Models for a Global System for Free Access to Legal Information: The WorldLII Approach
Chapter in Stephan Weth and Samuel van Oostrom, eds. Festschrift für Maximilian Herberger, juris GmbH, Saarbrücken 2016, p. 193ff.
18 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2017
Date Written: July 20, 2016
Since the development of the World Wide Web made possible the emergence of large scale free access to legal information via the Internet from the early 1990s onward and particularly since the formation of the Free Access to Law Movement (FALM) in 2002, it has been a goal of some free-access legal publishers to work toward the development of one or more systems providing free access to legal information of global or near-global scope.
This paper first discusses six models that such attempts can and have followed. It then focuses on one such attempt, the development since 2002 of the World Legal Information Institute (WorldLII) using what we call a free access hybrid distributed model. It involves the collaboration of at least ten legal information institutes (LIIs). By the end of 2015 WorldLII provided access to over 1800 databases. The paper analyses its components, and particularly how the LawCite citator is the 'glue' between them; and the standards on which WorldLII relies.
Keywords: Free access to law, AustLII, WorldLII, hypertext, text retrieval, search engines, data mining
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