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Constitute: The World's Constitutions to Read, Search, and Compare

9 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2018 First Look: Accepted

See all articles by Zachary Elkins

Zachary Elkins

University of Texas, Austin

Tom Ginsburg

University of Chicago Law School

James Melton

University College London - School of Public Policy

Robert Shaffer

University of Pennsylvania

Juan Sequeda

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Computer Science

Daniel P. Miranker

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Computer Science

Abstract

Constitutional design and redesign is constant. Over the last 200 years, countries have replaced their constitutions an average of every 19 years and some have amended them almost yearly. A basic problem in the drafting of these documents is the search and analysis of model text deployed in other jurisdictions. Traditionally, this process has been ad hoc and the results suboptimal. As a result, drafters generally lack systematic information about the institutional options and choices available to them. In order to address this informational need, the investigators developed a web application, Constitute, with the use of semantic technologies. Constitute provides searchable access to the world's constitutions using the conceptualization, texts, and data developed by the Comparative Constitutions Project. An OWL ontology represents 330 "topics" - e.g. right to health - with which the investigators have tagged relevant provisions of nearly all constitutions in force as of September of 2013. The tagged texts were then converted to an RDF representation using  semantic search features to allow constitutional drafters to read, search, and compare the world's constitutions. The goal of the project is to improve the efficiency and systemization of constitutional design and, thus, to support the independence and self-reliance of constitutional drafters.

Keywords: Constitution, Search, RDB2RDF, Direct Mapping, R2RML, Ontology

Suggested Citation

Elkins, Zachary and Ginsburg, Tom and Melton, James and Shaffer, Robert and Sequeda, Juan and Miranker, Daniel P., Constitute: The World's Constitutions to Read, Search, and Compare (2014). Journal of Web Semantics First Look. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3199104 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3199104

Zachary Elkins (Contact Author)

University of Texas, Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Tom Ginsburg

University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

James Melton

University College London - School of Public Policy ( email )

29/30 Tavistock Square
London, WC1H 9QU
United Kingdom

Robert Shaffer

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Perry World House
3803 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://rbshaffer.github.io

Juan Sequeda

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Computer Science ( email )

2317 Speedway, Stop D9500
Austin, TX
United States

Daniel P. Miranker

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Computer Science ( email )

2317 Speedway, Stop D9500
Austin, TX
United States

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