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Subject: [legalxml-comment] RE: Legal XML

Hi John,
The work of creating Legal Document standards, using XML with in OASIS, is
really just beginning and it's a great time to join up and help create the
standards in light of your interesting issues around TEI. Unfortunately,
standards will take time - considerable time - so I fear there's nothing
"precooked" to support your needs at this stage!
I'm sure you'll find other OASIS /LegalXML members are interested in
discussing and furthering the idea of a standard to support the TEI needs.
BTW: I was heartily amused at the example you chose to demonstrate your
point. :-)
-----Original Message-----
From: John Kelly [mailto:jckelly2@uno.edu] 
Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2002 11:30 AM
To: eddie@ringtailsolutions.com
Subject: RE: Legal XML
Thanks for your prompt and informative reply.  I'm afraid I haven't done
anything in terms of adopting TEI to these legal documents.  Before I even
attempted such a task I wanted to find out what is available and what has
been done in other areas with legal documents.
These 30,000 case files are quite wonderful and unique.  Generally they
consist of a complete transcript of the lower court proceedings, including
filings, orders, evidence and judgments.  They also include briefs submitted
by the attorneys to the Supreme Court, and the court's decision, as well as
petitions and decisions on rehearing motions.  While many of these decisions
are available online via Lexis-Nexis, there are many opinions that were not
recorded and otherwise unavailable.
Making such a collection available online will be a Herculean task.  One of
the challenges is making them accessible to scholars who are not lawyers,
such as historians and anthropologists.  They all look for different things,
and they currently must rely on the legal nomenclature to get at what
interests them.  An example would be "placage" which was the system in
antebellum New Orleans where a white man kept a quadroon mistress as a sort
of shadow family, often raising and acknowledging their offspring.  An
historian looking in Lexis Nexis would come up with nothing searching for
"placage".  They instead must use "concubine" as that is the legal term that
The point I am making, which gets me back to my original query, is wondering
how much to rely upon the legal structure when tagging these documents, and
how to introduce new elements that lawyers are not necessarily interested
in.  Information such as the names of individuals (witnesses as well as
plaintiffs and defendants), streets, neighborhoods, as well as relationship
information (family members, business partners, race) is of prime interest
to these other researchers.  On the other hand, TEI doesn't necessarily
differentiate between a petition, brief, or an opinion, each of which
carries very different weight in a case.  I suspect we would need to develop
a hybrid DTD to accommodate both.
Sorry to take up so much of your time.  I'll look over the sites you
mentioned.  Thanks for your help.
-----Original Message-----
From: Eddie O'Brien [mailto:eddie@ringtailsolutions.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2002 9:59 AM
To: 'John Kelly'
Cc: 'Legalxml-Comment (E-mail)'
Subject: RE: Legal XML
Hi John,
I'd be interested, and suspect others would as well, to review what you've
done with the TEI XML Tagging System.
There are a number of standards under way as part of the OASIS / LegalXML
standards group.
There is a draft standard from the work undertaken prior to LegalXML joining
OASIS. This is at:
There are a number of other standards groups that can be found at the Oasis
web site,  <http://www.oasis-open.org/> http://www.oasis-open.org/

 <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/legalxml-courtfiling/> LegalXML Court

 <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/legalxml-econtracts/> LegalXML

 <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/legalxml-enotary/> LegalXML eNotary

 <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/legalxml-intjustice/> LegalXML

 <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/legalxml-legislative/> LegalXML

 <http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/legalxml-transcripts/> LegalXML
You may also want to look at these sites.
-----Original Message-----
From: John Kelly [mailto:jckelly2@uno.edu] 
Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2002 9:53 AM
To: eddie@ringtailsolutions.com
Subject: Legal XML
Mr. O'Brien,
I am a librarian exploring the possibilities of digitizing historic case
files of the Louisiana Supreme Court (1813-1920) which are one of our most
important collections.  I am familiar with the TEI XML tagging system, but
was wondering if there were standards for tagging legal documents.  My
research of the subject leads me to believe you're just getting started and
haven't developed a system of tags and a DTD for transcripts and other legal
documents.  Is there some system or standard you have been using in the
meantime, or would it be advantageous to adapt those derived from TEI for
other historical documents?  Are historical legal documents (and their
variety) figuring in your committee's work on Legal XML in any way?
Thanks for your help.
John C. Kelly
Digital Initiatives Librarian
Earl K. Long Library
University of  New Orleans

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