Archive for March 2009
A small group has been actively progressing the FreeLegalWeb agenda. Here’s an update on our progress:
- With me, Robert Casalis de Pury and Harry Metcalfe are now jointly managing the project.
- Francis Davey is actively contributing to the development of the spec and content.
- Rudi Moffit is helping us develop and deliver our funding pitch.
- On the government side, Richard Stirling (Cabinet Office) and John Sheridan (OPSI) are facilitating the project via the POI agenda and have provided Rudi’s services.
- Thanks to William Flack, Nearly Legal, Joe Ury and Stephen Moore for their input as to content.
- Thanks also to all others who have contributed comments here and on the Google Group.
A set of about pages and some pre-prototype visuals have been prepared to illustrate and prove concepts and help us develop the spec. Citator development is under way.
Data and content provision:
- The OPSI legislation API is near final.
- BAILII will be providing the judgments metadata we require.
- Stephen Moore of CaseCheck has agreed in principle to us syndicating all case summaries from CaseCheck (which are licensed on a CC by-nc-sa basis). Currently CaseCheck publishes about 4,000 (Scottish/UK) case summaries; these are to be complemented in April by about another 5,000 (E&W/UK) sourced from Law Brief Update.
- Francis Davey, Nearly Legal and William Flack are already involved re content for the Housing pilot. I will be pursuing others in this and other areas once we’ve finalised our pitch.
Current priorities are:
- Incorporate a Community Interest Company
- Complete the Funding Proposal
- Complete the Functional Spec
We should in the next few weeks be in a position to seriously tout for some funding and move this on.
Tom Bruce, co-founder and director of the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School posts an interesting piece on the big new world of legal informatics, concluding:
We need to make informed choices between inexpensive automated approaches that work by brute force and the hand-crafted, highly-accurate approaches of legal bibliography that are not always scalable or affordable. We need to recalibrate what we mean by “authority”, and begin to think about measures of quality and reliability for legal text that avoid the creation of unnatural monopolies in legal information.
As a step in that direction LII has started a guest blog, VoxPopuLII, which will include big ideas from “folks in all different tribes in all different places on the intellectual and global map”.
We’ll be in touch, Tom.
(Hat tip to Joe Ury)
The Power of Information Task Force has just published its final report describing the key actions that government can take in the short to medium term significantly to improve its use of digital technologies.
Of particular relevance to FreeLegalWeb is the section on modernising data publishing and reuse.