Artificial Intelligence and Law

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 397–417 | Cite as

A Methodology to Create Legal Ontologies in a Logic Programming Based Web Information Retrieval System



Web legal information retrieval systems need the capability to reason with the knowledge modeled by legal ontologies. Using this knowledge it is possible to represent and to make inferences about the semantic content of legal documents. In this paper a methodology for applying NLP techniques to automatically create a legal ontology is proposed. The ontology is defined in the OWL semantic web language and it is used in a logic programming framework, EVOLP+ISCO, to allow users to query the semantic content of the documents. ISCO allows an easy and efficient integration of declarative, object-oriented and constraint-based programming techniques with the capability to create connections with external databases. EVOLP is a dynamic logic programming framework allowing the definition of rules for actions and events. An application of the proposed methodology to the legal web information retrieval system of the Portuguese Attorney General’s Office is described.


Ontologies OWL natural language processing logic programming 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abreu, S. (2001). ‘ISCO: A Practical Language for Heterogeneous Information System Construction’. In Proceedings of INAP’01. Tokyo, Japan, INAP.Google Scholar
  2. Alferes, J., Brogi, A., Leite, J., and Pereira, L. (2002). ‘Evolving Logic Programs’. In Flesca, S., Greco, S., Leone, N. and Ianni, G. (eds.), ‘JELIA’02 – Proceedings of the 8th European Conference on Logics and Artificial Intelligence, pp. 50–61, Springer-Verlag LNCS 2424.Google Scholar
  3. Alferes, J. J., Pereira, L. M., Przymusinska, H., Przymusinski, T. C., Quaresma, P. 1999

    Preliminary exploration on actions as updates

    Meo, M. C.Vilares-Ferro, M. eds. Procs. of the 1999 Joint Conference on Declarative Programming (AGP’99)L’AquilaItaly259271
    Google Scholar
  4. Bick, E. (2000). The Parsing System “Palavras”. Automatic Grammatical Analysis of Portuguese in a Constraint Grammar Framework. Aarhus University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Boer, A., Hoekstra, R., Winkels, R., van Engers, T. and Willaert, F. (2002). ‘Proposal for a Dutch Legal XML Standard’. In EGOV2002 – Proceedings of the First International Conference on Electronic Government.Google Scholar
  6. Breuker, J. and Winkels, R. (2003). ‘Use and reuse of legal ontologies in knowledge engineering and information management’. Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Law. In this issue.Google Scholar
  7. Damásio, C. 2003

    W4 – Well-founded semantics for the World Wide Web

    Boley, H.Grosof, G.Tabet, S.Wagner, G. eds. Rule Markup Techniques for the Semantic WebDagstuhlGermany
    Google Scholar
  8. Gamallo, P., Agustini, A. and Lopes, G. (2002a). ‘Using co-composition for acquiring syntactic and semantic subcategorisation’. In ACL-SIGLEX’02. Philadelphy, USA.Google Scholar
  9. Gamallo, P., Agustini, A., Quaresma, P., Lopes, G. 2002b

    Using semantic word classes in text information retrieval systems

    Pinto, S. eds. SBIE’2002 – XII Simpósio Brasileiro de Informática na Educaçã, Workshop de OntologiasPorto AlegreBrasil593597Unisinos. ISBN 85-7431-133-2
    Google Scholar
  10. Gasperin, C., Vieira, R., Goulart, R. and Quaresma, P. (2003). ‘Extracting XML syntactic chunks from Portuguese corpora’. In TALN’2003 - Workshop on Natural Language Processing of Minority Languages and Small Languages of the Conference on “Traitement Automatique des Langues Naturelles”. Batz-sur-Mer, France.Google Scholar
  11. Guangemi, A., Guarino, N., Masolo, C., Oltramari, A. and Schneider, L. (2002). ‘Sweetening ontologies with DOLCE’. In Gomez-Perez, A. and Benjamins, V. R. (eds.), Proceedings of the EKAW’2002, pp. 166–181, Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  12. Hobbs, J., Stickel, M., Appelt, D., Martin, P. 1990Interpretation as AbductionTechnical Report SRI Technical Note 499333 Ravenswood Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025Google Scholar
  13. Kamp, H., Reyle, U. 1993From Discourse to LogicKluwerDordrechtGoogle Scholar
  14. Karlsson, F. 1990

    Constraint grammar as a framework for parsing running text

    Karlgren, H. eds. 13th International Conference on Computational LinguisticsHelsinkiFinland168173
    Google Scholar
  15. Lame, G. (2003). ‘Using text analysis techniques to identify legal ontologies’ components’. In Workshop on Legal Ontologies of the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law.Google Scholar
  16. Lassila, O. and Swick, R. (1999). ‘Resource Description Framework (RDF) - Model and Syntax Specification’. W3C.Google Scholar
  17. Quaresma, P. and Lopes, J. G. (1995). ‘Unified logic programming approach to the abduction of plans and intentions in information-seeking dialogues’. Journal of Logic Programming 54.Google Scholar
  18. Quaresma, P. and Rodrigues, I. (2001). ‘Using Logic Programming to model Multi- Agent Web Legal Systems – An Application Report’. In Proceedings of the ICAIL’01 - International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law. St. Louis, USA, ACM.Google Scholar
  19. Quaresma, P. and Rodrigues, I. P. (2002). ‘PGR: Portuguese Attorney General’s Office Decisions on the Web’. In Bartenstein, Geske, Hannebauer, and Yoshie (eds.), Web-Knowledge Management and Decision Support. Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  20. Quaresma, P., Rodrigues, I. P. 2003

    A natural language interface for information retrieval on semantic web documents

    Menasalvas, E.Segovia, J.Szczepaniak, P. eds. AWIC’2003 - Atlantic Web Intelligence ConferenceSpringer-VerlagMadrid Spain142154
    Google Scholar
  21. Quintano, L., Rodrigues, I. and Abreu, S. (2001). ‘Relational Information Retrieval through Natural Lanaguage Analysis’. In Proceedings of INAP’01. Tokyo, Japan, INAP.Google Scholar
  22. Saias, J. (2003). ‘Uma Metodologia para a construção automática de Ontologias e a sua aplicação em Sistemas de Recuperação de Informação – A methodology for the automatic creation of ontologies and its application in information retrieval systems’. Master’s thesis, University of Évora, Portugal. In Portuguese.Google Scholar
  23. W3C: 2000, ‘DAML+OIL – DARPA Agent Markup Language’.

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de InformáticaUniversidade de ÉvoraÉvoraPortugal

Personalised recommendations