(04/05/2010 18:15) LexML Brazil no Global Centre for ICT in Parliament
Brazilian Legal and Legislative Information Portal (LexML Brazil)
Computer controlled legal and legislative information in Brazil was born in the 1970s. From then onwards, a series of different databases were developed by different government entities. Almost forty years later, the LexML Brasil portal was launched. Its purpose is to unify, organize and facilitate the access to legislative and legal information made available in digital form by several bodies of the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, the Office of the Federal Solicitor General (AGU), and the Office of the General Prosecutor, at the Federal, State, Municipal and District levels.
The work was developed on the basis of the information already released to the general public, the adoption of an improved process of generation of new information, and the ongoing concern to preserve digital information in a centralized form and make it available to the general public in an efficient way.
It must be emphasized that this is a joint initiative of different participating bodies, under the leadership of the Senate of Brazil, and the result of the political will of different actors. A network of technical staff, led by an Information Management Committee, was established to organize the legal and legislative information available in digital form from the three branches of government.
The LexML Brasil portal was officially launched on 30 June 2009, with an initial collection of 1.2 million documents included by the Office of the Federal Solicitor General (AGU); the State Legislative Assembly of Minas Gerais; the House of Representatives; the National Justice Board; the Superior Board of Labor Justice (CSJT); the Office of the Comptroller General (CGU); the National Press; the São Carlos Town Council (SP), the Office of the Federal Prosecutor-General; the Federal Senate; the Higher Court of Justice (STJ); the Supreme Federal Court (STF); the Brazilian Court of Audit (TCU); the Higher Labor Court (TST); and the Higher Electoral Court (TSE).
In its work, LexML Brazil was influenced by the Norme in Rete project for persistent identifiers and by Akoma Ntoso for XML schema specification.
The Portal address is http://www.lexml.gov.br. Its homepage features a simple search interface similar to Google Search. Users can further refine search results by locality, authority, document type and date.
The LexML portal is developed entirely with open source software. Originating institutions use a data provider toolkit in order to generate and validate the metadata of documents according to a defined schema. Such metadata is then harvested automatically by LexML using the Open Archiving Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). Scalability and availability of LexML search are achieved through a distributed system of servers located at various institutions.
LexML Brazil currently focuses on the consolidation of the portal and persistent identifiers, the development of a unified view of the bills from the Federal Chamber of Deputies and Senate, and of a linker application that will automatically insert links to reference laws and documents in legislative texts. Future work will focus on the development of open source tools (such as editor, compiler and publisher) for managing XML documents.