Legal Workstations -- Integrating Tools for Lawyers
Australasian Law Teachers Association Conference, Canberra, September 1990
13 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2012
Date Written: September 1990
The DataLex project has developed four separate pieces of software for the computerisation of various aspects of legal materials and legal work: AIRS, a full text retrieval system; LES, an expert system shell and automated document generator; HYPE, a hypertext engine; and X-SH (pronounced ‘x-shell’), a rule-based expert systems shell. In addition, one approach to utilising case law in legal expert systems, PANNDA (precedent analysis by nearest-neighbour discriminant analysis) has been developed in conjunction with LES and X-SH.
The current aim of the Project is to integrate all of these approaches to the computerisation of legal materials into one general-purpose tool, the ‘DataLex Workstation’.
In the course of this integration we intend to advance our second aim, the development of a theoretical vocabulary by which to describe the elements in the computerisation of legal materials. We hope to contribute to the development of a new vocabulary for legal argument and analysis in a new medium, computerised information.
The result will be to develop a theoretical and practical approach to combining four of the differing approaches to computerising legal materials — full text retrieval, expert systems, document generation and hypertext. We are not aware of any other research project that is attempting to integrate all four of these techniques.
A further, very practical, aim of the project is to develop and test the Workstation, and demonstrate its usefulness, through involvement in a number of proto-typical applications of its capabilities in practical legal work, in the public administration, private legal practice, the community legal sector, legal eduction and elsewhere.
There are 3 main components to this side of the Project: (i) improvements to the existing component programs; (ii) integration of the programs into the DataLex Workstation and (iii) writing documentation on use of the Workstation software, for use by application developers.
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