Interactive Legal Maps

Open Law Lab - Visual Law - Interactive Legal Maps

I’ve been prototyping various means to deliver & build legal knowledge — with a specific consideration of bolstering Access to Justice. One pathway, of course, is Visualized Law.

I’ve been playing with it with cartoons and illustrations, and in other forms (hyperlinked, layered checklists — visual expert systems).

One promising prototype is the Visual Mind Map, that is hyperlinked & lively with images, videos, & other cues that can guide the user through. The promise of such a map is that it lets the user locate themselves in a specific cluster of resources within a broader field of information. They can see the broad scope of the area they are in, while still focusing in on what precise information they need to retrieve & actions they need to pursue.

What would such an interactive legal mind map look like in practice? See this embedded Popplet for a first generation play with this format. I’ve used Popplets a lot for my own brainstorming, paper-writing, research, and collaborations with teams. I know there is great potential in scoping out a version of such a mind-mapping specifically for legal resources.

I see a future mash-up of interactive mind map diagrams with a curated, semi-open wiki format. I would love all the legal knowledge and advice out there on a specific legal problem to be extracted out of forums, pamphlets, q-and-as, blog posts, news articles, and other random clips of text around the web — and diagrammed out clearly & visually (if not beautifully too).

I can understand legal topics better when they are composed on the page in a meaningful way, and my guess is that most people with legal problems who are searching around the Internet would also benefit from a Legal Map to ground them & guide them. No more blocks of text!

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