Serena Manzoli, LL.M., has published Taxonomies Make the Law. Will Folksonomies Change It?, at VoxPopuLII.
Here are excerpts from the post:
[...] the problems with legal taxonomies occur when the creators and the users don’t share the same frame of mind. And this is most likely to happen when the creators of the taxonomy are lawyers and the users are not lawyers. [...]
Let’s come to folksonomies now. Here, the mismatch between creators (lawyers) and users’ way of reasoning is less likely to occur. The very same users decide which category to create and what to put into it. Moreover, more tags can overlap; that is, the same object can be tagged more than once. This allows the user to consider the same object from different perspectives. [...]‘
What legal folksonomies bring us is:
- User-centered categories
- Flexible categorization systems. Many items can be tagged more than once and so be put into different categories. Legal stuff can be retrieved through different routes but also considered under different lights.
Will this enhance findability? I think it will, especially if the users are non-lawyers. And services that target the low-end of the legal market usually target non-lawyers. [...]
Prediction #1: Folksonomies will provide the right information architecture for non-legal users. [...]
Prediction #2: legal folksonomies in legal teaching would keep lawyers’ minds flexible. [...]
Prediction #3 Legal folksonomies will make the law apply differently.
Let’s wait and see. Let the users tag. Where this tagging is going to take us is unpredictable, yes, but if you look at where taxonomies have taken us for all these years, you may find a clue.
I have a gut feeling that folksonomies are going to change the way we search, teach, and apply the law.
For more details, please see the complete post.