Professor Frank Bennett of Nagoya University Graduate School of Law has posted CSL, Metadata, and Legal Information that Just Works, on the VoxPopuLII Blog, published by the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School.
In this post, Professor Bennett describes the legal citation management capabilities of the open source Citation Style Language (CSL) — “an XML vocabulary for accurately describing citation and bibliography formats” — which is used by Zotero and other open citation management systems. Professor Bennett then demonstrates how CSL operates to output legal citation data in particular legal citation formats. In addition, he refers to CitationStylist, his new Website that provides access to software, tools, and development news related to legal (and multilingual) citation styles supported by CSL.
In his post, Professor Bennett criticizes proprietary legal database vendors for failing to make metadata publicly available on the free Web. He describes the benefits of publicly exposing metadata for legal resources, and praises several members of the free-access-to-law community — including the Legal Information Institute, Google Scholar, the UK National Archives‘ Legislation.gov.uk system, Public.Resource.Org, and The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) — for publishing their legal metadata on the Internet in open formats. Professor Bennett shows how CSL and Zotero can foster the free circulation of legal metadata, and help users manage such metadata.
Using examples of code, Professor Bennett explains how CSL formats legal citations. He highlights a new CSL and Zotero capability: the ability to associate abbreviations lists — including lists of periodical title abbreviations required by many legal citation standards — with particular citation styles. Professor Bennett also describes a Firefox add-on that makes use of abbreviations lists.
This post will be of interest to legal publishers, legal scholars, developers of legal information systems, legal information professionals, the free-access-to-law community, and all those who regularly use legal information.