Searching Legal Information in Multiple Asian Languages

Cambridge University Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Legal Information Management, 2012, 12 (3), pp. 173 - 184
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In this article Philip Chung, Andrew Mowbray, and Graham Greenleaf, the Co-Directors of the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII), explain the need for an open source search engine which can search simultaneously over legal materials in European languages and also in Asian languages, particularly those that require a `double byte representation, and the difficulties this task presents. A solution is proposed; the `u16a modifications to AustLIIs open source search engine (Sino) which is used by many legal information institutes. Two implementations of the Sino u16A approach, on the Hong Kong Legal Information Institute (HKLII), for English and Chinese, and on the Asian Legal Information Institute (AsianLII), for multiple Asian languages, are described. The implementations have been successful, though many challenges (discussed briefly) remain before this approach will provide a full multi-lingual search facility.
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