5.5. Options for expansion of Development Law Subject pages
The DIAL Index prototype contains a limited range of Development Law Subject
pages, but the fully developed system would be based to a large extent around
the expansion of these types of pages.
Development Law Subject pages such as the `Telecommunications' pages cannot be
built quickly or automatically. It will take a reasonably skilled indexer one
to two days to construct an index of National Legislation even on an easily
described topic such as `telecommunications law' (and this may take longer as
the range of legislation expands), and at least another day is needed to locate
relevant international agreements and organisations, law reform reports, and
other Internet law indexes, and to construct even a small range of embedded
searches. Although economies of scale may develop, it will be difficult for an
indexer to construct extensive indexes on more than a couple of topics per week
(assuming that this is all the person is doing).
Useful Development Law Subject pages can be built more quickly if a
comprehensive country-by-country index of National Legislation is not
attempted, but more rapidly implimentable techniques are used. For example,
provided that legislation from as many countries as possible has been made
searchable via its addition to DIAL Search, then the construction of a few
well-crafted embedded searches over the proposed Legislation Library in DIAL
Search can provide an extensive but not comprehensive list of legislation on
that topic, and the list will grow automatically as more legislation is added
to DIAL Search. Similarly, embedded searches on the same topic over the
proposed Treaties Library, Law Reform Library and Law Indexes Library in DIAL
Search can produce similarly rapid results in these areas, provided that an
extensive range of treaties, law reform reports etc is added to DIAL Search. In
short, the expansion of DIAL Search can make it possible to develop rapidly a
basic level of Development Law Subject pages.
This suggests that two levels of Development Law Subject pages should be
considered: standard (relying to a large extent on embedded DIAL Searches), and
comprehensive (involving in addition the country-by-country indexing of
legislation, law reform reports etc). There are stages in between, such as
where standard pages are supplemented by individual links to resources from key
countries (eg the USA). Work on the development of standard pages could
progress systematically across a wide list of subject headings.
Topics for which comprehensive Development Law Subject pages are to be created
could then be chosen with some care, based perhaps on factors such as (i) a
priority need for such information, based on the known legislative agendas of
DMCs; (ii) the Bank's priority areas for development law reform; (iii) the
information needs of particular development projects funded by the Bank; (iv)
requests received in relation to the information needs of other particular
projects, whether by national governments, other development funding agencies,
NGOs or otherwise. The DIALogue facility may be a useful source of feedback for
deciding priorities in the choice of topics for comprehensive indexing.
The expansion of the Development Law Subject pages will require a considered
approach to choice of subject indexing terms, both in order to structure the
sub-headings of the pages, and in order to choose terms to include in embedded
searches (the importance of which are explained above).
The two problems are similar in many respects, both raising variants of the
A list of
subject headings proposed by the Bank for expansion of the Development Law
Subject headings is in the Annexures to this Chapter. It is a valuable starting
point for development of the long-term structure of the index, but is
essentially a set of first level headings which requires both an augmentation
of civil law terminology, and an expansion to at least second-level subject
headings for the purpose of both DIAL Index headings and embedded searches,
probably by use of one or more legal thesaurii.
- The need to find and adopt a well-structured and comprehensive list of
legal subject headings and/or a legal thesaurus.
- The need to accommodate terminology from both the common law (including
both English and American variants) and the civil law traditions.
- The need to accommodate multi-lingual materials, and users.
Suitable legal subject headings and thesaurii are not widely available for use
on the Internet. No single available source seems to provide what will be
needed for Project DIAL. It is particularly valuable to locate thesaurii that
are available via the Internet, since they will be available as reference tools
for all indexers working on Project DIAL.
The US Library of Congress' Global Legal Information Network (GLIN), discussed
in Chapter 2, provides the GLIN Thesaurushttp://lcweb2.loc.gov/glin/indxhlp.html],
which it also describes as `GLIN Search Terms (Subject Headings)'. It provides
a list of first level subject headings, giving access to a more detailed
second-level list of broader, narrower and related terms, as illustrated below
for the subject `water'.
Entries concerning water in the GLIN thesaurus -
The `Water Laws' detailed entry in the GLIN thesaurus - http://rs7.loc.gov:8081/lexico/glin/w/Water_laws.html
In this example, the GLIN thesaurus does not provide all of the
synonyms and related terms which would probably be needed to construct a
comprehensive Development Law Subject page concerning water resources,
including terms such as `riparian rights' and `irrigation', and even broader
terms such as `law of the sea'. Nevertheless, the GLIN thesaurus is a very
valuable resource to have available on-line, particularly as means of checking
American terminology. GLIN does not have a very strict hierarchical structure,
as it has some hundreds of first-level headings.
Some other resources which are likely to be valuable in this task are:
Both the LIR and Enterprise
thesaurii are available on disk. A licensing arrangement would be necessary if
extensive use was to be made of either thesaurii. Subject to licence, it would
be possible to make such thesaurii available via the web to all DIAL Index
editors in a password-secure location.
A more ambitious approach to the use of thesaurii which should be pursued in
the development of a permanent DIAL facility would be to automatically convert
every term in one selected thesaurus into a DIAL Search for that word or
phrase. Each major heading in the thesaurus would become a separate page in
DIAL Index, with every Broad Term, Narrrow Term or Related Term becoming the
search terms for a DIAL Search. Preferred Terms would become cross-references
to the DIAL Index page for that term.
- Legal Information Resources Ltd (LIR) A Legal Thesaurus (2nd Ed,
1990), a very extensive thesaurus based on English law, with approximately
4,000 index terms in a hierarchical structure based on only 45 major headings.
- Enterprise Information Management Pty Ltd Legal Thesaurus (5th Ed,
1995), an Australian thesaurus with extensive index terms but no hierarchical
- The Martindale-Hubbell Law Digest classifies legal information from
the USA and 75 other countries under more than 100 topics and 700 subheadingshttp://www.martindale.com/products/digests.html ],
providing an American perspective but some use of other terminology..
- The title schemes used by Butterworths for Halsbury's Laws, Halsbury's
Laws of Australia, Australian Current Law etc.
If this could be done, it would mean that a very extensive set of Development
Law Subject pages, based around embedded DIAL Searches, could be created
without extensive manual indexing. They could form a basic set of pages, some
of which could then be selectively augmented by the addition of indexes of
national legislation (such as the `Telecommunications: National Legislation'
page) and other hand-created indexes.
The approach must be fully automated if it is to be viable, and this is a
significant programming task. It also depends on the choice of one thesaurus as
suitable, and it being available for use. The undesirable alternative is for
DIAL to construct its own thesaurus.
 - a brief description