The legal taxonomy of the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (the CALI Taxonomy) is being marked up in RDF as Linked Data, in a cooperative effort between CALI, the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School (LII), and the Rutgers University Camden Law Library Digital Collections, according to Tom Bruce, Director of the LII, and John Joergensen, creator of the Rutgers Camden Digital Collections.
The CALI announcement is the second recent Linked Data announcement relevant to to the legal community. Earlier this month the Library of Congress (LC) announced that in 2010 it will publish a Linked Data version of the LC Name Authority File, which contains thousands of names of government agencies from the U.S., the U.K., and many other jurisdictions, as well as names of thousands of law-related individuals.
The CALI Taxonomy and the LC Name Authority File will join several other law-related authority files, including the LC Subject Headings, which are available as Linked Data. (Law-related subject authority files are commonly referred to as legal ontologies.)
These Linked Data authority files can be integrated with full text collections of legal resources — such as those of the legal information institutes or digital law libraries — or with collections of legal metadata — such as those of the legal scholarly repositories — to render the meaning, or semantic level, of the names and subject content in those resources intelligible to machines.
As Dr. Adam Wyner of University College London explains in his recent articles on legal ontologies and XML for legal documents, this rendering of the semantic level of legal information processable by machines is what is generally meant by the phrase “the legal Semantic Web.”