A task-based interface to legal databases

Artificial Intelligence and Law 6 (1):81-103 (1998)
This paper addresses the problems that lawyers experience retrieving information from legal-text databases. Traditional access mechanisms of text databases require users to know how information is stored. We propose a method for index organisation which shields lawyers from the internal storage structures and which allows them to address the legal databases in their own legal terms. The proposed index is based on a model of legal tasks as opposed to traditional database indexes which represent the contents of the database. We will lay out the architecture of an information system in which this task model is used to determine the information need, to retrieve relevant documents and to give methodical guidance for the legal task itself. To account for the design of a task-based legal information retrieval system, a substantial part of this paper is devoted to analysis and representation of legal tasks.
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