twenty-First Annual Conference, edited by Enrico Francesconi, Giovanni Sartor, and Daniela Tiscornia. ISBN 978-1-58603-952-3. See also the SSRN metadata.

    "There is a growing awareness that the national judge plays a vital role in the European legal system, as is illustrated by the emergence of various initiatives for the cross-border access of national (EU-related) case law. Because these and various national systems all use their own identifiers, findability and citability are seriously hampered. This paper assesses current developments and tries to define a solution for remaining problems. A European Case Law Identifier and a central index are fundamental elements in this solution... Detail: There is a political demand for an improved cross-border accessibility of national case law. Because of different needs in specific fields of law and different users groups, and because of political and technological complexity, it is impracticable to build a central database. That wouldn't even be desirable because existing solutions already show a variety of audiences, metadata, interfaces and content. Instead, it is better to facilitate the interchangeability of — at least — identifiers. Making use of the national identifier, a European identifier on the work level is constructed. On top of realizing the ECLI, a central index keeps track of the availability of all decisions in public and private databases, with their ECLI and editorial expression and language expressions. Hyperlinks to a case can all point to the central index, giving users an always actual view of existing expressions of the decision. Because of the specific responsibility of the EU — as expressed by e.g. the EP-resolution — the initiative for introducing ECLI and index is with the EU. Preferably, such an initiative should be broader than ECLI; providing a European-wide metadata schema, could improve case law search possibilities to a great extend... It should be stressed explicitly that the ECLI is not intended to replace other (national) identifiers, it is just a prerequisite for cross-border accessibility of national case law. On the other hand, for countries looking for a good solution of numbering case law on a national level, it could very well be used at the national level also..."

  • [December 11, 2008] "Identifiers, Metadata and Document Structures: Essential Ingredients for Inter-European Case Law Search." By Marc van Opijnen (Council for the Judiciary, the Netherlands). Paper presented at the European Legal Access Conference, Paris, 10-12 December 2008. 19 pages. See the metadata document for Journées européennes d'informatique juridique and landing page). The document is also available in Word format, accompanied by a slideset (34 slides) in PDF and Powerpoint formats.

    "Abstract: After establishing the need for cross-border dissemination of national (EC) law, this paper reviews already existing initiatives like JuriFast, Dec.Nat, Caselex, and Jure. For future development three basic challenges are defined and elaborated. The lack of a unique and persistent case law identifier gives rise to many problems when citing and searching case law. The paper describes the way this issue is tackled in the Netherlands, by using a national identifier together with a publicly available reference-index. Inspired by the advantages of this system, a proposal is made for a European Case Law Identifier. To facilitate the inter-European search for, and exchange of case law the paper also discusses the need for a harmonized set of metadata, and the necessity to develop a European interchange format for court decisions...

    Identifiers (broad variety): Every country has its own tradition and — sometimes extensive, sometimes minimal — rules on citation. These rules and traditions mostly stem from the pre-internet era, and therefore cause problems in a rapidly changing legal information landscape. [The issues] may be summarized as follows: (a) judicial decisions are often identified / cited by their 'attributes' (court, date, case number); which do not have a fixed notation and are therefore not suited in an electronic environment. Moreover, these attributes do not state anything on the exact location (law journal, database record, URL) where the judgment is to be found. (b) Therefore, often a 'publication reference' is added — an identifier pointing to such a specific location. Such a reference (e.g. NJ 2008/37) though is mostly vendorspecific: if you do not have (fee-based) access to the journal or database, you will not find the judgment (easily), even if it's also available in a source you do have access to. (c) Also, the traditional identifier often is not medium neutral: it is built on a concept (pages) which not only falls into oblivion, but might also lead to ambiguous citations... A neutral identifier is necessary to enable citing case law in a unique, medium-neutral and vendor-neutral way. To stress the fact that the courts themselves are responsible for the numbering of their decision, it might also be called a 'court designated identifier... The most important pan-European initiative at the moment is Metalex/CEN, which is developing a CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA) on an Open XML interchange format for legal and legislative resources. Metalex/CEN is not restricted to document structures, but also comprises a sound architecture for metadata and identifiers for the various documentary levels...."

  • [May 14, 2009] "Authentication of Digital Repositories." By John Joergensen. May 14, 2009. VoxPopuLII. See also on the authenticity of legal records, per UELMA requirements, Joergensen's 2013 account of the N.J. Legislature corpus.
    "... We are confronted with a new set of choices. On the one hand, there is expensive access to the collection of a large vendor, who has earned the trust of their users through both long tradition and by their sheer power over the market. On the other, there are court and government-based sources, which generally make efforts to avoid holding themselves out as either official or as reliably authenticated sources, and a number of smaller enterprises, which offer lower cost or free access to materials that they harvest, link to, or generate from print themselves... The crux of any debate about authentication comes down to this disconnect between the perceptions and needs of the professional and librarian communities, and what most Internet law publishers do to produce accurate information for the public... I question the need for an outside provider to certify the authenticity of a document that is being provided directly from GPO. Note what the certification really amounts to: an MD5 hash that has been verified and 'certified'... The certificate itself, however, doesn't do anything more than that. The important thing is the MD5 sum upon which the certificate relies. In addition, the certificate is invalid as soon as any alterations whatsoever are made to the document. Again, this makes some sense, but does not address the need and utility to add value to the original document, such as format conversion to HTML, XML or other useful formats, insertion of hypertext links, addition of significant metadata, etc. The answer to this problem is to retain the MD5 sum, while dropping the certificate. The retained MD5 sum can still be used to demonstrate a chain of custody..."

  • [March 01, 2010] "Environmentally-Friendly Citations." By Ivan Mokanov. March 01, 2010. VoxPopuLII.
    "... Today in Canada, nearly three quarters of citations to recent case law use the neutral citation — an industry-independent, open identifier assigned by courts to their decisions... The interpretation of cases and statutes in their surrounding context of citing and cited legal documents is crucial in legal practice..The problem is well known. Print report citations were not designed to function outside the context of the report series they belong to. For example, 301 D.L.R. (4th) 513 does not mean anything to you if you don't have the Dominion Law Reports nearby. Even if you were lucky enough to have the series in your firm's library, you could not safely cite a case by, for example, 301 D.L.R. (4th) 513 and expect all your readers to understand what you are saying unless you assume that all your readers have the Dominion Law Reports in their libraries... Nobody will dispute the fact that, for all practical purposes, electronic sources are the research tool. Printed reports will wither and gradually disappear. Those that remain because of their official status will be used, not for research, but only as the recognized source of citable law...."

  • [May 30, 2010] "XML in Legislature/Parliament Environments: The Centrality of Line/Page Number Citation in Amendment Cycles." By Sean McGrath. In Sean McGrath's Weblog.
    "... the centrality of line/page number citation in amendment cycles. That is the topic I want to address in this post. The standard XML model goes something like this: (a) find out what the publication/outputs are (be they paper, cd-roms, websites, e books, whatever); (b) classify the outputs from a content perspective i.e., bills are different from journals are different from... (c) create hierarchical schemas that capture the logical structure of the outputs. Separate out the logical structure from the "accidents" of the rendering you are looking at. I.e. separate the content from the presentation of the content. Things like font, line breaks, page breaks, list ornamentations, footnote locations etc. (d) figure out how to programmatically layer on the presentation information using stylesheet technologies, bespoke rendering algorithms etc. (e) Create author/edit workflows that concentrate on the logical view of the data. Leave as many aspects of presentation to be applied automatically in the final publication production systems as possible... Note how important — I would argue central — line/page numbers are to what is going on here at a business level. In the standard XML model discussed above, line/page numbers are throwaway artifacts of the publishing back-end. They are not important and certainly should not be part of the logical data model. But look at the problem from the perspective of the elected representatives, the drafting attorneys, the chamber clerks, the lobbiests,...The line/page numbers are absolutely central to the business process of managing how the law at time T becomes that law at time T+1..."

  • [July 2010] "LegisLink.Org: Simplified Human-Readable URLs for Legislative Citations." By Joe Carmel. VoxPopuLII.
    "... Legislative documents reside at various government Websites in various formats (TXT, HTML, XML, PDF, WordPerfect). URLs for these documents are often too long or difficult to construct... LegisLink.org is a URL Redirection Service with the goal of enabling Internet access to legislative material using citation-based URLs rather than requiring users to repeatedly click and scroll through documents to arrive at a destination.... LegisLink (1) provides links to citations that are otherwise not easy for users to create; (2) makes it easy to get to a specific location in a document, which saves time; (3) makes it easier to locate documents and citations, especially when they have been issued by a jurisdiction with which one is unfamiliar; (4) [provides URIs] that won't break over time; (5) does not require governments to expend resources..."

  • [August 2010] "Normattiva: Database of Italian Legislation." By Sergio Stone. Legal Research Plus [Legal Research instructors at Stanford Law School]. Normattiva: Il Portale della Lege Vigente, according to World Wiki Encyclopedia of Law [2013-09-30] is successor to the Italian "NormeinRete" Project. Begun in 1999, "NIR-Normeinrete was defined as a 'Portal of access to rules which have been published by the participating Public Administrations'. It collected and standardized texts from existing legislative sources. It also offered search and retrieval services operating on all Italian laws since 1904, and utilities for automated hyperlinking... In 2010, the Italian Government created Normattiva ('active norm/law' or 'norms on the net'), with its final goal being 'the creation of a fully integrated database that offer a unique, friendly access to the whole corpus of norms (from several sources) that regulate the several spheres of social life', replacing a ["NormeinRete"] website that had been for almost ten years doing some similar functions.." Normattiva "is a database of Italian legislation since 1946 published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale. The databsde provides full-text of legislation and links to subsequent acts that have modified the statute; the goal of the database is to provide access to the statute as originally passed, as it currently stands, and as it read in a specific year.."

    Identifiers used in the Normattiva Project: Il Portale Della Legge Vigente. See the online FAQ, Q: Come si fa a linkare gli atti di Normattiva? A: Le norme contenute in 'Normattiva' sono raggiungibili sia attraverso le pagine di ricerca, che forniscono come risultato i link alle singole norme, sia attraverso il meccanismo dei link URN (Uniform Resource Name). Gli URN sono identificatori univoci e permanenti di risorse in Internet (standard definito in RFC 2141) e quelli usati da "Normattiva" sono rappresentazioni di riferimenti ad atti della normativa nazionale italiana. Il testo degli atti di 'Normattiva', raggiunti attraverso il meccanismo dei link URN, può essere visualizzato in una qualsiasi delle seguenti versioni: originale, vigente alla data di consultazione, vigente ad una data specifica, multivigente... Creare un link a una specifica norma presente in 'Normattiva' è molto semplice. In pratica è sufficiente copiare i seguenti link: [1] http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:decreto.legge:AAAA-MM-GG;NNN (per i decreti legge); [2] http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:legge:AAAA-MM-GG;NNN (per le leggi); [3] http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:costituzione:1947-12-27 (per la Costituzione)... Ad esempio,l'URN http://www.normattiva.it/uri-res/N2Ls?urn:nir:stato:decreto.legge:2000-01-07;1 produce un elenco di n. 2 atti: la Legge Costituzionale 17 gennaio 2000, n. 1 ed il Decreto-Legge 7 gennaio 2000, n.1, che deve essere gestito in fase di presentazione..."

  • [August 14, 2010] "legislation.gov.uk: Credit Where It's Due" [Citing portions of legislative documents, with annotations and revisions]. By Jeni Tennison, Blog. Explaining the complexity of structuring and referencing legislative content "...to address portions of an item of legislation" with annotations, revisions, and other changes over time. See also The Stationery Office (TSO), 'Legislation.gov.uk', and Crown Legislation Markup Language (CLML)
    [article about] "... the new legislation.gov.uk website and its underlying API.... if you've been reading Sean McGrath's blog you'll know that as far as content goes, legislation is about as tough as you can get. For a start, Acts and Statutory Instruments are semi-structured documents, not tabular data. It's not a simple matter of storing and extracting rows in a database: we need to be able to address portions of an item of legislation such as Local Government Act 1988 (c. 9, SIF 81:2), Sch. 3 para. 13(1)(b)(2) (this an actual citation! I am not making this up!). The content itself is complex. For legislation.gov.uk, the main challenge is not to do with faithfully reconstructing page and line breaks (fortunately!) but how to represent complex, annotated, changes to legislation over time, and then how to present them [emph added]. Much of this had already been done (in terms of technology) within the Statute Law and OPSI websites, although the data comes from a variety of sources over time, each with its own set of peculiarities to be navigated. The larger challenge here was to provide a mechanism of navigating through the content that made clear the distinctions between the various versions of legislation that people can look at and warning them about their status without overwhelming them with information... When you consider all the versions of all the possible fragments of all the items of legislation, you're talking about 6.5 million distinct documents, each of which is available in HTML, XML, PDF and for which there is some RDF metadata..."

  • [August 15, 2010] "Legislation.gov.uk [and Identifier URIs]." By John Sheridan. VoxPopuLII. See also the "Crown Legislation Mark-up Language (CLML) User Survey" and "The Stationery Office (TSO), 'Legislation.gov.uk', and Crown Legislation Markup Language (CLML)."
    "... Legislation.gov.uk is extensive, covering the four jurisdictions that make up the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and over 800 years of history...The simplest way to get hold of the underlying data on legislation.gov.uk is to go to a piece of legislation on the Website, either a whole item, or a part or section, and just append /data.xml or /data.rdf to the URL. So, the data for, say, Section 1 of the Communications Act 2003, which is at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/section/1, is available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/section/1/data.xml... The XML conforms to the Crown Legislation Markup Language (CLML) and associated schema.. here are three types of URI for legislation on legislation.gov.uk, namely, identifier URIs, document URIs and representation URIs. Identifier URIs are for the 'concept' of a piece of legislation, how it was, how it is, and how it will be... Our use of these follow the Linked Data principles — the identifier URI is for a so-called non-information resource... We were also keen that the UK's Statute Book make a contribution to the growing Web of Linked Data.

    We have made use of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and the MetaLex vocabularies, primarily to relate the different types of resource we are making available. FRBR has the notion of a work, expressions of that work, manifestations of those expressions, and items. Similarly, MetaLex has the concepts of a BibliographicWork and BibliographicExpression. In the context of legislation.gov.uk, the identifier URIs relate to the work. Different versions of the legislation (current, original, different points in time, or prospective) relate to different expressions. The different formats (HTML, HTML Snippets, XML, and PDF) relate to the different manifestations. We have also made extensive use of Dublin Core Terms, for example to reflect that different versions apply to geographic extents. This is important as, for example, the same section of a statute may have been amended in one way as it applies in Scotland and in another way for England and Wales. We think FRBR, MetaLex, and Dublin Core Terms have all worked well, individually and in combination, for relating the different types of resource that we are making available..."

  • [September 2010] "Time to Turn the Page on Print Legal Information." By Jason Eiseman. VoxPopuLII.
    "... there are genuine concerns about online-only legal information. The big sticking points seem to be (in no particular order) officialness, authenticity, preservation, and citeability. Each issue is worthy of, and has been the subject of, much discussion... Citeability also becomes an issue as print legal information disappears. If there is no print reporter volume in which an opinion is issued, then how would one cite to an opinion (setting aside for a moment Lexis and Westlaw citations)? However, efforts towards implementing 'medium-neutral legal citation formats' have already been made. According to Ivan Mokanov's recent VoxPopuLII post, most citations in Canada are of a neutral format. In the United States, LegisLink.org has made an effort to improve online citations, as Joe Carmel describes in his recent post. Work on URN:LEX and other standards has resulted in some progress towards dealing with the citeability issue. Organizations like the AALL Electronic Legal Information Access & Citation Committee also deserve credit for taking this on... Even The Bluebook supports alternative citation formats. For example, rule 10.3.3, 'Public Domain Format,' specifies how to cite to a public domain or 'medium-neutral format'. The Bluebook even goes so far as to allow citation in a jurisdiction's specified format. But despite all this work, nothing has yet stuck..."

  • [October 2010] "LexML Brazil Project." By João Lima [LexML Project Lead], with LexML Brazil core team members João Holanda, João Rafael, and Marcos Fragomeni. VoxPopuLII. LexML Brazil is an information network that aims to organize Brazil's legislative and legal information... In September 2010, its index ranged through more than 1.5 million documents. By indexing the metadata collected from several institutions using the OAI-PMH protocol, the portal unifies access to a variety of legislative and legal information sources, which is a step toward the goal of guaranteeing Brazilians' constitutional right of access to information.

    "Notational Plane: The definition of uniform and persistent identifiers is fundamental for the creation and maintenance of an information chain. Identifiers are already part of the legal domain. For identification purposes, numbers are attributed to rulings, decisions, abridgments, and bills, allowing references by means of textual remissions. In the computational environment, the creation of persistent and uniform identifiers allows not only identification and reference, but also access to documents by means of textual hyperlinks. Based on the experience of the Italian project Norme in Rete with respect to URN (Uniform Resource Name) identifiers, LexML defines a grammar for the construction of identifiers for legislative and legal documents in Brazil. As an example, the name urn:lex:br:federal:lei:1993-06-21;8666 identifies, in a persistent and unique way, the Federal Act No. 8666, of June 21, 1993. [http://www.lexml.gov.br/urn/urn:lex:br:federal:lei:1993-06-21;8666]. If all information systems agree with respect to the identifiers, it is possible to share descriptive metadata, as well as information about semantic relationships, such as regulation, amendment, abrogation, etc. The Linker service, accessible through the LexML Portal... creates hyperlinks automatically through a dynamic textual analysis that identifies textual remissions of [i.e., citations to] normative documents. These hyperlinks can be used to navigate through textual remissions..."

  • [November 19, 2010] "Searching References to Secondary EU Legislation." By Marc van Opijnen. Paper presented at the Fourth International Workshop on Juris-informatics (JURISIN 2010), November 18-19, 2010. Proceedings edited by Satoshi Tojo in Springer LNCS volume (Tokyo, 2010). This paper deals with citation parsing, apart from the notion of canonicalizing complex case law citations. See also the ECLI overview.

    "At the national level numerous judgments are referring to secondary EU legislative instruments, like directives and regulations. When searching for these citations however the user is confronted with low recall and precision, due to inconsistent citation practices and poorly configured search engines. After an in-depth analysis of these causes this paper describes a language- and platform neutral solution. A critical note is added on EU legislative custom and the EUR-Lex standard for referencing elements of secondary EU legislation. Details: [...] users encounter severe problems searching databases for judgments on EU law: case law is generally stored as plain text, without well-structured references or metadata. Due to poor adherence to citation standards by authors, search engines misunderstanding punctuation marks in queries, and non-reprehensible ignorance by users, recall and precision on searches for documents citing secondary EU legislation are dissatisfyingly meagre. In multilingual and/or distributed environments these problems are multiplied. The solution described in Section 3 ('pattern matching in combination with converting document numbers to Celex-numbers') leads to a radical improvement in search results. How to search for specific elements of EU acts is described in Section 4, together with a proposal for the revival of a European standard. Conclusions are drawn in Section 5, together with some recommendations for future work at the European level... if a legal researcher wants to know which judgments are rendered on Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71, how can he be served with the best possible recall and precision? Query-expansion is not a good idea: it requires a very complex script, a lot of resources during runtime, and it won't solve all problems mentioned. Instead, a solution was developed that doesn't try to improve the search engine, but to help it by structuring the indexed documents. It has three basic ingredients: pre-processing with pattern matching (Section 3.1), conversion of document numbers to Celex-numbers (Section 3.2) and structured storage (Section 3.3)...."

  • [December 2010] "Online Legislation Databases in Switzerland." By Blazej Blazejewski. Extent: 52 pages. With references. "... CHLexML is a XML schema developed by the SVRI. This XML schema expressly addresses the need for a structured and harmonized data format to store legal acts in Switz erland. CHLexML proves that this need was correctly recognized in Switzerland..." See CHLexML Links; Stand und weitere Entwicklungsschritte von CHLexML; Procédure de consultation CHLexML; Dokumentation CHLexML; Arbeitsgruppe CHDecML ('CHLexML II')
    See also from CHLexML Data Standard for the Representation of Swiss Law Texts: "CHLexML is the answer to the growing desire to develop a structural framework for the storage, transmission and representation of Swiss law texts. By 'Swiss' we mean that the standard covers Confederation laws as well as the many different styles of laws produced by the cantons. This particular goal has been pursued by involving experts from the Federal Office of Justice, the Federal Chancellery, the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, and experts representing the cantons. The CHLexML standards documentation comprises the following documents, called books: [1] Elektronischer Datenstandard für Erlasstexte (Blue Book). Introduces the CHLexML data standard by providing hints and illustrations to the practical user. Contains many examples that show how to transform real-world norm texts into CHLexML. This document is available in German, French and Italian. [2] Data Standard for the Representation of Swiss Law Texts (Blue Book Appendix). A technical handbook for XML programmers (this document). Available in English only. The entire standard documentation can be found on the Internet..."

  • [December 16, 2010] "Canonicalizing Complex Case Law Citations." By Marc Van Opijnen, Council for the Judiciary [Raad Voor de Rechtspraak]. Presented at JURIX 2010 The 23rd International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems University of Liverpool (U.K.), 16th-17th December 2010. Available in PDF.
    "Case law is cited by various types of identifiers: neutral citation numbers, vendor specific identifiers, triples of court name, judgment date and case number, in all possible combinations and spelling variants. Such diversity hinders the development of citation indexes, proper hyperlinking and statistical analysis. This paper discusses a solution to recognize, normalize and deduplicate case law citations in unstructured documents...It elaborates a solution which canonicalizes all citation methods which are used in unstructured documents, in such a way that searching by citation, searching for citations and advanced data mining are not hindered or mislead by the infinitely varied citation practice of legal authors. For the contextualization of our proposed solution it should be stressed that the format of the canonicalized identifier is completely irrelevant, so it can be integrated with any type of naming or identification system, like URN:LEX or CEN/Metalex... A prerequisite though is the availability of an index (with the mappings between the various types) of identifiers. In the Dutch legal domain use was made of the 'LJN-index', an index of identifiers which is publicly available... Promising initiatives have been undertaken to develop work level identifiers for case law, like the neutral citation number in many common law countries and LJN in the Netherlands. The Council of the European Union has taken a first step towards the adoption of a European Case Law Identifier. Meanwhile, citation practice is still incredibly divers and complex. As a result the legal researcher is still confronted with insurmountable problems when performing seemingly simple tasks like following lines of jurisprudence or citation analysis. The solution described in this paper seeks to help the legal professional in his quest by pre-processing legal texts to canonicalize complex case law citations. At the time of writing 750.000 case law documents and 500.000 legal doctrine documents from 180 different titles have been processed, resulting in a citation index containing 1.3 million citations..."

  • [January 2011] "The Bluebook Blues." By Richard A. Posner. Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; Senior Lecturer, University of Chicago Law School. The Yale Law Journal Volume 120, Issue 4 (January 2011), pages 850-861. Critical review of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. Compare Wikipedia Bluebook: criticism and Jason Perry, "The Clerk": "If the Bluebook were a judge, it would be the kind of judge who sent a man to be hanged for having written a death-row appeal in pencil rather than pen. It had lost all connection with the simple, practical task of providing effective rules for legal citation. It was the ever-expanding midrash of some obscure cult dedicated to the worship of arbitrariness and bad aesthetic decisions."
    [Posner:] "... The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation exemplifies hypertrophy in the anthropological sense. It is a monstrous growth, remote from the functional need for legal citation forms, that serves obscure needs of the legal culture and its student subculture. Many years ago I wrote a review of The Bluebook, then in its sixteenth edition. My review was naively entitled 'Goodbye to the Bluebook'. The Bluebook was then a grotesque 255 pages long. It is now in its nineteenth edition, which is 511 pages long..."

  • [February 14, 2011] The Stationery Office (TSO), 'Legislation.gov.uk', and Crown Legislation Markup Language (CLML). By Jeni Tennison. Posting to "open-legislation" discussion list. Compare from Github clml-schemas and README: "Data released under Legislation.gov.uk is published using open standards and following all relevant recommendations of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). A choice of open standard formats is available to maximise access and re-use; accessible HTML, accessible PDF, XML and the recommended linked data format: RDF. Legislative XML is published using an open XML schema: the Crown Legislation Markup Language (CLML)." Jeni's slideware presentation also references FRBR as part of the technical approach and architecture for the legislation.gov.uk web site; see use of FRBR .
    "... The legislation.gov.uk API makes legislation available using the Crown Legislation Markup Language (CLML). For any page of HTML content on legislation.gov.uk, you can get the XML version of that legislation by appending /data.xml to the URI. The schema for the XML is available [online: 2008/2010 (cache/archive) or later or Github]: and the other schema modules referenced from that. We use this XML to create the HTML views of legislation that you see on legislation.gov.uk as well as generated PDF views. Our intention is to extend the RDF that's exposed in this way over the coming year..."

  • [April 2011] "The Trap of Medium-Neutral Citation, or Why a Historical-Critical Edition of State Constitutions Is Necessary." By Horst Dippel. Law Library Journal Volume 103:2 [2011-14], pages 219-231. See the response of Dan Baker.

  • [April 29, 2011] "Council Conclusions Inviting the Introduction of the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) and a Minimum Set of Uniform Metadata for Case Law." By the Council of the European Union. Also in PDF format (Notices from European Union Institutions, Bodies, Offices and Agencies). See also ECLI.
    "... Member States are invited to introduce, on a voluntary basis at the national level, the European Case Law Identifier (hereinafter referred to as ECLI) and a minimum set of uniform metadata for case law... Both to facilitate the further development of European case law databases and to serve legal professionals and citizens in their use of these databases, a common system for the identification, citation and metadata of case law is regarded as indispensable. Such a common standard would be compatible with the principles outlined in the previous paragraph. For the identification of judicial decisions a standard identifier should be used which is recognisable, readable and understandable by both humans and computers, and which is compatible with technological standards. At the same time it is desirable that national case identification systems can work in parallel with such a European standard, but also that a European standard can serve as the sole national standard for those countries that so wish... ANNEX: The format of the European Case Law Identifier. A European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) must consist of the following five components, which must appear in the listed order... All components are separated by a colon [...] The namespace of ECLI must be registered..."

    Update 2013-12: "Draft Strategy on European E-Justice 2014-2018", in: Official Journal of the European Union. 2013/C 376/06. "... 15. In the area of e-law important building blocks for the accessibility and semantic interoperability of legal sources have been developed. In 2009, the Council adopted conclusions on the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) to improve the findability, and to facilitate the unequivocal citation of judgments issued by European and national courts. Several Member States have already implemented ECLI. The Commission and several Member States are preparing to introduce the European ECLI search interface on the e-Justice portal by the first quarter of 2014. The introduction of ECLI is also being prepared by the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights..."

  • [May 31, 2011] "Illinois Supreme Court Ends Era of Printed Volumes With New Public Domain Citation System." By Chris Bonjean. Illinois Lawyer Now [Newsletter].

  • [Summer 2011] "Universal Citation and the American Association of Law Libraries: A White Paper." Law Library Journal Volume 103:3 (2011) ["2011-22"], pages 331-357. General Editors: Timothy L. Coggins (Chair of the Digital Access to Legal Information Committee — DALIC, 2010-2011), John Cannan (DALIC), and Jennifer Laws (DALIC). Contributions include: Foreword (Justice Yvonne Kauger, Oklahoma Supreme Court); "Reintroducing Universal Citation"; "AALL and the Dawn of Citation Reform" (Carol Billings and Kathy Carlson); "Implementing Citation Reform in Selected Jurisdictions (Carol Billings and Kathy Carlson)"; "Whither Citation Reform?" (John Cannan)

    Thus John Cannan (per Excerpt from: "Whither Citation Reform?"): "... the answer to where we are now with vendor-neutral citation is: not much further along than we were back in the mid-1990s during the citation war of words and the introduction of AALL's Universal Citation Guide. In fact, there has been some recent backsliding... The ABA continues to urge state judiciaries, bar associations, academic institutions, professional organizations, and interested individuals and entities to implement vendor-neutral citation. AALL's DALI committee meets regularly to discuss the advocacy of such a system. But there have been few concrete steps in other jurisdictions toward adopting and implementing such a system. Other stakeholders are looking for AALL to lead in pushing vendor-neutral citation to the next level. In the meantime, the need for a vendor-neutral system has grown more urgent. The legal information field continues a steady transition from paper to electronic resources on all levels. Yet there is not a concurrent movement to implement a modern citation system that can accommodate digital resources and how they are used. As a result, while the information revolution has been fruitful for legal research, it has not been completely beneficial for legal information access..."

  • [June 02, 2011] "UniversalCitation.Org." By John Joergensen. Announcement for UniversalCitation.Org inagural meeting, posted to various lists. F2F meeting planned for on Monday, July 25, 2011 at Rutgers-Camden, co-located with AALL Meeting. Excerpt: "UniversalCitation.Org launches today. Legal citation reform in the U.S. starts now. After an initial group of states adopted a universal citation system in the late 1990's and early 2000's, interest in citation reform has foundered. My own efforts as chair of the AALL Citation Formats Committee revealed little interest, and some downright hostility to reform among all the courts that had not already adopted universal citations. Since then, very little practical progress has been made. To address this, a new approach is needed..." Alternate sources: blog, bis; UCD law-lib
    Adapted from the published charter of UniversalCitation.Org: "In the late 1990's, the American Bar Association, American Association of Law Libraries, and many others looked to the future of legal information and saw the need for change. As the country and our courts shifted to a digital environment, they saw the need for a new way to refer to court decisions and other documents on which the law depends. With the potential for great increases in the availability of legal information, there needed to be a citation style that did not depend on the increasingly outdated print editions that used to be the basis of legal references... several American jurisdictions have adopted a Universal Citation format, but most have not. There are a variety of reasons why courts have hesitated to adopt Universal Citation, but given its success as a citation form in the jurisdictions that have adopted it, and the ease with which it has been adopted in Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and elsewhere, its value and utility are hard to deny. Given this the continued reliance on print citations, and the restrictions that this places on open access to the law... Universalcitation.Org is being organized to fill the gap. Our aim is to provide the organizational infrastructure needed to facilitate the adoption and use of a uniform set of media and vendor neutral citations that can be used for all American court decisions..."

  • [June 17, 2011] "A Proposed Course of Action for UniversalCitation.org or Some Alternative Non-Commercial Entity." By Peter Martin (Cornell University Law School). June 17, 2011. Extent: 11 pages [provisional cache version supplied for AWOL: 'pwm_memo.pdf']

  • [June 17, 2011] "Finding A Path From Proprietary, Print-Based Case Citation." Video prepared for the Initial Meeting of UniversalCitation.org, July 25, 2011. By Peter Martin (Cornell University Law School). June 17, 2011. Extent: 21:24 minutes.

  • [July 11, 2011] "Will There Be a Better Time for Promoting Adoption of Universal Citation in the US?" By Joe Hodnicki, Ohio Butler County Law Library. Law Professor Blogs Network.
    "... a format neutral, public domain citation standard. The Universal Citation Guide has been around for a very long time now. Published by the AALL Citation Formats Committee in 1999 with a second editon published in 2004, this Guide's citation recommendations have been endorsed by AALL, the ABA and formally adopted in several states. However, the timing of this effort was an instance where the pack was not yet ready to follow the leaders in terms of widespread adoption. Consequently, many law libraries probably have a copy of Universal Citation Guide, 2d (Hein, 2004) collecting dust on their reference shelves right now. Universal Citation is Ripe for Implementation: a lot has happened in the 15-plus years since events prompting the conception and execution of this project by AALL. West lost its attempt to copyright pagination. That ironically probably put a damper on the univeral citation movement. But electronic distribution of primary legal resouces by federal and state web distinations is substantially more prevalent now. The issue is ripening. That means it is time to revisit the matter..."

  • [July 14, 2011] "The Universal Citation Movement." By James B. Levy. Law Professor Blogs Network.

  • [July 14, 2011] "Overheid.nl [in] the MetaLex Document Server: Legal Documents as Versioned Linked Data." By Rinke Hoekstra. Slideshare. Overheid.nl is the central access point to all information about government organisations of the Netherlands, including search based upon Open Data SRU. See: (a) Overheid.nl Web Metadata Standaard (OWMS); (b) documentation for the XML vocabularies, DTDs, schemas, etc; (c) BWB-ID ZIP file...
    As summarized by Rinke Hoekstra: "Wetten.nl is part of a larger Overheid.nl website that provides access to a wide range of government information, both legal (national regulations, local regulations, permits, and publications, official national publications and disciplinary rulings) and general information such as information about the structure of goverment, addresses of government bodies, and a link to the Dutch open data catalog.... Users can perform a full text search through the titles and text of all statutes and regulations of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. They can search for a specific article, as well as for the version of a text as it stood at a specified date. Wetten.overheid.nl also provides an API for retrieving XML manifestations of statutes and regulations...Wetten.nl supports deeplinks to particular versions of statutes and regulations, but is not very consistent about it. For example: http://wetten.overheid.nl/cgi-bin/deeplink/law1/bwbid=BWBR0005416/article=6/date=2005-01-14 and http://wetten.overheid.nl/BWBR0005416/TitelII698946/HoofdstukII/Artikel16/geldigheidsdatum_14-01-2005 both point to article 6 of the Municipal law, as it was in effect on January 14th, 2005. A third mechanism for identifying regulations is the Juriconnect standard for referring to parts of statutes and regulations. XML documents hosted by Wetten.nl use these identifiers to specify citations between statutes and regulations. For instance, the Juriconnect identifier for article 6 of the Municipal law is: 1.0:c:BWBR0005416&artikel=16&g=2005-01-14. But the standard does not prescribe a mechanism for dereferenecing an identifier to the actual text of (part of) a statute or regulation..."

  • [July 15, 2011] "Tear Down This (Pay)Wall: The End of Private Copyright in Public Statutes." By Ed Walters. July 15, 2011. VoxPopuLII.

  • [July 19, 2011] "The 'Trap' of Neutral Citation? A Response to Professor Dippel." By Dan Baker, University of Houston O'Quinn Law Library Blog. July 19, 2011. The article of Professor Dippel is cited above.

  • [July 25, 2011] UniversalCitation.Org First Organizational Meeting: Video Recording. Moderator: John Joergensen. Meeting July 25, 2011, 9:30AM. Where: Rutgers-Camden School of Law, Camden, New Jersey. Extent: 182 minutes. See the announcement for this inaugural meeting, and the the video presentation prepared by Peter Martin in advance of the July 25 meeting: "Finding A Path From Proprietary, Print-Based Case Citation."

  • [August 17, 2011] "The Rise and Fall of Universal Citation: Can It Rise Again?" By Greg Lambert. 3 Geeks and a Law Blog.

  • [August 22, 2011] "Law Librarians amd Universal Citation." By Holly Lakatos. Blog of Holly Anne Lakatos.

  • [September 01, 2011] "Universal Citation for State Codes." By Courtney Minick. VoxPopuLII.
    "... we (and others) propose applying a system of vendor neutral (universal) citation to all primary legal source material, starting with the state codes. Assigning a universal, uniform identifier for state codes will make them easier to find, use, and cite... 'Universal citation' refers to a non-proprietary legal citation that is applied the instant a document is created. 'Universal citation' is also called a 'vendor-neutral,' 'media-neutral,' or 'public domain' citation. Universal citation has been adopted by sixteen U.S. states in order to cite caselaw, but universal citation has not yet been applied to statutes by any state. A review of universal citation processes for caselaw is helpful in understanding how we may apply universal citation to statutes... Universal citation bypasses the private publisher, and allows courts to create official opinions immediately. Under this system, judges assign a citation to the case when they release it. They insert paragraph numbers into the body of the opinion to allow pinpoint citation. This way, the case is instantly citeable. There is no intermediary lag time between slip and official opinion where different publishers cite the case differently, and there is no need to license proprietary databases in order to read and cite the work. In the jurisdictions that have adopted this system, the court's opinion is the final, official version. Private publishers may republish and add their own parallel citations, but in most jurisdictions the court does not require citation to private publishers' versions.

  • [September 25, 2011] DALI: Updating the Universal Citation Guide to Third Edition in 2011] By Tina Ching, AALL DALI Committee Chair. VoxPopuLII.

  • [October 2, 2011] "CSL, Metadata, and Legal Information that Just Works." By Frank Bennett. VoxPopuLII.
    "... The Citation Style Language (CSL) is an XML vocabulary for accurately describing citation and bibliography formats, given the breath of life by the original Zotero citation formatter... generic metadata can be used to generate citations in arbitrary formats. In operation, this means that an article originally written according to, say, the Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA) can be reformatted on the fly to conform to the requirements of, say, the McGill Guide, or perhaps the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (PDF) or the ALWD Manual. This functionality is used daily by researchers in most fields worldwide, and there is no reason the law should be an exception. The automated generation of citations is just one benefit of this processing flow; it also enables the embedding of cited metadata directly in the source document (for sharing between collaborators), and it allows links to referenced resources to be attached at the point of production (for ease of referencing after publication). Hints of resistance from some quarters notwithstanding, such tools clearly promise to save law professors, law students, lawyers, court clerks, judges, and others who must do legal drafting a tremendous amount of time..."

  • [October 25, 2011] "The MetaLex Document Server (MDS)." By Rinke Hoekstra, Leibniz Center for Law, University of Amsterdam. VoxPopuLII. Additional technical details are presented in "The MetaLex Document Server. Legal Documents as Versioned Linked Data".
    "... In this post I describe the process and requirements that eventually led to the MetaLex Document Server, a server that hosts all versions of Dutch national statutes and regulations published since May 2011, both as CEN MetaLex, and as Linked Data... [a] The BWB XML service and format: XML manifestations of statutes and regulations are retrievable through an API on top of the 'Basiswettenbestand' (BWB) content management system. This REST Web service only provides the latest version of an entire statute or regulation. The BWB XML document returned is stripped of all version history: it does not even contain the version date of the text itself. An index of all BWB identifiers, with basic attributes such as official and abbreviated titles, enactment and publication dates, retroactivity, etc. is available as a zipped XML dump or a SOAP service. Unfortunately, the XML file is corrupt, and the date of the latest change to a statute or regulation reported in the index is not really the date of the latest modification, but of the latest update of the statute or regulation in the CMS... [b] CEN MetaLex is a jurisdiction-independent XML format for representing, publishing, and interchanging legal texts. It was developed to allow traceability of legal knowledge representations to their original source... MetaLex explicitly encourages the use of RDFa attributes on its elements, and provides special metadata-elements for serialising additional RDF triples that cannot be expressed on structural elements themselves. MetaLex includes an ontology, which defines an event model for legislative modifications. The legislation.gov.uk portal has adopted the MetaLex event model for representing modifications... [A key requirement was] the ability to persistently identify every element of a legal text. Versioning of texts, references, and metadata requires identifiers that reflect the different versions of these resources. The various parts of a text should be versioned independently, allowing for transitory regimes. A versioning mechanism should distinguish between a regulation text as it exists at a particular time, and the final regulation... [see Juriconnect below]

  • [October 25, 2011] "The MetaLex Document Server. Legal Documents as Versioned Linked Data." By Rinke Hoekstra (VU University Amsterdam and Leibniz Center for Law). Paper presented at ISWC 2011 in the 'Content Management' session.
    "... This paper introduces the MetaLex Document Server (MDS), an ongoing project to improve access to legal sources (regulations, court rulings) by means of a generic legal XML syntax (CEN MetaLex) and Linked Data. The MDS defines a generic conversion mechanism from legacy legal XML syntaxes to CEN MetaLex, RDF and Pajek network files, and discloses content by means of HTTP-based content negotiation, a SPARQL endpoint and a basic search interface. MDS combines a transparent (versioned) and opaque (content-based) naming scheme for URIs of parts of legal texts, allowing for tracking of version information at the URI-level, as well as reverse engineering of versioned metadata from sources that provide only partial information, such as many web-based legal content services. The MDS hosts all 28k national regulations of the Netherlands available since May 2011, comprising some 100M triples..."

  • [December 2011] "European Case Law Identifier: Indispensable Asset for Legal Information Retrieval." By Marc van Opijnen. Published in From Information to Knowledge — Online Access to Legal Information: Methodologies, Trends and Perspectives. In the series: 'Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications', IOS Press, December 2011, edited by Maria Angela Biasiotti and Sebastiano Faro. See also SSRN. See also the ECLI overview.

    "Up until recently though, the dissemination of legal sources via the internet focussed mainly on legislative materials, like legal gazettes and consolidated legislation. With access to legislation fundamentally in place, attention is shifting towards access to case law... The lack of uniform identifiers for case law is a problem [that] originates from the time when courts weren't responsible for the publication of their own case law. For courts not decisions, but the cases to be decided were — and are — their main business products. Therefore, primarily cases are identified (by 'case number' or 'docket number'), and the resulting decisions are identified by a derivative 'triple': the name of the rendering court, the case number and the date. Because the decision marked the end of the case and was only sent to the parties involved, no separate identifier for the judgment was needed. Decisions with jurisprudential value were collected by law reviews, which assigned their own identifiers, mostly consisting of the abbreviated title of the periodical and a serial or page number, e.g. NJ 1993/214. With every law review adding its own identifier, a widely published case could easily end up with a dozen different identifiers...

    In December 2010 the EU Council of Ministers decided on the 'Conclusions inviting the introduction of the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) and a minimum set of uniform metadata for case law' [ 'ECLI-conclusions' in OJ C 127, 29-04-2011, p. 1-7]. In this paper we will discuss the coming about and the contents of these conclusions, in the broader perspective of access to case law. Section 1 starts off with a short introduction on public access to case law in general. The need for a European system for the identification of judicial decisions, and the preparatory work being done will be discussed in Section 2. The rationale behind the basic components of the chosen solution is outlined in Section 3. Finally, in Section 4 the national implementation of ECLI is discussed... ECLI is designed as described in the technical annex to the ECLI-conclusions. ECLI has five constituting components, all of them mandatory, and all separated by colons: (a) 'ECLI' as the self-descriptor; (b) EU country code; (c) A national court code; (d) The year the decision was rendered; (e) An ordinal number, with a maximum of 25 alphanumeric characters or dots. A valid ECLI could be: ECLI:NL:HR:2011:4563, which would a decision of the Supreme Court in the Netherlands. Both by lawyers and computers an ECLI can be recognized and interpreted quite easily. ECLIs can exist alongside other (national of commercial) identifiers or even encapsulate them. The ECLI syntax might look quite long, but because all essential information is comprised within the ECLI, the total number of characters used to cite a case will be drastically reduced... The technical annex to the ECLI-conclusions describes the way the ECLI is constructed, but not the specific bibliographic character of it. To fully understand the basic concepts of ECLI and how it should be used, the underlying theoretical concepts [FRBR: Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records] are discussed in "Finding Case Law on a European Scale".

  • [December 2011] "JuriX Framework for XML Modeling of Judicial Documents: A Support System for Checking the Regularity of Judgments." By Radouan Belhissi, Zakaria Moudam, and Noureddine Chenfour (Computer Science Department, Faculty of Sciences Dhar Mehraz, University Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah, Morocco). IRACST — Engineering Science and Technology: An International Journal (ESTIJ).
    "... We have implemented a Java platform that enables the automatic generation of XML document, advanced research in these documents based on XPath and XQuery, presentation and publication of results internally and in a web environment. In this paper we propose an original approach to the categorization and description of the contents of digital documents based on the specific informational corpus as well as the context for using these documents. The aim is to present a management environment for judicial documents JDME. We address the issues of structuring, storage, distribution of digital documents and the creation of the primary document through the model-based description language JuriX. This technical solution is implemented through the Framework Jurix: a JAVA platform for the structuring of judicial decisions and querying the knowledge base through XPath and XQuery queries."

  • [February 2012] OSCOLA: Oxford University Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities. By Sandra Meredith and Donal Nolan (editors). Fourth Edition (2012). Available for download from the OSCOLA web site.
    "OSCOLA is designed to facilitate accurate citation of authorities, legislation, and other legal materials. It is widely used in law schools and by journal and book publishers in the UK and beyond. OSCOLA is edited by the Oxford Law Faculty, in consultation with the OSCOLA Editorial Advisory Board... As far as possible, the guidelines in OSCOLA are based on common practice in UK legal citation, but with a minimum of punctuation.... This latest revision of OSCOLA provides more detailed coverage of domestic legal sources, and in particular the treatment of Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish sources has been considerably expanded..."

  • [May 07, 2012] "Identifiers, Part 1." By Thomas Bruce (Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute (LII)). In Making Metasausage: A blog about legislative metadata and other grinding concerns. See also Part 2 and Part 3.
    "... This post is about identifiers, and particularly document identifiers: snippets of text that uniquely identify documents that are either generated by the legislative process or are found in its vicinity. That idea is simple enough. But well-thought-out, carefully constructed identifiers are an important foundation of any data model — and are surprisingly difficult to design. Legislative data models have (at least) two purposes: first, they are a kind of specification that precisely describes data encountered in and around the legislative process, the precise relationships among the data items and elements, and (significantly) relationships between the data and the real-world people, groups, and processes that create and manipulate the data. Second, they are a device to enable communication among system-builders, stakeholders, and users about what is to be collected, what is to be expressed or retrieved, and so on...

    What do identifiers do? In print, identifiers have worked differently than we really want them to in an electronic environment. The conventions of printed books — use of pagination, difficulty of recall once issued, relative stability of editions, and most of all the assumption that identifiers will be interpreted by human readers with some knowledge of their context and purpose — result in identifiers that are less rigorous than what we need in a world of granular data consumed and processed by machines. Some illustrations are found below. In reality our legacy 'identifiers' are often less-rigorous monikers serving multiple functions, and in a digital environment we must unpack them into separate items with separate functions. Here are some of the functions: a) Unique naming [for documents]; b) Navigational reference... search terms or convenient handles for taking the reader to another document, or for retrieving it; c) Retrieval hook/container label; d) Thread tag/associative marker; e) Process milestone; f) Proxy for provenance; g) Popular names, professional terms of art, and other vernacular uses..."

  • [May 15, 2012] "Identifiers, Part 2." By Thomas Bruce (Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute (LII)). In Making Metasausage: A blog about legislative metadata and other grinding concerns. Part 2 discusses some design problems having to do with granularity and use, and the fact that identifiers are situated in legal and bureaucratic process. See also Part 1 and Part 3.
    "... Identifier granularity: How small a thing should we try to identify? It's difficult to make general prescriptions about that, for needs vary from corpus to corpus. For the most part, we assume that identifier granularity should follow common citation or cross-referencing practice — that is, the smallest thing we identify or label should be the smallest thing that standard citation practice would allow a user to navigate to. That will vary from collection to collection, and from context to context... [Discussion in Part 3 covers: metadata, markup, and embedding; semantics versus identifie purity; administrative zones of control and procedural rules; status, tracing, versioning and parallel activity; granularity; fragmentation and recombination (codification, fragmentary re-use)]

  • [May 29, 2012] "Neutral Citation, Law Librarians, and the Future of Public Access to Case Law." By Michael Umberger (Gallagher Law Library, University of Washington School of Law, Seattle, Washington, USA). Paper submitted to Professor Penny A. Hazelton, University of Washington Information School. Source: Current Issues in Law Librarianship, LIS 595.
    "... There have been many eloquent calls for reform and change among professionals in the movement's nearly twenty years, but it would be difficult to say that neutral citation has firmly taken hold of legal citation and left traditional, print-based formats in the past. At this point, it is necessary to consider whether, given the current publishing landscape and the state of law libraries, the movement can progress beyond being more than a good idea. Neutral citation has been termed vendor-neutral, medium-neutral, and public domain-citation, but no matter the name the basic idea underpinning the format is that access to the law should not be predicated on a format tethered to the constraints of private publishing companies... An integral aspect of the movement has been the question of who owns the law. By handing control over the content and format of decisions to publishers, courts relinquish their power and authority over their own law..."

    See also: "Checking Up on Court Citation Standards: How Neutral Citation Improves Public Access to Case Law", in Legal Reference Services Quarterly 31 (2012), pages 312-340. DOI: 10.1080/0270319X.2012.741036. Abstract: "A small number of appellate courts require neutral citation, a legal citation format that frees citation to judicial decisions from adherence to particular formats or vendors. As law libraries increasingly rid their print collections of case law reporters, a gap appears in public access to the law, as many courts still require citation to print-based formats from particular commercial publishers. With widespread availability of case law in electronic formats through commercial databases and government Web sites, law librarians must continue to urge courts to consider adopting neutral citation principles to ensure greater accessibility to court opinions. This article retraces the history and quirks of neutral citation and aims to ground the arguments for more widespread adoption of neutral citation in the increasing concern over public access to the law."

  • [May 2012] LEOS: Legislative Editing Open Software. From the ISA LEOS Project. This report / paper was prepared for the ISA (Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations) [ISA LEOS Project] programme by TRASYS. Status: Final Results. Extent: 188 pages.
    "... [This LEOS document] presents analysis results covering findings on the 'As Is' of usage methods and tools for editing legislative software, and lessons learned in terms of adequacy and efficiency of these tools. It also presents a series of six case studies analysing various solutions, their benefits and trade-offs, re-usability, as well as aspects regarding user-guidance and user friendliness. The report presents in its last section overall conclusions and recommendations for the next phase of the LEOS project... Section 4 presents and analyses ongoing efforts and outcomes for common frameworks and standards for structure of legal texts. It presents an emerging international standard (the document oriented XML standard Akoma Ntoso), as well as an interoperability standard CEN/MetaLex, and a comparison between both. It also presents briefly the results of the use of XML in parliaments from the World eParliament Report 2010, the XML schema used in the Publication Office, the results of existing studies on the use of XML in EU Member States and on the need for common structures. The section ends with an overview of the IPEX schema and of National schemas used in Europe....

    Case study 1 covers an analysis of structure management in two tools based on word processors: the eNorm/xNorm case study analyses a framework for applying structures and the Lex Dania case study analyses an approach to imposing a structure. The benefits and trade-offs are also analysed. Case study 2 addresses XMLisation (or mark-up) methods and the need for them. It details the Dutch publication XMLisation process at Sdu publishers. It presents the XMLisation process for European Parliament amendments. It explains the way Norma Editor and xmLeges — two desktop tools — provide mark-up to a legal text. Case study 3 analyses Bungeni, an open source legislative editor based on the word processor Open Office, and exporting to Akoma Ntoso XML standard. It covers how the tool applies the structure, the user guidance provided, the technical aspects of adding document types. Case study 4 presents SOLONII, the new French system for managing the process of legislative texts from creation to publication, based on Open Office and an open source document management system Nuxeo. Case study 5 covers vexpro, an open source desktop XML editor developed for legislative drafting in Estonia. Case study 6 presents Wetseditor, a Web XML editor used in the publishing process in the Netherlands, and introduced recently in Parliament for amendments, and covers the user benefits, as well as change management aspects..."

  • [June 11, 2012] "Identifiers, Part 3." By Thomas Bruce (Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute (LII)). In Making Metasausage: A blog about legislative metadata and other grinding concerns. With response by John Sheridan on implementations/APIs for legislation.gov.uk: "...we have developed a resolver for URN:LEX URNS to UK Legislation; the resolver supports requests for URNs at the Work, Expression and Manifestion level (according to FRBR)..." See also Part 1 and Part 2.
    "...How well does current practice measure up? To judge by the examples presented so far, current practice in legislative identifiers for US materials might best be described as 'coping', and specifically 'coping in a way that was largely designed to deal with the problems of print'. Current practice presents a welter of 'identifiers', monikers, names, and titles, all believed by those who create and use them to be sufficiently rigorous to qualify as identifiers whether they are or not. It might be useful to divide these into four categories: [a] Well-understood monikers, issued in predetermined ways as part of the legislative process by known actors... [b] Monikers arising from need and possibly semi-formalized, or possibly 'bent' versions of monikers created for a purpose other than that they end up serving.... [c] Monikers imposed after the fact in an effort to systematize things or otherwise compensate for any deficiencies of monikers issued at earlier stages of the process... [d] A grab-bag of other monikers... created within government or outside government altogether...

    Identifiers in a Linked Data context: John Sheridan (of legislation.gov.uk) has written eloquently about the use of legislative Linked Data to support the development of 'accountable systems'. The key idea is that exposing legislative data using Linked Data techniques has particular informational and economic value when that data defines real-world objects for legal purposes. If we turn our attention from statutes to regulations, that value becomes even more obvious..."

  • [August 15, 2012] "A Methodology for Publishing Building Regulatory Documents Based on Open Datasets." By Lewis McGibbney and Bimal Kumar, School of Engineering and Built Environment, Glasgow Caledonian University. Seventh International Conference on Innovation in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction.
    "... Generally speaking, factors which characterise the drafting practice of primary and secondary legislation within the domain of Planning and Sustainable Development involve arguments including the extreme complexity and difficulties we encounter when attempting to model the domain, which is partly due to the inherited nature of historic development and national relevance (amongst many others). Additionally, it is observed that there are high degrees of inconsistency within the work-flows designed to enforce the aforementioned legislation. In this paper, we propose a new methodology for legislation/regulation drafting that addresses these issues with such documents. We show that the creation, amendment, authoring and publishing of a subsection of UK Secondary Legislation, in particular Scottish Technical Standards, can be undertaken in a fashion which embraces the fast moving area of Open Government. This paper describes an attempt at developing a standards focused, XML-based version of the Scottish Technical Standards which enables them to be processed outside of the source code repository. Processing has three phases, i.e., mapping legacy elements to Crown Legislation Markup Language, resolving identifiers and entity extraction based upon ifcXML dictionary definitions..."

  • [August 30, 2012] "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Neutral Citation." By Susan Munro. Slaw: Canada's Online Legal Magazine. Summary: "I'll make a bold statement: I'm very very close to giving up all those parallel citations if the case has a neutral citation..."
    "... As long as I've been working in the world of legal publishing, we've taken for granted that we should include in every publication a table of cases with as many parallel citations as we could rustle up. Our tables of cases still include citations to as many as four print reporters, and we tend not to include cites to electronic sources unless nothing else is available... Gary Rodrigues' recent column Reality Check: Fact, Fiction, and Case Citations, sparked an interesting discussion about the use of case citations: whether using the neutral citation in a secondary source is enough; which parallel citations should be included in case tables; whether we need to cite print reporters at all; and so on..."

  • [September 2012] "Naming Legislative Resources." By Enrico Francesconi and PierLuigi Spinosa. Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques Italian National Research Council (ITTIG / CNR — Florence). LEX Summer School 2012: Ravenna, September 10-14, 2012. Extent: 83 slides. See details for the IETF specification in: A Uniform Resource Name (URN) Namespace for Sources of Law (LEX). See also: Wikipedia, and early background in URN Standard of NiR [Norme in Rete] Project [altRef], by PierLuigi Spinosa, Brasilia, February 12-14th, 2007.

  • [September 2012] "Tools for XML-lisation." By Monica Palmirani. CIRSFID — University of Bologna, Law Faculty Summer School LEX. September 2012, Ravenna, Italy. Extent: 29 pages. Several of the XML standards discussed in this presentation define citation models.
    See presentation slide #2: 'Legislative XML Standards in the World': [1] FORMEX Data Model (EUR-LEX); [2] MetaLex [Open XML Interchange Format for Legal and Legislative Resources ] and SDU BWB (Netherland); [3] Lex Dania (Denmark); [4] eLaw (Austria); [5] CHLexML (Swiss eJustice.CH); [6] Crown XML Schema for Legislation (United Kingdom); [7] NormeinRete [altRef] (Italy); [8] AKOMA NTOSO (United Nations for Pan-African Parliaments); [9] EnAct (Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand, eCanada).

  • [September 17, 2012] "Standardizing the World's Legislative Information — One Hackathon at a Time." By Grant Vergottini and Ari Hershowitz. VoxPopuLII.

  • [September 27, 2012] "European Case Law Identifier (ECLI)." European Commission, via The European e-Justice Portal, summarized in Wikipedia. And compare: European Legislation Identifier (ELI).
    "Easy access to judicial decisions of other Member States is of growing importance in reinforcing the role of the national judge in applying and upholding EU law. Searching for, and citation of judgments from other Member States is seriously hampered by differences in national case law identification systems, citation rules and technical fields describing the characteristics of a judgment... Before ECLI, it was difficult and time-consuming to find relevant case law... for example, a case where a ruling of the Supreme Court of Member State A was known to be of interest for a specific legal debate. The case was registered in various national and cross-border case law databases, but in each database the ruling had a different identifier. All these identifiers — if known at all — had to be cited to enable readers of the citation to find the case in the database of their preference. Different citation rules and styles complicated the search. Moreover, users had to go to all the databases to find out whether this Supreme Court case was available — summarized, translated or annotated. With the ECLI system one search via one search interface using just one identifier will suffice to find all occurrences of the ruling in all participating national and cross-border databases..."

    "... The European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) has been developed to facilitate the correct and unequivocal citation of judgments from European and national courts related to EU law. A set of uniform metadata will help to improve search facilities for case law... ECLI is a uniform identifier that has the same recognizable format for all Member States and EU courts. It is composed of five, mandatory, elements: (a) 'ECLI': to identify the identifier as being a European Case Law Identifier; (b) the EU country code for the Member State; (c) an abbreviation for the court that rendered the judgment; (d) the year the judgment was rendered; (f) an ordinal number, up to 25 alphanumeric characters, in a format that is decided upon by each Member State. Dots are allowed, but not other punctuation marks; the elements are separated by a colon..."

    NB. Marc van Opijnen (2013: Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Knowledge Center Official Publications) has published several articles/presentations on the development of ECLI, including the following: (a) "A Public Index of Case Law References: The End of Multiple and Complex Citations"; (b) "Finding Case Law on a European Scale: Current Practice and Future Work"; (c) "Identifiers, Metadata and Document Structures: Essential Ingredients for Inter-European Case Law Search"; (d) "Canonicalizing Complex Case Law Citations"; (e) "Searching References to Secondary EU Legislation"; (f) "European Case Law Identifier: Indispensable Asset for Legal Information Retrieval"; (g) "The European Legal Semantic Web: Completed Building Blocks and Future Work".

  • [Fall 2012] Introduction to Basic Legal Citation. By Peter W. Martin, Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (LII). Online edition.
    See especially: "§ 1-600 Who Sets Citation Norms?" "This work first appeared in 1993. It was most recently revised in the fall of 2012 to take account of changes in the citation rules of a small number of U.S. jurisdictions and the format of currency information furnished for statutes by LexisNexis and Westlaw. As was true of the editions released in 2010 and 2011 it is indexed to the fourth edition of the ALWD Citation Manual and the nineteenth edition of The Bluebook, both published in 2010. See also the support Wiki.

  • [October 1, 2012] "A Uniform Resource Name (URN) Namespace for Sources of Law (LEX)." By PierLuigi Spinosa, Enrico Francesconi, Caterina Lupo. First published: October 30, 2009. With discussion in "Naming Legislative Resources.". "This document describes a Uniform Resource Name (URN) Namespace Identification (NID) convention as prescribed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for identifying, naming, assigning, and managing persistent resources in the legal domain.... The following entities support this proposal: (a) ITTIG/CNR (Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques of the Italian National Research Council), Italy; (b) CNIPA (National Centre for ICT in Public Administration), Italy; (c) PRODASEN, IT Department of the Federal Senate, Brazil; (d) LII (Legal Information Institute), Cornell Law School, USA.... 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 online availability, its physical location, and access mode. 'Sources of law' include any legal document within the domain of legislation (including bills), case law and administrative acts or regulations. This identifier will be used as a way to represent the references (and more generally, any type of relation) among the various sources of law. In an on-line environment with resources distributed among different Web publishers, uniform resource names allow simplified global interconnection of legal documents by means of automated hypertext linking..."

    See (ongoing) conversations about the particular URN registration with IANA as of 2013-07-01: Enrico Francesconi, March 27, 2013; Patrik Faeltstroem, March 27, 2013; Ted Hardie, March 27, 2013; Enrico Francesconi, March 29, 2013; Ted Hardie, March 29, 2013; PierLuigi Spinosa, April 12, 2013; PierLuigi Spinosa, April 12, 2013; Ted Hardie, April 15, 2013; Enrico Francesconi, May 20, 2013 [...]

  • [October 12, 2012] "Draft of a Universal Citation Standard Problem Statement." By Chet Ensign (apud James E. Cabral), posting to the OASIS LegalXML Electronic Court Filing TC principal discussion list. "[September 12, 2012] ... starting a new TC for defining universal legal citations... third round of the problem statement for starting a TC for a standard to underlie legal citations..." With followup from Michael Neuren, on behalf of ABA: "In 1995, the American Bar Association passed a resolution approving and encouraging universal legal citations. Since it is already an official policy, the ABA can support and advocate for it...[presumed] that the ABA and the SCOTIS committee would be interested in joining OASIS in forming universal citation standards..."

    Earlier work: Note that discussion on the topic of XML markup for universal citation began as early as [2000-] 2003, e.g., in the posting of John Messing: "what is needed is a LegalDocument TC... I would add to this a universal citation standard, which the ABA has requested and authorized..." A LegalXML.org/OASIS LegalXML Citations Work Group was active in the 2001 timeframe, and members made some progress on XML DTD design for markup of legal citations.

  • [October 26, 2012] "European Legislation Identifier." EU Council Conclusions Inviting the Introduction of the European Legislation Identifier (ELI). EUR-Lex Publications Office. Compare European Case Law Identifier (ECLI).
    Paragraph #10: "Legal information is today widely available and accessible in electronic form. However, the way in which information is organised and classified varies in the different legal systems, a fact that tends to restrict access and reuse possibilities. By deploying this new unique identifier and structured metadata to reference legislation published in the official journals and legal gazettes of different legal systems, this barrier will be overcome ...For the identification of legislation, a unique identifier should be used which is recognizable, readable and understandable by both humans and computers, and which is compatible with existing technological standards. In addition, ELI proposes a set of metadata elements to describe legislation in compliance with a recommended ontology. The European Legislation Identifier (ELI) should guarantee a cost-effective public access to reliable and up-to-date legislation. Benefiting from the emerging architecture of the semantic web, which enables information to be directly processed by computers and humans alike, ELI would allow a greater and faster exchange of data by enabling an automatic and efficient exchange of information..." Wikipedia: "The European Legislation Identifier (ELI) provides, among others, a solution to uniquely identify and access national and European legislation online. This will guarantee easier access, exchange, and reuse of legislation for public authorities, professional users, academics, and citizens. ELI paves the way for a semantic web of legal gazettes and official journals." See the announcement and blog.

    Some details from the ANNEX: [1] Identification of legislation: Ways to uniquely identify, name and access national and European legislation. ELI uses 'HTTP [Scheme] URIs' to specifically identify all online legal information officially published across Europe. These URIs are formally described by machine-readable URI templates (IETF RFC 6570 — 'a compact sequence of characters for describing a range of Uniform Resource Identifiers through variable expansion'), using components that carry semantics both from a legal and an end-user point of view. Each Member State will build its own, self-describing URIs using the described components as well as taking into account their specific language requirements. All the components are optional and can be selected based on national requirements and do not have a pre-defined order. To enable the exchange of information the chosen URI template must be documented using the URI template mechanism, see example below: /eli/{jurisdiction}/{agent}/{sub-agent}/{year}/{month}/{day}/{type}/{natural identifier}/{level 1 ...}/{point in time}/{version}/{language}. [2] Properties describing each legislative act: While a structured URI can already identify acts using a set of defined components, the attribution of additional metadata established in the framework of a shared syntax will set the basis to promote interchange and enhance interoperability between legal information systems... For the data exchange to become more efficient, ELI metadata elements may be serialised in compliance with the W3C Recommendation "RDFa in XHTML: Syntax and Processing."

  • [November 2012] "The LIPARM Project: A New Approach to Parliamentary Metadata." By Richard Gartner (Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London).
    "...This article explains the rationale of the LIPARM Project and how it uses XML to link together core components of the Parliamentary record within a unified metadata scheme. It introduces the XML schema, Parliamentary Metadata Language (PML), which was created by the project and the set of controlled vocabularies for Parliamentary proceedings which the project also created to support it. It also discusses the experience of the project in converting two XML-encoded collections of Parliamentary proceedings to PML and work on the prototype Web-based union catalogue which will form the initial gateway to PML-encoded metadata....LIPARM has four core components: (1) the definition of the XML schema recommended by the experts at the earlier meeting to define and link together core components of the Parliamentary record; (2) the compilation of controlled vocabularies for as many of these components as possible; (3) the conversion of major parts of two existing digital collections of Parliamentary proceedings to the XML schema; (4) a prototype Web-based interface to the records for these collections, forming a union catalogue of their contents..."

  • [November 22, 2012] "European Legislation Identifier: 'ELI'." By John Dann. Presented at the European Legal e-Access Conference. Paris, 22-November-2012. 27 pages. See also: "European Legislation Identifier (ELI)" from 21-December-2011 (Council Of The European Union). and ELI.
    "... What is ELI: 'European Legislation Identifier' — (Identifiant européen de la législation). Maillon indispensable au web sémantique. Définition: Référencement des textes législatifs nationaux dans le JO par l'utilisation d'identifiants uniques, de metadonnées structurées et d'ontologies. ELI Project: Initiated in the Working Group 'Access to Legislation' - European Forum of Official Gazettes with a focus on: (a) Legislation [Easy access (user-friendly), Easy referencing]; (b) Interconnected Official Gazettes [Automatic exchange of Information, Information sharing, e.g., Directive implementation]; (c) Human + Machine readable [allow sophisticated queries, cross-domain queries]. ELI components: Unique Resource Identifier - URI; Metadata catalogues; Structured information linking to other documents, e.g. RDFa. ELI: Flexible solution to meet national, regional structures; Stable and reliable; Easy referring to Legislation; Compatible with existing solutions, e.g. URN:LEX..."

  • [November 23, 2012] "The European Legal Semantic Web: Completed Building Blocks and Future Work." By Marc van Opijnen. Paper submitted for the European Legal e-Access Conference 2012, Paris 22-23 November 2012.

    "Important steps have been taken already in building the European Legal Semantic Web. Identification and metadata standards are developed for the most important legal sources. CELEX-numbers, ELI, and ECLI could be supplemented with an identifier for legal doctrine, and also on legal terminology work is still to be done... The correct citation of legal sources can be a lawyer's nightmare... [one] policy line is to change the way in which legal objects are cited by lawyers themselves. Citation guides have to adapted (or adopted) as to give preference to CELEX, ECLI,and ELI above any other (expression) identifier, universities have to teach their law students new ways of citation, and already practising lawyers have to be convinced that the new ways of citations are necessary. A second supportive measure could be a legal instrument, obliging judges in their decisions, and lawyers in their writings to the court, to use the correct identifiers. For such a measure to be effective, the identifiers must have been fully implemented and drafting software adapted. A second line of action, which can be combined with the first one, is technical in nature. Here, lawyers can continue citing in their clumsy, erroneous ways, but software is developed that recognizes all these citations and converts them to CELEX-numbers, ELIs, and ECLIs. For various types of citations such pattern recognition and canonicalization software has already been developed... If constructed properly the European legal semantic web will improve access to legal information, stimulate innovative applications and legal services, and reinforce judicial and legal cooperation within Europe..."

  • [December 2012] "Opening Up State Legal Data." By Waldo Jaquith (Miller Center, University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia). VoxPopuLII. "Ideally, The State Decoded will be obviated by states providing both bulk data and better websites for their codes and regulations. But in the current economic climate, neither are likely to be prioritized within state budgets, so unfortunately there's liable to remain a need for the data provided by The State Decoded for some years to come."
    "... There have been a series of efforts to create a national legislative data standard — one master XML format to which all states will adhere for bills, laws, and regulations.Those efforts have gone poorly. Few states provide bulk downloads of their laws. None provide APIs. Although nearly all states provide websites for people to read state laws, they are all objectively terrible... Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The State Decoded is a free, open source program to put legal codes online, and it does so by simply skipping over the problems that have hampered prior efforts. The project does not aspire to create any state law websites on its own but, instead, to provide the software to enable others to do so... The State Decoded leaves it to each implementer to gather up the contents of the legal code in question and interface it with the program's internal API. This could be done via screen-scraping off of an existing state code website, modifying the parser to deal with a bulk XML file, converting input data into the program's simple XML import format, or by a few other methods. While a non-trivial task, it's something that can be knocked out in an afternoon, thus avoiding the need to create a universal data format and to persuade Wexis to provide their data in that format..."

  • [February 2013] "A Comparative Study to Determine a Suitable Representational Data Model for UK Building Regulations." By Lewis McGibbney and Bimal Kumar. ITcon Volume 18 (2013), pages 20-39.
    "... [this article elaborates on ] a suitable representational data format for UK construction and engineering regulations focusing on machine processable formats built entirely on open data standards which can then set the basis for addressing the aforementioned issues. We compare two existing legislation data models, namely the Crown Legislation Markup Language (CLML) and Akoma Ntoso, whilst in the process grading each on its suitability for most accurately accommodating and expressing the domain and profession specific nature of typical building regulations. The study conclusions indicate that the design, management and current availability of the CLML has resulted in a scenario where barriers exist to widespread adoption, this includes building out community in support of the language. Akoma Ntoso on the other hand has focused on building community around the proposed standard. This increases the likelihood of phased organisational transition towards the standard for achieving improved representational data modelling..."

  • [February 11, 2013] Juriconnect Standard BWB (Basis Wetten Bestand) Version 1.3. Juriconnect-standaard voor identificatie van en verwijzing naar wet- en regelgeving. Matthijs Breebaart (editor). Juriconnect: Platform voor informatieuitwisseling en -standaardisatie in het juridisch domein. Technical documentation is available online. The description following is from Rinke Hoekstra in his ISWC 2011 paper: "The MetaLex Document Server. Legal Documents as Versioned Linked Data"
    "Juriconnect is a consortium of government bodies, legal publishers and academia... BWB XML (Basis Wetten Bestand) forms the basis of the Juriconnect standard for referring to parts of regulations. The standard [Juriconnect-standaard] describes a procedure for constructing unique identifiers from the structure of BWB XML documents. BWB XML documents use these identifiers to specify citations between regulations. For instance, the Juriconnect identifier of article 16 of the Municipal law, valid on January 14, 2005 is: 1.0:c:BWBR0005416&artikel=16&g=2005-01-14. Juriconnect does not prescribe a method by which the identifier should be used inside the XML of regulations or referring text: BWB XML elements do not carry Juriconnect identifiers. Neither does the standard specify whether an expression-level reference without validity date points to the latest, or current version, nor does it specify what should be returned for a work-level reference. Furthermore, the standard does not describe a method for dereferencing an identifier to the actual text of (part of) a regulation..."

  • [March 8, 2013] "Who Owns The Law?" By Ed Walters, Fastcase. Presented at ReInventLaw Silicon Valley 2013 Conference. See the video at Vimeo.

  • [March 18, 2013] Akoma Ntoso 3.0 Schema Naming Conventions. With failover/cache PDF. Source: Akoma Ntoso XML for Parliamentary, Legislative, and Judiciary Documents. With Schema development in the OASIS LegalDocumentML (LegalDocML) TC, per the Version 3.0 Schema Release Notes and announcement: "First Version of Akoma Ntoso Released by OASIS." See also the details on Akoma Ntosa legal citation: "Modelling of Judgments with Akoma Ntoso as posted on November 07, 2012 [earlier]: Unique naming convention: "URIs for citations across different sources: precedents, jurisprudence, legislation, regulations, foreign case-laws, doctrine, books, articles, etc... URIs are also used to express the Minimal Neutral Citation... Citations: it is possible, through the references, to obtain all the documents cited by this case-law and all the documents that cite this case-law... Slides #16 and #19 'Citations classification', 'Citations analysis'.". Contact the OASIS LegalDocML TC Co-Chairs: Monica Palmirani and Fabio Vitali.
    "Naming Conventions: The Akoma Ntoso standard defines a number of referenceable concepts that are used in many situations in the lifecycle of legal documents. The purpose of this section [Akoma Ntoso 3.0 Schema Release Notes #8] is to provide a standard referencing mechanism to these concepts through the use of URI references associated to classes and instances of an ad hoc ontology. The referencing mechanism discussed in this document is meant to be generic and evolving with the evolution of the underlying ontology. The most important concepts of the Akoma Ntoso ontology are related to documents that have legal status. All discourse and all description of legal sources can be characterized as referring to one of the four levels [viz., "entities"] of a document as introduced by IFLA FRBR (International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) — Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR)): Work, Expression, Manifestation, Item..." [IFLA: "work (a distinct intellectual or artistic creation) and expression (the intellectual or artistic realization of a work) reflect intellectual or artistic content. The entities defined as manifestation (the physical embodiment of an expression of a work) and item (a single exemplar of a manifestation), on the other hand, reflect physical form"]... The header pays attention to capture some important information useful for the information retrieval and for the qualification of the document: courtType, neutralCitation, party, judge, lawyer, docketNumber [e.g.,] <neutralCitation>Smith v Attorney General and Another (18/2007) [2007] ZMSC 14; SCZ No. 14 of 2007 (25 July 2007)</neutralCitation>... "the element neutralCitation is an inline element within judgements to identify the string declared by the document as being the neutral citation for the judgement...[2013-07-16] "

  • [May 2013] Citations Out of the Box. By Frank Bennett. ISBN 978-1479347711. Extent: 148 pages. With announcement: "MLZ offers support for legal citation, with initial implementations of the leading styles of Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US. Because legal citation styles are quite demanding, a little study is required to use MLZ in legal writing: but for law students, paralegals, academic authors and others who make frequent use of legal citations, reference management technology opens the prospect of significant time savings, and is surely worth exploring."
    From the Foreword, by Lawrence Lessig: "... lawyers tolerate the most ridiculous waste, because no one within the law seems tasked with the job of eliminating it... Legal citation is a perfect instance of this more general flaw. The dominant citation manual, The Bluebook, is a brilliant embarrassment... the system seems designed to punish paralegals, or first year associates... By building and implementing an open source uniform citation method, Frank Bennett radically simplifies the process of citation, and encourages a generation of innovation on top of his own. With these tools, one can cite more simply today...

    [Introduction] "... Legal citation styles and legal research software must strike a balance between simplicity and the demands of the field, while taking care to prevent complexity from running out of control. Legislation and administrative rules are subject to revision and recompilation. A target text may be an original act creating entirely new law, an amending act specifying only the changes to be made to existing law, or a consolidated act in which changes are merged into a finished revised text. Finally, current acts (original or consolidated) may be reorganised for inclusion in a codification scheme such as the U.S. Code or the Code of Federal Regulations. Citations in legal argument must identify the exact text relied upon; and because rulemaking... [in MLZ] 'Neutral' citations identify the case itself, independent of any fixed nominate reporter...References to U.S. federal statutes can be given in parallel, with a 'logical' or 'content neutral' cite based on the structure of the target statute followed by a 'publication' cite to a compilation (the U.S. Code) or to the official gazette (Statutes at Large). The two references are stored separately in the MLZ database, and cited as a pair... for neutral citations, use a case sequence number (not page number) within the year..."

    See the review by Mitchell L. Silverman in AALL Spectrum (December 2013), pages 23-25: "MLZ: Citation Management for Law School. The New Citation Manager MLZ, Based on Zotero, Helps Collect, Organize, and Use Research Materials."

  • [April 05, 2013] "Deliverable 6.8: List of Standards, Reusable Assets and Missing Building Blocks (update of D6.2)" By H. Biersteker, F. Beukema, S. Wigard, and E. Francesconi. From Work Package: WP6 Document standards and semantics. e-CODEX consortium: e-Justice Communication via Online Data Exchange. Submitted to the EC on 04/05/2013. Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme. ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP). [Where] "e-CODEX is a Large Scale Project in the domain of e-Justice that aims to provide to citizens, enterprises and legal professionals an easier access to justice in cross border procedures and to make cross border collaboration of courts and authorities easier and more efficient by creating interoperability of the existing national ICT solutions... e-CODEX will automate legal procedures through the usage of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to make cross-border judicial procedures more transparent, efficient and economic both in civil and criminal matters."
    "[Section 4: Unique resources references, XML documents and semantic resources]. Unique resource references: The European Legislation knows three candidate standards with a focus on semantics and referencing that are in use today: (a) URN:LEX is the internet compliant standard to identify resources with a judicial application; (b) ECLI for the identification and metadata of case law documents; (c) CEN MetaLex is an open XML interchange format for legal and legislative resources. These three standards are in close relation. URN:LEX, ECLI are international standards that relate to the requirement that an identification for work, expression, manifestation and item level must be present in order to reference the source. The first two levels relate to the content, the other relate to the form a writing appears. Especially for the identification of legal documents an unique identifier must be mandatory in the context of electronic messaging to enable referencing. URN:LEX and ECLI present themselves to be candidates for 'BB10 —Generation of unique id'. CEN MetaLex is an XML document format which allows for the incorporation of URN:LEX..."

  • [May 31, 2013] "Six Goals for Public Access to Case Law." By Daniel Lewis and Nik Reed. VoxPopuLII. See also GPO FDsys "Retrieve by Citation" feature supporting several different legal citation systems.
    "We believe that FDsys [U.S. Federal Digital System] is a commendable step toward comprehensive public access to law, and toward enabling innovation in the legal space. Left to its current trajectory, however, it is certain to fall short of its potential... For years the federal government has outsourced the creation of official opinions, relying on Westlaw and Lexis to create and publish them. These publishers are handed slip opinions by court staff, provide some editing, assign citations and release official versions through their systems. As a result, access to case law has been de facto privatized, and restricted... We believe that there are several key goals FDsys can accomplish, and that by doing so it will win meaningful support from the legal community and increase its end value and usage; with loftier goals (some modest, others ambitious), FDsys would truly become a world-class opinion publishing system...

    The first three goals #1-#3 are the basic building blocks necessary to achieve meaningful open-access to the law. Goals #3-#6 involve the electronic format and storage medium used, and are steps that would be low-cost enablers of massive innovation. (1): Comprehensive Access to Opinions [Does every federal court release every published and unpublished opinion? Are the electronic records comprehensive in their historic reach?]; (2): Opinions that can be Cited in Court [Are the official versions of cases provided, not just the slip opinions? And/or, can the version released by FDsys be cited in court?]; (3): Vendor-Neutral Citations [Are the opinions provided with a vendor-neutral citation (using, e.g., paragraph numbers)?]; (4): Opinions in File Formats that Enable Innovation [Are opinions provided in both human and machine-readable formats?]; (5): Opinions Marked with Meta-Data [Is a machine-readable language such as XML used to tag information like case date, title, citation, etc? Is additional markup of information such as sectional breaks, concurrences, etc. provided?] (6): Bulk Access to Opinions [Are cases accessible via bulk access methods such as FTP or an API?]..."

  • [June 2013] The State Decoded Version 0.7 Released." Summary: The State Decoded: State Codes, for Humans: "The State Decoded is a platform that displays state codes, court decisions, and information from legislative tracking services to make it all more understandable to normal humans... A free, open source, PHP- and MySQL-based application is provided to parse and display laws." Support (including bulk upload) has been provided by several U.S. States. See the article by Waldo Jaquith for a description of 'The State Decoded' as of December 2012.

  • [June 11, 2013] "Citation Rules, Law Libraries, and Access to Justice." By Catherine Best. Guide to Canadian Legal Research. And see A Neutral Citation Standard for Case Law: Implementation of the Neutral Citation Standard for Case Law across Canada.
    "... British Columbia adopted neutral citation in 1999 (BCCA) and 2000 (BCSC), so a significant body of its case law is easily accessible by neutral citation. The use of neutral citation with no parallel citations for BC cases does not pose any access barriers, particularly with the ease of accessing this case law on CanLII [Canadian Legal Information Institute]. Indeed, the new directive removes barriers and therefore increases access for cases that have a neutral citation. What about cases without neutral citation? By allowing citation to QL or Westlaw Canada for those cases, with no parallel citations, how will self-represented litigants — or even lawyers without accounts to those commercial services — obtain those cases? Fortunately, the BC Courthouse Libraries provide public access, and all in-library users have free access to both QL and LawSource. In British Columbia this change should not have a negative impact on access to justice for both the public and the profession. The situation is different for jurisdictions such as Ontario and Quebec, where the courts were late in adopting neutral citation..."

  • [June 14, 2013] "New Jersey Statutes Online: A Little Better." By John Joergensen (Rutgers, The State University of NJ, Newark). Presented at the 2013 CALI Conference for Law School Computing (CALIcon), Chicago-Kent College of Law, June 13-15, 2013. NB: UELMA (Section 5) addresses "Authentication of Official Electronic Record": "An official publisher of legal material in an electronic record that is designated as official under Section 4 shall authenticate the record. To authenticate an electronic record, the publisher shall provide a method for a user to determine that the record received by the user from the publisher is unaltered from the official record published by the publisher..."
    "With the State of New Jersey considering the potential costs of adopting UELMA [The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act], it was important to show how the N.J. Statutes could be made available cheaply, and in an UELMA compliant manner. At the same time, why not throw in some linked data? The speaker will discussed what we did to produce the New Jersey Statutes database, N.J. Legislature, how we did it, and why. The discussion will cover the following topics... Why the project was undertaken, what it has to do with UELMA, and why it matters..." Earlier (2002) "The New Jersey Courts Publishing Project of the Rutgers-Camden Law Library."

  • [June 14, 2013] Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation [19th Edition Digital Version, pending]. By Carl Malamud, Public.Resource.Org "...the stringent and unbending copyright restrictions surrounding the Bluebook [Wikipedia] are a huge brake on innovation for the legal profession. Those who would build new legal tools that incorporate the mechanics of citation are prohibited from doing so by the terms of use..." [...] "One course of action would be to appoint a Blue Ribbon Commission on the Bluebook to cut through the red tape, with an explicit charge to consider a CC-Zero or other Creative Commons license." Example: see the online partial-only version (digital). See ongoing: Harvard, let everyone have access to the Bluebook!" by Cory Doctorow (June 26, 2013).

    Related: Bluebook files for developers (Python, JSON, CSV, CSL) from Law.Resource.Org, including Bluebook style cast in the Citation Style Language (CSL), journal abbreviations listed in the Bluebook, word and phrase abbreviations listed in the Bluebook, list of reporters, jurisdictions... [constants; jurisdictions; mlz-amlaw-master; mlz-amlaw-names; mlz-amlaw-phrases; mlz-amlaw.csl and snapshot 2014-01]

    NB: Other citation standards applicable for U.S. law include, for example, The Maroonbook and The ALWD Citation Manual. For other countries, see Wikipedia or resources from Washington University School of Law.

  • [July 2013] "In Support of Universal Citation [Universal Citation Guide, Third Edition]." By Anne Burnett and Dan Cordova. AALL Spectrum 17:9 (July 2013), pages 12-13. "This summer, AALL will publish the third edition of AALL's Universal Citation Guide in the latest example of nearly two decades of work by AALL members to promote the use of citation formats that are independent of any specific vendor or medium... AALL's work to promote universal citation continues with the release of the third edition of its Universal Citation Guide, successor to AALL Universal Citation Guide, Version 2.1."

    Much of AALL's work [subsequent to the February 2003 adoption by the ABA House of Delegates of the Universal Citation Facilitation Recommendation] on citation reform has been through the various incarnations of the committee originating as the Citation Formats Committee. In 2008, the Citation Formats Committee merged with the Access to Legal Information Committee to form the Electronic Legal Information Access and Citation Committee (ELIACC), which retained its charge regarding universal citation when renamed the Digital Access to Legal Information Committee (DALIC) in 2010. ELIACC and then DALIC members have been working for the past few years to clarify and standardize the Citation Guide's rules and to update the appendices. Former ELIACC Chair Linda Defendeifer's technical edits of the second edition paved the way for the substantive edit that will result in the soon-to-be-published third edition. The goal is for the new edition to be a streamlined, easier-to-use, more practical guide that will serve as a tool in advocating for courts and other government entities to adopt a system of universal citation.. Sixteen [U.S.] states have now adopted a form of universal citation. Online-only publication of official documents can be a cost-cutting option for state and local governments, possibly opening the door to discussion about a form of citation that is not dependent on a print or print-like publication platform or on citation to the product of a specific vendor. Given these financial realities, AALL anticipates additional states jumping on the universal citation bandwagon in the near future... The adoption of a public domain citation system in Colorado and Illinois was based on one (or more) of the following acknowledgments: (1) that our written law is public and should be openly and publicly available, (2) that most lawyers use electronic databases to find current law, and (3) that impediments to legal resources in print are expanding, including cost, competition for space, and security concerns that result in limited (if any) access to broad, current collections..."

  • [August 15, 2013] "AT4AM: The XML Web Editor Used by Members of European Parliament." By Claudio Fabiani. In VoxPopuLII.

    "... AT4AM (Authoring Tool for Amendments) is a web editor provided to Members of European Parliament (MEPs) that has greatly improved the drafting of amendments at European Parliament since its introduction in 2010.... AT4AM for All uses Akoma Ntoso XML format as input format for source texts and as output format for amendments... After two years of intensive usage, Members of European Parliaments have drafted 285.000 amendments via AT4AM. The tool is also used daily by the staff of the secretariat in charge of receiving tabled amendments, checking linguistic and legal accuracy and producing voting lists. Today more then 2300 users access the system regularly, and no one wants to go back to the traditional methods of drafting... What distinguishes the approach taken by EP from other legislative actors who handle XML documents is the fact that EP decided to use XML to feed the legislative chain rather than just converting existing documents into XML for distribution. This aspect is fundamental because requirements are much stricter when the result of XML conversion is used as the first step of legislative chain. In fact, the proposal coming from European Commission is first converted in XML and after loaded into AT4AM. Because the tool relies on the XML content, it is important to guarantee a valid structure and coherence between the language versions. The same articles, paragraphs, point, subpoints must appear at the correct position in all the 23 language versions of the same text. The ambition of EP is that other Parliaments with fewer resources may take advantage of this development to improve their legislative drafting chain. Moreover, the adoption of such tools allows a Parliament to move towards an XML based legislative chain. The distribution of legislative content in open document formats like XML allows other parties to treat in an efficient way the legislation produced... AT4AM for All is an open source project released under the European Union Public Licence (EUPL)..."

  • [August 16, 2013] "MLZ: Citation-to-Case in Two Clicks." By Frank Bennett. In CitationStylist [Announcements].
    "[... implementing] an idea that I had several years ago: explore ways of supporting legal research through Zotero's Locate Manager. This is essentially just a small amount of clever glue code that allows MLZ or Zotero to import a predefined openSearch template, and use that as the basis of automated queries based on the metadata of a specific item in the local database. The query is fired off, and the browser takes care of the rest... To my vast and utter surprise, it was actually quite simple to set up a basic openSearch resolver bridge in MLZ. You are looking at one now [image file]... Using the newly added resolver is another dose of anti-climax. Click on the Locate button after selecting a Case item in MLZ and choose the Google Scholar (Law) option from the pulldown menu. If there is a case by that name in Google Scholar, it will open in the browser. The resolver is defined according to the openSearch standard, and it's not particularly an MLZ thing: it can be installed in mainstream Zotero as well, following exactly the same steps...

    Building out MLZ resolver support along the lines described above may help to forward the purposes of the UniversalCitation.Org discussions of 2011. Even the very simple title-only openSearch bridge provided by this page has immediate utility to users. A practical desktop tool that leverages available public resolvers shows their value in a way that most users can readily understand. There are powerful countervailing interests, of course, but a trouble-free demo or two may help renew the push toward vendor-neutral citation and direct-from-government publication of judgments. In the meantime, each openSearch bridge that covers a particular service is a building block toward the construction of a more general resolver service down the road..."

  • [September 01, 2013] "Crown Legislation Mark-up Language (CLML) User Survey." Posted by John Sheridan (Head of Legislation Services, The [UK] National Archives) and Catherine Tabone. See also: Putting APIs first: legislation.gov.uk, Via Twitter and Legal Informatics Blog.
    "... Crown Legislation Mark-up Language (CLML) is used to represent UK legislation in XML. It's the base format for legislation published on the legislation.gov.uk website. CLML is currently expressed as a W3C XML Schema which is owned and maintained by The National Archives. A version of the schema can be accessed online at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/schema/legislation.xsd. Legislation as CLML XML can be accessed on the website via the API by adding /data.xml to any legislation content page... [e.g., "Communications Act 2003" (example base "A": /ukpga/2003/21/section/1 ) here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/section/1, then + "/data/xml" etc: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/section/1/data.xml, and http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/21/section/1/data.rdf]...

    We are currently looking to formulate a strategy for the management and future development of CLML. Points of particular interest are XML schema language choices, version management, extensions and application specific profiles. We are seeking opinions from people who use or would be interested in using CLML as well as people who have experience in developing and maintaining complex XML schemas especially relating to legislative content. We are also investigating the best way to increase user involvement... Schema Extension: We envisage there being several different variations of the CLML schema in use, each specific to a particular application e.g. legislation publishing or legislation drafting. There are two general approaches that we could use to achieve this: 1) A small core schema with many extension points to allow for different application profile requirements to be added; 2) A large super-schema that contains elements for all application profiles together with mechanisms to impose restrictions and create sub-schemas.... There are several different ways to create application specific variations of CLML: (a) Modularised schema with pre-defined optional modules that can be included/excluded to create different application profiles; (b) Core schema with extension options to create additional custom modules for different application profiles; (c) Super-schema containing references that can be used by transformations to categorise elements and generate custom sub-schemas... In addition to the approaches described above for the creation of application specific variations of CLML we are also looking at providing a mechanism to allow further custom extensions. We are considering implementing this by adding the any and anyAttribute elements, provided by W3C XSD, at likely extension points to allow use of additional elements and attributes not declared in the CLML schema..."

  • [December 13, 2013] "A Proposal for Introducing the ECLI Standard in the Italian Judicial Documentary System." By Lorenzo Bacci, Enrico Francesconi, and Maria Teresa Sagri (ITTIG-CNR). 35 pages. Presented at the JURIX 2013 Conference, The 26th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems, University of Bologna, Italy. Session VI: Legal Information Extraction and Legal Applications. See also ECLI.
    "Pilot case: (1) Collaboration with the civil section of the Court of Milan: transparent assignment of a ECLI identifier for new and legacy documents, and identification of judicial references in texts and construction of the corresponding ECLI identifier; (2) Allows case-laws hypertextual linking across Europe; (3) Identifying citations can be helpful for both judges and legal scholars; (4) It's important to distinguish between the cited issuing authorities... Judicial citations parsing: spotting a judicial citation in a text means identifying and extracting the fields that characterize it (type of referenced document, issuing authority, numbering features, chronological features). There is a lack of consolidated best practices for judicial citations with respect to legislative citations. Quite big number of ways to express authorities, numbers and dates. No constraints about order or guarantee of presence of the fields of the ref. Fields can be implicit or deduced by human legal logic. Metadata about the text analyzed can be helpful. The fields of the reference are mixed with the rest of the text. No guarantee for fields to be consecutive within the text. Context: Where is the reference? Where does it begin and where it ends? We need to look for fragments of text containing one or more reference... Conclusions: (a) A proposal for the implementation of ECLI in the italian judicial system; (b) collaboration with the civil section of the Court of Milan; (c) qualitative and quantitative analysis of italian judicial citations; (d) a rule based software able to automatically extract citations and a web application that implements it..."

  • [January 15, 2014] "A Modest Proposal: Modern Legal Citations. A Better Way to Find Legal Resources." By Aaron Greenspan (PlainSite). See also (1) the followup posting on the suitability of the proposed "LREF" hyperlinks to encode metadata of various kinds ("A Not-So-Modest Proposal: No More Legal PDFs"), and (2) PlainSite API.
    "... It's widely understood that there should be a better way to encode references to legal texts. Committees have been and are being formed; academic debate abounds. The following is a simple proposal for legal citation formatting that aims to make maximum use of the ample tools that the past several decades have already brought us. As robust and time-honored as the current West Publishing-based system of citations is — and there are many other articles that go into its pros and cons — legal citations could and should work in the same way as the hyperlink just described. We propose a legal citation format that works in a similar fashion, but instead of being contained in the venerable HREF parameter, we propose a second and optional parameter for the A tag, called LREF for Legal Reference. LREF links would look like this: For the docket corresponding to California Northern District Court's Case No. 5:13-cv-02054-EJD: docket://gov.uscourts.cand.5-13-cv-02054... The link format is derived from the format used by the RECAP project, which uses an ARPA-style backwards domain name to go from the broadest scope to the most specific as one reads left to right... The dependence upon the domain name system is convenient because most courts already have a domain name and domain names uniquely identify their owners in a manner that the vast majority of people already accept and understand. For those that have more than one for whatever reason (such as the County of San Francisco, which owns both sfcourts.org and sfsuperiorcourt.org), a primary domain name would have to be chosen. An additional advantage of the proposed naming system is that it can be useful beyond courts. For example, the following link might identify a patent application..."

Updates: Further Information and Discussion


URI: http://xml.coverpages.org/neutral-legal-citation-data-and-markup-models.html