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Is it possible to add a tool to the editor used for questions and answers that would implement functionality similar to that provided by citation-linker? I've been told that the chess StackExchange has a feature for including board diagrams.

This might encourage the inclusion of well linked citations. Perhaps it could be set up as a button that would apply to whatever text was selected.

The examples given by the plugin show

pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1)(E) and

being turned into

pursuant to <a href="http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/5/552">5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1)(E)</a> and

as an example.

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  • 2
    I feel that this might be rendered impossible by the sheer number of jurisdictions and citation styles that such a tool might have to cope with. Even if we were to stick with the primary citation styles in each jurisdiction (Blue Book for the US and OSCOLA for the England/Wales for eg), there would still be an impossibly large amount of variations. – T L C Jun 2 '15 at 12:29
  • One option might be to have a Country drop down that would provide scope for the citation-linker with the idea that only supported countries would be added to the list. – Jason Aller Jun 2 '15 at 15:14
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I've started a citation-linker userscript which should simulate the behaviour of this plugin (if I understand it correctly).

Problem is, I don't come from a computer science background and I'm not very experienced in scripting. I'm willing to learn, but any help from someone more experienced would speed things up a lot.

Currently it's only set up to deal with Australian Commonwealth court and tribunal cases which are available on AustLII but I will add statutes and other Australian jurisdictions, and then I will look at other jurisdictions.

All help is encouraged and appreciated.


I'm aware of Free Law Ferret, which isn't too useful to me because I deal primarily with Australian (and occasionally UK) cases, and Australian acts.

One of the fragilities of this userscript is obviously that it relies on correct citation - if it's incorrect, the link will just fail, and I don't check for this.

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I'm the lead developer at CourtListener, and this is the kind of thing we've envisioned for a LONG time. It's precisely why we've created our free reporters database and open-sourced the code for our citation finder (which I think citation-finder uses).

I agree with the comments that this would need to support a lot of jurisdictions, but citation-linker already purports to work with the StackExchange editor, so perhaps it's just a matter of making it pluggable for additional jurisdictions. (Or maybe we just drop it in as is and let the pluggable system come as people demand it -- perfect shouldn't be the enemy of good?)

I've had long talks with the folks at Zotero and Juris-M and if something like this were created I'm sure we could use it to make their lives easier by embedding microdata at the same time that we make the citations into links.

If something like this were desired by the community, I'd be happy to work with somebody to implement it. I'm also friends with the guy that made citation-linker, and he might be interested in contributing some time as well.

(I should conclude by saying that CourtListener is a project of Free Law Project, and that we're a non-profit that's all about getting more case law online in the U.S. This is exactly the kind of thing that aligns with our goals.)

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  • I'd be keen to see this happen, just to clarify: the functionality is that it links to source material for statutes, or cases, or both? Another challenge is the various style guides; Australian law schools seem to like AGLC, though this would be solved by having a dropdown jurisdiction selector, or better yet, select the jurisdiction based on tags. – jimsug Jun 11 '15 at 3:08
  • Citation-linker does both cases and statutes. Makes sense to me to try to cover both, though it expands the problem space. – mlissner Jun 11 '15 at 3:54
  • Can we implement this as a userscript in the interim, until it becomes an official feature? It probably wouldn't catch poorly-formatted citations, but at least those that are well-formatted would be automagically linked? I can try something like this but I'm not really a dev. – jimsug Jun 12 '15 at 16:26
  • Had a cursory glance at it, looks like citation-linker has a javascript base. Shouldn't be too hard. Might take a look at it after finals. – jimsug Jun 12 '15 at 16:28

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