Legal Informatics Glossary of Terms

I work with people from around the world on matters relating to legal informatics. One common issue we constantly face is the issue of terminology. We use many of the same terms, but the subtly of their definitions end up causing no end of confusion. To try and address this problem, I’ve proposed a number of times that we band together to define a common vocabulary, and when we can’t arrive at that, at least we can understand the differences that exist amongst us.

To get the ball rolling, I have started a wiki on GitHub and populated it with many of the terms I use in my various roles. Their definitions are a work-in-progress at this point. I am refining them as I find the time. However, rather than trying to build my own private vocabulary, I would like this to be a collaborative effort. To that end, I am inviting anyone with an interest in this to help build out the vocabulary by adding your own terms with definitions to the list and improving the ones I have started.

My legal informatics glossary of terms can be found in my public legal Informatics project at:

The wiki is a public project on GitHub. Right now, anyone can contribute. We’ll see how well this model works out. In order to contribute, you need to sign up for a free GitHub account and to master the basics of GitHub. For the purposes of managing a vocabulary, it’s quite simple. You will need to understand the markdown format of the text file that is behind the list. The builtin editor in GitHub makes editing the markdown quite simple. If you are so inclined, you can learn more about markdown at GitHub will take care of all the versioning issues so feel free to edit the terminology file.

Eventually I would like to gather enough terms that common terms or clusters of terms can be identified. This will allow us to develop clearer and more understandable standards, tools, and documentation in the emerging areas of legal informatics.

Legal Informatics Glossary of Terms

5 thoughts on “Legal Informatics Glossary of Terms

  1. I took this on to create a general dictionary for The State Decoded, and used non-copyright-encumbered government sources of dictionaries to create a ~500 term glossary, with a brief credit at the end of each definition. (You can see this in action on this random law—pass your mouse over any word with a dotted underline.) Would you like me to merge that dictionary in with your own, or would you prefer that your dictionary remain free of terms sourced from existing, non-copyrighted legal dictionaries?

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