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Associate Dean John Joergensen Co-Chairs Global Effort to Increase Accessibility of Online Legal Information

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John P. Joergensen, Associate Dean for Information Services and Professor of Law at Rutgers School of Law–Newark, has been appointed to a leadership role in a new global initiative designed to increase the accessibility and ease of use of legal research.

The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) has named Joergensen a chair of its newly-created Legal Citation Markup Technical Committee. His co-chair is Dr. Fabio Vitali of the University of Bologna. The goal of the committee is to develop “an open standard for machine-readable tagging of legal citations based upon a formalized conceptual model, vocabulary, metadata definitions, and prescribed syntax.”

“The standard is important,” Joergensen explains, “because the lack of a common markup standard for legal citations is one of the main obstacles to fostering interactivity in online collections of legal material. With such a standard in place, systems can be created that link easily and automatically to other information that is available on the Internet.”

Users of the Rutgers Law Library, a vital information resource for both members of the New Jersey legal community and the general public, stand to benefit directly from the OASIS committee’s project. Says Joergensen: “The collections we host here at the law school, and the collections hosted by others, will become much more available and far more interactive, making free legal research better for all our users.”

OASIS is a consortium with more than 5,000 participants representing over 600 organizations and individual members in more than 65 countries. Its members broadly represent the marketplace of public and private sector technology leaders, users and influencers. 

Professor Joergensen’s appointment is a natural outgrowth of his work over the years in developing metadata for legal material and in the area of citation reforms. As Law Library Director, he heads an ongoing program to provide free Internet access to legal materials, federal and state government documents, and historical records for use by scholars, practitioners and the general public. In 2013 the Rutgers–Newark Law Library was invited to join the exclusive Free Access to Law Movement (FALM), a consortium of 49 non-profit institutions dedicated to providing free and open access to the world’s law.

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School of Law - Newark