234 Informatica e diritto /Proceedings of the Workshop LOAIT 2010
for the identiﬁcation of sources of law, recently submitted to the IETF as In-
ternet Draft2: it is based on a URN technique3capable of scaling beyond
national boundaries as well as on the deﬁnition of a namespace convention
(LEX) and a structure that create and manage identiﬁers for sources of law
at international level.
The identiﬁers will be globally unique, transparent, persistent, location-
independent, and language-neutral. These qualities will facilitate legal docu-
ment management, moreover they will provide a mechanism of stable cross-
collections and cross-country references.
In this direction also the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference
on Private International Law4has recently expressed its opinion, encourag-
ing EU Member States to adopt “neutral methods of citation of their legal
materials, including methods that are medium-neutral, provider-neutral and
This paper is organized as follows: in Section 2 the general structure of
the URN:LEX identiﬁer is introduced; in Section 3 the FRBR model, which
the URN:LEX schema is based on, is described; in Sections 4, 5, 6 and 7 the
main components of the schema able to identify legal documents at differ-
ent levels of abstraction are shown; in Section 8 the modalities to establish
references to a document or part of it using the URN:LEX methodology
is brieﬂy discussed; in Section 9 the principles of the resolution service are
described; in Sections 10 and 11 a URN:LEX schema national implementa-
tion and a tool for automatic legal references mark-up as used by the Italian
Senate are respectively described. Finally in Section 12 some conclusions
2. STRUC TURE O F THE ID ENT IFI ER
As usual, the problem is to provide the right amount guidance at the core
of the standard while providing sufﬁcient ﬂexibility to cover a wide variety
2P.SP INOS A, E. FRAN CESC ONI, C. LU PO,A Uniform Resource Name (URN) Namespace
for Sources of Law (LEX), May 2010, http://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-spinosa-urn- lex/.
3R. MOATS, K.R. SO LLI NS,URN Syntax, RFC 2141, May 1997; T. BER NERS -LEE, R.
FIEL DING, L. M ASINT ER,Uniform Resource Identiﬁers (URI): Generic Syntax, STD 66, RFC
3986, January 2005; L. DAIG LE, D. VAN GU LIK, R. IA NNE LLA, P. FALTSTRO M,Uniform
Resource Names (URN) Namespace Deﬁnition Mechanisms, BCP 66, RFC 3406, October 2002.