Robb is well known as the developer of OregonLaws.org, the free access to law site for Oregon statutes, legal news, and Web services that improve access to those sources, including research trails, a corpus search, a legal glossary, and a “Law Robot” that automatically retrieves full text of statutes in response to a citation number.
Robb accepts suggestions for developing the site here, and discusses his development approach in his post The Recipe for Better Legal Information Services, at the VoxPopuLII blog, published by Cornell’s Legal Information Institute.
Currently, WebLaws.org features the following content and services:
- All of the content and services of OregonLaws.org;
- New York statutes and legal news, with a research trail;
- An archive/public repository, that currently contains five editions of the Oregon Revised Statutes; and
- An API.
Last week, Robb kindly shared with me his plans for further development of WebLaws.org. In the coming months, he hopes to add the following content and functions to the site:
- Cross-jurisdiction searching via an LCSH [Library of Congress Subject Heading]-based ontology. Each jd [jurisdiction] will have a mapping or adapter between its terms and the LCSH allowing meaningful semantic searches across many states. There’ll also be an optional LCSH-centric view of the site for people browising jd’s that they’re not familiar with.
- Adding LCSH’s to the legal glossary to allow subject-based filtering, and context for the result.
- Finishing the NY site [“New York laws, statutes, and news”] to the same level of quality as Oregon [OregonLaws.org].
- Figuring out a way to adequately present CA [California] laws even though the legislature doesn’t provide “leadlines” (titles) of the actual sections.
- Creating a feed for NY listing upcoming changes to the statutes.
- Creating an archive of older NY statute revisions.
- Creating 3–4 iPhone apps: legal glossary, Oregon statutes, NY statutes, etc. I’ll post a couple screen shots to my blog.
- Developing more web APIs to give access to the content. (I currently have one available, which I’ve listed at Programmable Web: http://www.programmableweb.com/api/weblaws.
- Creating subject-area micro-sites (e.g., Oregon bicycle law) which would be edited by attorneys and cull together references to legal resources.
- Better automate the inclusion of relevant secondary sources.
- Visualization of the structure of laws — this is something I got started with, but it hasn’t been a necessity. I’ve got the ontologies fully OO modeled; I just need to find some good vis. libraries.
Many thanks to Robb for sharing these exciting plans, with which we wish him much success.