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7. Desirable features of a new approach

These factors support approach taken by AustLII, and given its most extensive testing to date in the development of the Project DIAL prototype.

This approach to reducing the problems of legal research on the internet rests on these propositions:

The key to effective legal research on the internet may therefore be a tight integration of an intellectual index and a search engine based on a web spider, a symbiotic relationship in which each builds on the features provided by the other[30].

AustLII's software

AustLII personnel[31] have developed the following software which has been used to implement this approach: Project DIAL provides the first opportunity for extensive testing of the targeted web spider. It will soon play a significant role in other aspects of AustLII's future developments, both in relation to Australian legal materials and other international materials such as an indigenous law materials and world library of case law. Some of the research on internet law indexing is supported by Australian Research Council grants.

A history of the development of this approach, and of the early stages of Project DIAL, can be found in `Future-proofing a global internet index by a targeted web spider and embedded searches'[33]http://www2.austlii.edu.au/~graham/Futureproof/indexers.html]. The rest of this paper provides examples of the more interesting aspects of the project to date.

[30] Aspects of such an approach, in a pre-Internet context, are explored in Greenleaf G, Mowbray A and van Dijk P (1995) 'Representing and using legal knowledge in integrated decision support systems - DataLex WorkStations' Artificial Intelligence and Law , Kluwer, Vol 3, Nos 1-2, 1995, 97-124

[31] In particular, Geoffrey King, Daniel Austin and Andrew Mowbray

[32] The names `Wendolyn' and `Wensleydale' have been reserved for future software developed for this project. For further details see

[33] Australian Society of Indexers Annual Conference 'The Futureproof Indexer' 27-28 September 1997, Katoomba, Australia -

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