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Akoma Ntoso 2


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Powerpoint by Fabio Vitali and Monica Palmirani describing the Akoma Ntoso legal XML project

Powerpoint by Fabio Vitali and Monica Palmirani describing the Akoma Ntoso legal XML project

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  • 1. Akoma Ntoso as a standard for the lifecycle and the transparency of legal and legislative documents 10th International "Law via the Internet" Conference, Durban, South Africa 26 - 27 November 2009 prof. Fabio Vitali Department of Computer Science University of Bologna prof. Monica Palmirani CIRSFID Interdepartmental Centre of ICT & Law
  • 2. Summary
    • Akoma Ntoso
    • The main structure of the document
    • The deep structure of the document
    • Basic metadata
    • Advanced metadata
    • Applications of metadata
    • Conclusions: benefits of the adoption
    • It is an open legal XML standard for parliamentary, legislative and judiciary documents
    • Promoted by the UNITED NATIONS Department for Economics and Social Affairs (UN/DESA) in 2004 from the Kenya Unit
    • It means “ Linked Hearts ” – a symbol used by the Akan people of West Africa to represent understanding and agreement – but it is now promoted also in Latin America, Asia and European regions
    • A rchitecture for K nowledge- O riented M anagement of A ny N ormative T ext using O pen S tandards and O ntologies:
      • Describes structures for legal documents in XML
      • References documents across countries using a common naming convention - URIs
      • Adds systematic metadata to documents using ontologically sound approaches
      • Aims to
        • Be extensible for the individual needs of any country
        • Preserve the legal digital resources over time
        • Guarantee legal principles
        • Favour trust (authoritative versions, legal copies, etc.)
  • 5. Learning to swim: the structure of documents
  • 6. Managing the structure of the document - 1
    • An Akoma Ntoso document is either an act or a bill (legislative documents), or a report or a debateRecord (debate documents) or a judgment, or a generic document.
    • All Akoma Ntoso documents start with a metadata section, followed by an initial part (e.g., a preface, cover page, preamble, etc.) followed by the body of the document, and then a conclusion and possibly one or more attachments.
    <?xml version=&quot;1.0&quot; encoding=&quot;utf-8&quot;?> <akomaNtoso> <act contains = &quot;originalVersion&quot; > <meta> … </meta> <preface> … </preface> <preamble> … </preamble> <body> …. </body> <conclusions> … </conclusions> </act> </akomaNtoso>
  • 7. Managing the structure of the document - 2
    • Within the main body of the document, each document type has its own structure.
    • A hierarchy of parts for legislation
      • E.g.: section, part, paragraph,chapter, title, book, tome, article, clause, etc.
    • Any of a list named sections for debates
      • E.g.: questions, answers, notices of motions, procedural motions, etc.
    • A sequence of named sections for judgements
      • Introduction, background, motivation, decision
    <preamble id = &quot;preamble&quot; > <p> An Act of Parliament to amend the Retirement Benefits Act, 1997 <eol /> ENACTED by the Parliament of Kenya, as follows: - </p> </preamble> <body> <section id = &quot;sec1&quot; > <num> 1. </num> <heading> Short title. </heading> <clause id = &quot;art1-cla1&quot; > <content> <p> This Act may be cited as the Retirement Benefits (Amendment) Act, 2003. </p> </content> </clause> </section>
  • 8. Swimming in the pool: the semantics of content fragments
  • 9. Managing the semantics of the text
    • Text fragments describing and contextualizing the documents
      • In all documents: docType, docTitle, docNumber, etc.
      • In judgements, also: courtType, neutralCitation, party, judge, etc.
    • References
      • Definitions
      • References (individual, multiple, ranges)
      • Quotations (individual, multiple, ranges)
    • Mention of relevant concepts
      • Times, dates, relevant entities
      • More later.
    <section id = &quot;art2&quot; > <num> 2. </num> <heading> Amendment of <ref href = &quot;/ke/act/1997-08-22/3/eng/main#art2&quot; > section 2 of No 3 of 1997 </ref></heading> <clause id = &quot;art2-cla1&quot; > <content> <p> The Retirement Benefits Act, 1997, is amended - </p> <list id = &quot;art2-cla1-lst1&quot; > <item id = &quot;art2-cla1-itma&quot; ><num> (a) </num> <p> by deleting the definition of &quot;financial year&quot; and <mod id = &quot;mod6&quot; ><ref id = &quot;ref2&quot; href = &quot;/ke/act/1997-08-22/3/eng/main&quot; > substituting </ref> therefore the following new definition - &quot; <quotedText id = &quot;mod6-qtd1&quot; > financial year&quot; - <eol /> (a) in relation to the Authority, has the meaning assigned to it in section 19' <eol /> (b) in relation to a scheme, means such accounting period as may be prescribed in the scheme rules; </quotedText> </mod></p>
  • 10. Swimming: organizing the content in XML
    • So far, we have organized in XML a legal document identifying its parts and providing a semantic description of the main structure and the most relevant inline fragments, including references and quotations.
    • This is enough to provide for
      • Display on screen
      • Print on paper
      • Hypertextual links
    • It can be taken care of by a lower secretary in a back office with limited knowledge of legal documents, no knowledge of XML and a modified text editor (e.g. Bungeni).
  • 11. Swimming: organizing the content in XML
    • So far, we have organized in XML a legal document identifying its parts and providing a semantic description of the main structure and the most relevant inline fragments, including references and quotations.
    • The basic structures of Akoma Ntoso provide support for
      • Different law systems (civil law, common law)
      • Different legal traditions
      • Descriptive contexts (in which the markup can only observe whatever structure was used in the document - legacy documents)
      • Prescriptive contexts (in which the markup can be used to force desired structures and require the presence or abcence of some elements).
    • The only requirements are:
      • Blind obedience, i.e., strict adherence to the wording of the document (a tome is a tome if it is called a tome)
      • No lie, i.e., no confusion between content and interpretation (e.g., missing document information that should be found in the preface but aren't, are added in the metadata section, and not in the preface).
  • 12. Swimming: organizing the content in XML
    • The main structural and semantic elements for the content of legislative and legal documents in Akoma Ntoso are enough to provide for
      • Display on screen
      • Print on paper
      • Hypertextual links
    • The identification of the right constructs for the organization of the document can be taken care of by a lower secretary in a back office with limited knowledge of legal documents, no knowledge of XML and a modified text editor (e.g. Bungeni).
    • This is appropriate with the settings of many legal drafting offices around the world.
  • 13. First dives: basic metadata
  • 14. Basic metadata
    • The structure of metadata in Akoma Ntoso is complex but can be studied piecemeal.
    • Publication, keywords and notes are easy to deal with.
    • They require some higher grasp of legal aspects, and probably cannot be drafted by a lower secretary.
    • They help in contextualizing the document and searching for it according to themes and theasuri.
    <publication date = &quot;2003-09-04&quot; name = &quot;Government Gazette 25437&quot; showAs = &quot;Government Gazette # 25437&quot; />
  • 15. Scuba diving: FRBR
  • 16. FRBR: the problems
    • We would like a language that allows references:
      • To be either static or dynamic, according to need and legal nature of the text and of the reference itself
        • And thus when crossing a hypertext links brings the reader to the right version of the right document
      • To be independent of the technological choices of the repository of the documents
        • And thus allows documents containing references to be moved to different machines, different server organizations, different server technologies, etc. guaranteeing the survival of the document collection in time.
    • Idea: the problem is NOT in the reference, but in the concept of documents itself.
      • The Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), a conceptual model for bibliographic items by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), provides an answer
  • 17. The FRBR model
    • Every document has four different aspects:
        • The Work represents the abstract concept of a document, across all its versions, languages, representations. The South African Act #12 of 2005 is a Work.
        • Each Work is realized in one or many Expressions , which are concrete selection of textual content. Each expression defines a specific version of the content, in time and language. The English version as of the 1/12/2009 of the South African Act #12 of 2005 is an Expression.
          • Each Expression is embodied in one or more Manifestations , actual representations of an Expression. Each manifestation chooses a computer format with its set of metadata for the expression. The Akoma Ntoso 1.0 version, with metadata by John Smith, of the English version as of the 1/12/2009 of the South African Act #12 of 2005 is a Manifestation.
            • Each manifestation is exemplified in one or more Items , physical copies of a Manifestation. Each item is a specific file stored on a computer. The copy on my computer of the Akoma Ntoso 1.0 version, with metadata created by John Smith, of the English version as of the 1/12/2009 of the South African Act #12 of 2005 is an Item.
    W E E M M I I W E E M M I I
  • 18. Using FRBR
    • Each level of FRBR has its own address (URI).
      • Higher levels refer to abstract concepts, and are used in document. The item level is a physical URL and is never used in document, but only in resolving an abstract reference.
      • Thus changes in the physical organization and technology of the document repository does not require changes to the documents
    • Dynamic references are references to works, static references are references to expressions
      • When the document changes, a new expression exists, and the resolver will identify the expression that is most appropriate to a work reference
      • Even when the document change, a static reference needs to be able to point to the old version of the document. Expressions never change, but are only added.
    • Addresses (URI) of FRBR levels are similar
      • URI of lower levels of the FRBR chain are a composition of the higher level addresses + metadata specific of the level.
      • It is easy, given an address of a Manifestation, to identify its Expression, and viceversa.
  • 19. Things we get for free from FRBR
    • Automatic support for multilinguism
      • If legislation exists in multiple language, links allow you to traverse references always in the same language without being asked.
    • Multiple repositories of the same documents
      • Some authoritative, some not. Some complete, some selected. Some commented, some not.
    • Non-authoritative consolidation of texts
      • Especially useful in those countries (e.g., Italy) where only a selected few acts are authoritatively consolidated.
      • Point-in-time versions and change tracking are immediate derived functionalities of consolidated texts.
    • Multiple metadata and comments of the same documents
      • Different scholars and editors could add different sets of metadata elements and provide different views of the document
    • Different selections of content
      • E.g., private publishers could be interested in printing only a relevant fragment fo the act, omitting the rest (element <omissis/> )
  • 20. Deeper and deeper: TLC
  • 21. Top Level Classes (TLC)
    • Top Level Classes is the Akoma Ntoso mechanism to provide unambiguous references to concepts, roles, organizations, individuals.
    • A formal conceptualization (technically, an ontology) has been realized for the concepts that are relevant to legislative and legal documents.
      • It is composed of 10 independent classes (top level)
      • Classes can be subclassed at will (e.g. Kenyan MP are the subclass of TLCPerson whose nationality is Kenyan and whose role is MP).
      • Each individual is associated to a unique URI across time and documents (e.g., the same MP appearing in different parliamentary hansards may be shown with a different spelling for the name, but will have the same URI)
      • Each reference in the document to a precise concept, individual, organization, role, is marked up with an <entity> eleemnt referring to a TLC instance in the <references> section.
    <references source = &quot;FV&quot; > <TLCRole href = &quot;/ontology/role/political/MES&quot; id = &quot;MES&quot; showAs = &quot;Minister for Education and Sports&quot; /> <TLCPerson href = &quot;/ontology/person/ken/MP/gha.John.Gidisu&quot; id = &quot;per07&quot; shortForm = &quot;Mr. J.K. Gidisu&quot; showAs = &quot;Mr. Joe Kwashie Gidisu&quot; /> <TLCPerson href = &quot;/ontology/person/ken/MP/gha.John.OsafoMaafo&quot; id = &quot;per08&quot; shortForm = &quot;Mr. Osafo-Maafo&quot; showAs = &quot;Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo&quot; /> </references> … <debate> <question by = &quot;per07&quot; to = &quot;MES&quot; > <from> Mr. J.K. Gidisu </from> <p> asked the Minister for Education and Sports the organic relations between … </p> </question> <answer by = &quot;per08&quot; as = &quot;MES&quot; > <from> Mr. Osafo-Maafo </from> <p> Mr. Speaker, … </p </answer>
  • 22. Advantages of Top Level Classes
    • We can now identify concretely persons, organizations, roles, concpets, places, across documents, spellings, languages.
    • Meaningful searches across documents (e.g., all speeches given by the Minister of Finance in 2009, or all acts mentioning company X) can be looked up with one simple query.
    • The actual position of the reference is also easily found (a problem if there are differences of spellings and a long text).
    • We have a solid foundation for more sophisticated inferences by exploiting the ontological framework underneath
      • E.g., give me all documents in 2009 that contain a benefit ( a TLCconcept ) for company X ( a TLCOrganization ), or any company owned by company X or recursively owned by a company that is owned by company X.
  • 23. In the deep sea: consolidation, workflow and lifecycle
  • 24. Consolidation, workflow and lifecycle
    • First assumption: each document is the output of a specific step of a workflow and may change over time.
      • each intermediate output is an FRBR expression of the same FRBR work. We just need to associate each expression to a specific step in a workflow.
      • E.g.: bill draft as proposed by MPs, as approved after first reading, as approved after second reading, as ready to be promulgated as act.
    • Second assumption: each document undergoes modifications due to events characterizing its lifecycle. Each event is the product of a specific document containing relevant information for the lifecycle, including modifications in validity, efficacy, and content.
      • Each event that changes content creates a new FRBR Expression with the modified content.
      • If the new content is not authoritatively produced, then it is possible to automatically consolidate the content by applying all relevant modifications.
    <lifecycle source = &quot;#cirfid&quot; > <event id = &quot;e1&quot; date = &quot;1997-08-22&quot; source = &quot;#ro1&quot; type = &quot;generation&quot; /> <event id = &quot;e2&quot; date = &quot;2003-12-19&quot; source = &quot;#am1&quot; type = &quot;amendment&quot; /> </lifecycle> <references source = &quot;#cirfid&quot; > <original id = &quot;ra1&quot; href = &quot;/ke/act/1997-08-22/3/eng/main&quot; showAs = &quot;Retirement Benefits Act&quot; /> <passiveRef id = &quot;am1&quot; href = &quot;/ke/act/2003-12-10/8/eng/main&quot; showAs = &quot;Amending Act&quot; /> </references>
  • 25. Classification in judgments
  • 26. Co nclusions: Benefits and fishes
  • 27. Benefits of the adoption of Akoma Ntoso
    • An Akoma Ntoso repository can mark up the text to the level it feels appropriate.
      • It is not necessary to understand, even less adopt, the more complex parts of the language.
      • Basic document structure, references to other documents and basic metadata are enough for most repositories, both authoritative and not.
    • But if the need arises, the tools are there.
      • it is not necessary to adopt a different standard and convert every document,but one can simply add the new information.
    • Even, added metadata can be provided in a separate document.
      • Scholars, special interest groups, political or economical organization can provide any missing information and metadata on top of the authoritatively produced Akoma Ntoso documents for their readers and constituency.
      • Since the underlying format is the same, the presence of new information is straightforward, smooth, transparent to the user.
  • 28. BungeniEditor- open source Open Office markup editor
  • 29. References
    • , info at [email_address]
    • BungeniEditor on googlecode forum
    • thank you for your attention
    • Fabio Vitali – [email_address]
    • Monica Palmirani – [email_address]