Denmark eases access to and reuse of legislation

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Improved government portal includes ELI system

Denmark has introduced the European Legislation Identifier (ELI) to the Retsinformation portal for all legal government documents. The portal now supports the use of ELI, a system to boost access to and reuse of information.

The portal allows visitors to search for laws, regulations, decrees and circulars that are issued by ministries and central government authorities. The website also makes accessible all parliamentary documents.

Following a software update on 25 April 2016, a subsection of the portal has built-in support for ELI. All documents can now be found using ELI hyperlinks and the portal also supports search queries using the ELI schema.

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Adding ELI to sites such as Retsinformation is remarkably easy, says Søren Broberg Nielsen, Head of Division at the Legal Information Division at Denmark’s Ministry of Justice. ‘ELI is straightforward and flexible, and can be added to any well-managed, mature information system’.

To bring ELI to the front-page and to modernise other aspects of this and other websites, the ministry is planning a revamp of the portal infrastructure for the legal information systems. ‘That will take a while’, Mr Nielsen says. ‘However, when that is done, we'll be supporting a broader use of ELI, including internally’.

Three pillars in one year

The Retsinformation portal put in place all three so-called ELI pillars in exactly one year. It made Denmark one of the first EU Member States to complete an ELI implementation.

Retsinformation began with Pillar I: configuring its web server to support the use of Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs). The most-common URI is the hyperlink or URL with which browsers retrieve web pages on the internet. Other URIs point to documents, specific paragraphs or other types of information.

The portal then implemented Pillar II, building-in support for the ELI metadata schema. This provides a standard structure for sorting legal information and is an important prerequisite for Pillar III: making the information on the portal machine-reusable. To complete this third step, the Retsinformation portal added special microdata to its web pages. These extensions to HTML web pages facilitate automatic parsing and information extraction.

More information

ELI at the Retsinformation portal

Presentation of ELI at the Retsinformation portal by Søren Broberg Nielsen