Suggested metadata practices for legislation and regulations

The workshop held by the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell Law School on March 22 and 23, 2010, produced some general recommendations regarding legislative metadata. They are best imagined as a series of answers to a question from a revisor of statutes or other governmental publisher of statutes or regulations who is asking, "What should I do?".

oai4courts layer two overview: Dates

[[ NB: if you're looking for systems to use in marking up dates in judicial opinions, you might take a look at 

Dates are a surprisingly complicated topic, with many subtleties and variations.  That is because almost any milestone in the process of hearing the case and carrying out its resolution can have a date associated with it, as can any of the documents generated along the way.  Every case will have a date of decision.  Most appellate cases will have an argument or hearing date.  Beyond that the varieties are practically infinite:

URIs for Courts

As metadata standards for case law evolve, it will be necessary to identify certain entities, such as courts, in an unambiguous way.  The simplest way to achive this is by adopting a standardized vocabulary.

URIs on the Semantic Web

The RDF / Semantic Web community has developed the concept of the URI as an identifier for non-document entities such as people and organizations.  See, for example, Cool URIs for the Semantic Web.

Unqualified Dublin Core for judicial opinion metadata

DC element usage

These approach reflects decisions and definitions documented here.


Name of the case. It is expected that party names will be embedded in this title in a way that will allow user-space applications to parse them easily, eg. Atlantic Dental Products v. Bruce.

Sets and tags

Sets and tags

OAI-PMH supports a system for the creation of sub-collections that it calls "sets". oai4courts adds database support for a less-formal system of tags. Sets are named according to a hierarchical system that implies an equally hierarchical partitioning of the database. Tags may be applied in any way you like.


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