A proof-of-concept ELI implementation of the Flemish Legal Codex has just been completed, where information is published as Linked Open Data using the ELI ontology.
The Flemish Codex, which is maintained by the Flemish department of chancellery, publishes the consolidated versions of legal documents for all Flemish regulators (parliament, government, ministers, leading officials, etc.) on its website. This allows visitors to the website to read the published articles and also use basic search functions.
The team behind the Flemish Codex were aware of the many advantages of Linked Open Data (LOD) and the European Legislation Identifier (ELI) system. After carrying out an impact analysis, they decided to create a proof-of-concept of the implementation of LOD and ELI for publishing structured information on documents, chapters and articles. The goal of the implementation was to introduce a set of features which would improve the service offered by the website towards its stakeholders. This includes the possibility to:
- exchange published legislative documents on a European level,
- use persistent links (URIs) for all published legal documents (including the different versions),
- perform complex search queries,
- publishing and access the articles via a LOD SPARQL endpoint.
Because the Flemish government uses application profiles to standardise the exchange of data, building on existing Semantic Web vocabularies, including the ISA² Core Vocabularies, a new application profile specific for the Flemish Codex was created. All relevant elements of the ELI ontology were translated and applied to the new application profile, adding multiplicities and codelists where necessary.
At the stakeholder meeting of September the proof-of-concept was deemed successful and the production implementation of the ELI-supported LOD product was initiated. This initiative is expected to go live by the end of 2018 and will facilitate data exchange between all relevant stakeholders and users (including legal professionals, law makers, local governments, civilians, journalists, researchers and developers) through ELI.