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Semantic Finlex:
Finnish Law and Justice as Linked Open Data

Project Goals

We aim at developing a next version of the Semantic Finlex we created in our former Linked Data Finland project. The new publication will be based on the new XML format of Edita Publishing Ltd, transformed into RDF using the European ELI and ECLI standards. In addition, we study automatic annotation of texts for semantic enriching, linking Semantic Finlex with related datasets, and applications of the datasets.

Data Service Published

The Semantic Finlex prototype data.finlex.fi was published in a publication event organized by the Ministry of Justice and Aalto University on March 10, 2016, at the House of the Estates.

Project Organization

The project has been funded first as part of the Linked Data Finland project and then by the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Finance. We have collaborated also with Edita Publishing Ltd and Talentum Media Ltd.

Contact Persons

Eero Hyvönen (leader), Aalto University, University of Helsinki (HELDIG)

Jouni Tuominen, University of Helsinki (HELDIG), Aalto University

Eetu Makelä, Aalto University

Arttu Oksanen, Aalto University, University of Helsinki (HELDIG)

Minna Tamper, Aalto University, University of Helsinki (HELDIG)

Aki Hietanen, Ministry of Justice

Articles

2019

Arttu Oksanen, Jouni Tuominen, Eetu Mäkelä, Minna Tamper, Aki Hietanen and Eero Hyvönen: Semantic Finlex: Transforming, Publishing, and Using Finnish Legislation and Case Law As Linked Open Data on the Web. Knowledge of the Law in the Big Data Age (G. Peruginelli and S. Faro (eds.)), Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications, vol. 317, pp. 212-228, IOS Press, 2019. ISBN 978-1-61499-984-3 (print); ISBN 978-1-61499-985-0 (online). bib pdf link
Governments publish legislation and case law widely in print and on the Web. Such legal information is provided for human consumption, but the information is usually not available as data for algorithmic analysis and applications to use. However, this would be beneficial in many use cases, such as building more intelligent juridical online services and conducting research into legislation and legal practice. To address these needs, this Chapter presents Semantic Finlex, a national in-use data resource and service for publishing Finnish legislation and related case law as Linked Open Data for legal applications to use. The system transforms and interlinks on a regular basis data from the legacy legal database Finlex of the Ministry of Justice into Linked Open Data, based on the European standards ECLI and ELI. The published data is hosted on the 7-star Linked Data Finland service and SPARQL endpoint with a variety of related services available that ease data re-use. Rich Internet Applications using SPARQL for data access are presented as application demonstrators of the data service. In addition, this Chapter presents methods and tools under development to automatically annotate legal texts and to anonymize case law documents prior to their publication on the Web. Anonymization is necessary due to issues of data protection and privacy, and annotation is needed for semantic search and interlinking the documents. The automated approaches could significantly speed up the process and minimize costs of publishing legal documents as Linked Open Data.

2017

Eero Hyvönen, Arttu Oksanen, Jouni Tuominen, Eetu Mäkelä and Minna Tamper: Semanttinen Finlex. Laki ja oikeus avoimena linkitettynä datana. (Semantic Finlex. Law and Justice as Linked Open Data.). Oikeus-lehti, vol. 46, no. 1, March, 2017. bib pdf

2014

Matias Frosterus, Jouni Tuominen and Eero Hyvönen: Facilitating Re-use of Legal Data in Applications--Finnish Law as a Linked Open Data Service. Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems (JURIX 2014), IOS Press, Krakow, Poland, December, 2014. bib pdf

2013

Matias Frosterus, Jouni Tuominen, Mika Wahlroos and Eero Hyvönen: The Finnish Law as a Linked Data Service. The Semantic Web: ESWC 2013 Satellite Events, pp. 289-290, Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, Montpellier, France, May 26-30, 2013. bib pdf
Juridical information is important to organizations and individuals alike and is linked to from all walks of life. The Finnish government has published the Finlex Data Bank for searching and browsing legislation documents. However, the data there is not yet open, is based on a traditional XML schema, and does not conform to new semantic metadata standards. There are many difficulties in maintaining and using the site in, e.g., data harvesting, interoperability, querying, and linking that could be mitigated by the Semantic Web technologies. This paper presents an approach and a project—including first results—for publishing and using Finnish legislation as a 5-star Linked Open Data service.
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