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Subject: Re: [legalcite-markup-discuss] Legacy citations?

Apologies Patrick - I missed this. A lot of email hitting me the past few days. 


On Sat, Sep 28, 2013 at 11:16 AM, Patrick Durusau <patrick@durusau.net> wrote:

So presentation of citations is going to be out of scope?

Not so much 'out of scope' as 'won't be touched.' This comes from an interesting 'debate' I moderated back in my Matthew Bender & Co days where someone on the IT side and a managing editor were wrangling over a citation in a Federal court opinion. There was a citation with a typo - I mean, it was pretty obvious that it was a typo. The IT side wanted to fix it so the cite software would work. The managing editor said 'typo or not, this is what the court wrote - figure out how to make your system work with it.' I believe there may have also been a suggestion made at one point that "*you* can go tell the judge he got it wrong." 

Now, that may have been an extreme situation but the lesson I drew from it is that the technologists have to be able to leave what the court or the legislature put into print alone, for any number of reasons. 

Now the beauty of a well-specified markup model is that it could *allow* for systems to offer alternate renderings of the citations - but always have the base text be the citation as created by the content creators/owners.  

That is the TC will specify metadata from which a citation can be
derived but not actually specify a particular presentation?

Yes, I think that is a basic premise of the initiative. Again, presentations could be derived from the markup - but I think efforts to specify presentations have been done thoroughly and multiple times. Focusing on the metadata model and the markup design keeps the TC on a focused and achievable goal.  

For example:

Gibbons v. Ogden would be something like:

Vol. 22

Court: U.S. Supreme Court

Page: 1


The official, non-vendor citation being 22 U.S. 1.


Curious if parallel citation systems are going to be captured?

I think we would have to find a way to support that. It is just such a basic feature of citations.  

One obvious case is U.S. Supreme Court cases:

For example, Gibbons v. Ogden can also be cited as: 6 L.Ed. 23 or 9
Wheat. 1. (I don't now the US Supreme Court reporter citation (West)).

Another would be the legacy citation systems that the TC proposes to

Reasoning that capturing parallel citations will make the metadata
useful to both current and future software and users.

Yes I agree. Again, such a key feature of citations that we'd have to address it.  

One example would be courts that continue to use vendor specific
citations could be easily mapped to the proposed citation system.

Yep. Bottom line: let the courts do it the way they want to do it and enable infrastructures that enable other players to add value to the resulting documents.  


I am not comfortable with the "...applicable world-wide..." language. 

That implies that while limited in scope to some legal domain, the
claim is being made that the standard should work for all domains.

It might be better to choose a scope of say the Blue Book and/or
whatever the UK equivalent may be, and create metadata for all the
items within those scopes.

Right. Good point. Maybe a better way to say this would be to invert it - basically that the design of the metadata model / markup shouldn't be done in a way that shuts any domain / jurisdiction out. The main thing is to not to make the work US-centric - or common-law centric in such a way that it can't be adapted to other jurisdictions.  

With that experience, other legal domains could be studied and
extensions to the existing metadata made accommodate any needed changes.

Yes - could even be undertaken by domain-specific subcommittees in due course.  

My fear is that unless and until all the targets have been enumerated
and tested, what seems comprehensive now, may not be so upon further

True - always the problem with something that attempts to cover a broad topic like this.  

Hope you are having a great weekend!


On 09/27/2013 06:31 PM, Chet Ensign wrote:
> Hi Patrick,
> Well, in fact, we are scoping the proposed standard narrowly, to
> focus on a metadata model and markup specification, so that those
> centuries worth of cites in a variety of texts need not be meddled
> with.
> There are certainly a great deal of existing work to build on, both
> specs for the text form of citations like the Blue Book and in
> electronic markup. We don't want to reinvent the wheel. It is
> critical though that the result be a free, open standard applicable
> world-wide developed in a forum that ensures open access, broad
> participation, public review and comment and assurance that the
> specification will evolve in methodical, disciplined ways. (Not say
> that other initiatives don't have the qualities - only that our
> proposal presumes those values as well.)
> Note though that this isn't intended to specify forms that the
> citation text should adhere to on the page. My experience at Lexis
> suggests that there's more likelihood of success if we work on the
> enabling technology behind the page.
> Best,
> /chet
> On Sun, Sep 22, 2013 at 8:23 AM, Patrick Durusau
> <patrick@durusau.net>wrote:
> Greetings!
> I read with interest Robin Cover's summary of work on "...a data
> model and markup language standard for neutral/universal legal
> citation...."
> While I am sure such a standard could be useful to a number of
> groups, I am curious how such an effort would treat existing
> citation practices?
> A new standard will exist along side practices that have persisted
> for centuries and some legal materials will continue to be cited in
> their original form, some perhaps forever.
> Recognizing that the Blue Book is a U.S.-centric sub-set of all
> legal citations, would part of such an effort be the collection of
> current and historical legal citation forms?
> Perhaps a "Comprehensive Legal Citation Guide," informally known
> as the "Black Book?"
> Produced in electronic format it could be displayed with the
> appropriate local priority on legal citation resources, unlike the
> Blue Book for example.
> Hope everyone is having a great weekend!
> Patrick
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- --
Patrick Durusau
Technical Advisory Board, OASIS (TAB)
Former Chair, V1 - US TAG to JTC 1/SC 34
Convener, JTC 1/SC 34/WG 3 (Topic Maps)
Editor, OpenDocument Format TC (OASIS), Project Editor ISO/IEC 26300
Co-Editor, ISO/IEC 13250-1, 13250-5 (Topic Maps)

Another Word For It (blog): http://tm.durusau.net
Homepage: http://www.durusau.net
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Chet Ensign
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