The Story of Topic Maps and Beyond

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Date: Thursday, November 20, 2008 - 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM EST

Location: Istari Technologies, 44 Wall Street, 12 Floor · New York, NY

ID: 8805429


Attendees: 54

The Story of Topic Maps and Beyond

Speaker: Michel Biezunski
Infoloom - New York

Michel will present Topic Maps and how he sees the future of Topic Maps in context of the emerging Semantic Web. Michel Biezunski is an internationally recognized expert in the field of information management. He has invented and promoted new ways of finding information, accelerating access to information which is really needed, and helping organize vast corpora of information assets. His working experience covers various domains, including the publishing, finance, healthcare, and media industries, and governmental agencies.

Michel's focus is in the area of semantic integration, auditable information systems, XML/SGML Applications, navigation models within complex information sets, and hyperlink-based models. He participated in the development of the HyTime standard, and is recognized as the inventor of the Topic Maps standards, together with Steven R. Newcomb. He has written many articles and developed and conducted numerous workshops centered on these new technologies. Michel is now working on innovative solutions for auditability and integration of information systems.


Speaker: Stuart Sierra
Columbia University School of Law

AltLaw was conceived by law professor Tim Wu (best known for coining the term "net neutrality") as a project to make common law -- the court opinions that determine what "The Law of the Land" actually is -- freely available and easy to search. Historically, court opinions have only been available to those with access to a law library or an expensive subscription to commercial databases like Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis. AltLaw is an open-source project that provides a sophisticated search interface to over 800,000 court opinions.

This informal discussion may cover:

  • Using Solr/Lucene for both search and storage, without a database
  • Using Hadoop, EC2, and S3 for bulk data processing
  • Clojure, a great Lisp variant that integrates with Java
  • Getting semantic data from government data
  • How can AltLaw benefit from Semantic Web technology?
  • Should AltLaw be designing its own ontologies?

The law is meant to belong to the people, but it can be surprisingly hard to find. Case reports, a major part of the laws of the United States, are hard to get at, and even when on the Internet, rarely searchable. To get full access you generally need either a library of law reports, or an expensive subscription to an online database, which can cost hundreds of dollars per hour.

AltLaw is a small effort to change that—to make the common law a bit more common. AltLaw provides the first free, full-text searchable database of Supreme Court and Federal Appellate case reports. It is a resource for attorneys, legal scholars, and the general public.

RDFa Session

Led by Sergey Chernyshev