Absence apparently makes the heart grow fonder, as my reader greeted me with an interesting article over atLaw.com by Dr. Adam Zachary Wyner onlegal ontologies and how they may “spin a semantic web”. I have heard it said before that legal information is too broad and deep and resistant to organization to be put under the semantic knife, or more aptly “blanket.” I was heartened to see that Dr. Wyner disagreed (sort of) with this position.
First, I commend Dr. Wyner on providing an excellent explanation of what ontologies, knowledge management and taxonomies are and how they interrelate. I learned a few new concepts reading through his summary.
Next, the problem for those of us anxiously awaiting semantic treatment for case and statutory law is indeed that there is little consistency in how these materials are presented, the wide variety of search need to be satisfied and the sheer volume of material produced on a yearly basis. Dr. Wyner sees this conundrum as well. Coupled with the fact that most text marking, the process by which information is overlaid so that a computer can “read” and calcaulate an answer to a semantic search, would have to be performed by humans in the legal arena, it appears that the desired result may be somewhat of an impossible dream.
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- The Open University Knowledge Media Institute (digitalassetmanagement.org.uk)