With a Wysh and a Prayer: An Experiment in Cooperative Development of Legal Knowledge Bases
2000 (2) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT)
8 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2015
Date Written: March 1, 2000
This paper describes an ongoing experiment in collaborative construction of legal knowledgebases (KBs) over the World Wide Web. The aim is to enable different knowledgebase developers to co-operatively develop KBs on their own web sites (all remote from the site of the inferencing software), which KBs then interact when invoked by users. This paper discusses the tools under development to facilitate such ‘cooperative’ development of legal knowledge-bases, and an experiment in their use.
KB development at AustLII (Australasian Legal Information Institute) works within particular constraints: (i) they are intended to be coherent part of a very large internet site of legislation and case law; and (ii) they are intended to be available for free access. These constraints/assumptions are not the ideal starting points for the development of legal inferencing systems. It is unknown whether useful legal KBs can be developed in a complex statutory domain by a group of interested participants in less than ideal circumstances. This experiment involved a group of about 20 university law students in a 1999 course where the students developed a collaborative application based on the Australian Copyright Act 1968. The inferencing engine (YSH) and its web interface (wysh) were used. A wiki interface was used to allow students to edit their parts of the KB. The paper concludes that the use of wikis in the collaborative creation of legal KBs over the World Wide Web appears to have considerable potential.
Keywords: knowledge base; AI and law; artificial intelligence and law; inferencing
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