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Page history last edited by Robb Shecter 14 years, 10 months ago


A free legal research website developed using current "best practices" and aiming to be high quality, highly usable, and fast.


Developing a permalink scheme  

I'm currently working out a plan for documents like the Oregon Revised Statutes.  The "ORS", as its called, is essentially Oregon's laws, compiled every two years.  The 2007 ORS is the current version.  Next year, the 2009 ORS will be released.  In writing, people refer to statutes like this:  "ORS 163.095 says..."


I've found this to be a little tricky: making sure that I balance several different requirements.  For example, supporting easy linking, supporting permanence, and supporting new revisions in a rational way.


The current plan

Here are a set of examples that illustrate what I'm thinking.  Here's how Sections will be referenced:

  • /ors/2007/163.095

    Permanently link to § 163.095 in the ORS 2007.

  • /ors/2009/163.095

    Permanently link to § 163.095 in the ORS 2009.

  • /ors/163.095 

    Redirect, via a 302 or 307 (temporary redirect) to the current edition's page.  I've been doing a lot of research on this.  As far as I can tell, a 302/307 redirect is the way to go.  I'd like to find out, though, how other organizations have handled this.


Here's my plan for Chapter and Volume URLs:

  • /ors/2007/chapter/4
  • /ors/2009/volume/6
  • /ors/chapter/4


Issue: paragraph-level referencing

I haven't tackled this yet because of the difficulties of parsing the ORS text:  I don't have paragraphs 100% perfect, but maybe good enough to work with.  Hmm... just brainstorming about what permalinks would look like for ORS § 163.095(1)(b) (2007):

  1. /ors/2007/163.095(1)(b)
  2. /ors/2007/163.095#(1)(b)
  3. /ors/2007/163.095#1b
  4. /ors/2007/163.095/1/b

I think that #3 is Citability's recommendation, AFAIK the implementation of which is left to the document manager.  I like #2 best at this point.  #4 is cool in that it uses the HTTP separator for an analagous purpose: taking the place of ( ) as separators.  However, it's ambiguous:  what's the document name, and what are the subsection names?  This though, makes me realize that in reality, "document" doesn't exist [e.g. § 163.095] as an entity which is more valid in some sense than a "subsection" [e.g. § 163.095(1)(b)].


Permalinks for another type of legal information


I've now created an online glossary of legal terms which are collated from many different sources.  Here are samples of the permanlinks in use:




Comments (2)

Silona Bonewald said

at 8:36 am on May 21, 2009

Cool I like that you are making sure they are human readable and degradeable too! Thanks for posting this and participating. I think it is important for people to see it can be done in different formats. - Cheers, Silona

Robb Shecter said

at 11:34 am on May 21, 2009

Sure—this is a good venue for working on this kind of design document.

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