Research Fellow at University of Leeds

On May 4, I’m taking up a research fellow position. I’ll continue to work on the IMPACT Project:

IMPACT will conduct original research to develop and integrate formal, computational models of policy and arguments about policy, to facilitate deliberations about policy at a conceptual, language-independent level.

I’ll be based at the University of Leeds, Institute of Communication Studies, in the Centre for Digital Citizenship:

The CdC’s mission is to promote outstanding research on the changing nature of citizenship in a digitally networked society and to contribute to the analysis and development of policy in this area.

I’ll be working with Ann Macintosh:

My research agenda falls within two main socio-technical areas of interest. The first concerns the societal effect of technology on governance processes and the development of an evaluation framework for eParticipation. This area of my research is providing high-level insights into the mechanisms that need to be built into future online participation systems to appreciate how, where and why people use them. My second research area is the support for citizen engagement in policy making and the provision of public agency information and knowledge. Here the focus is on the use of Web 2.0 and computer supported argumentation systems to support deliberation and knowledge sharing.

Looking forward to working on these topics!
By Adam Wyner
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New Article on Legal Case Ontologies in Knowledge Engineering Review

Rinke Hoekstra and I have a paper which will appear in Knowledge Engineering Review.
A Legal Case OWL Ontology with an Instantiation of Popov v. Hayashi
Adam Wyner and Rinke Hoekstra
To appear in Knowledge Engineering Review
The paper provides an OWL ontology for legal cases with an instantiation of the legal case Popov v. Hayashi. The ontology makes explicit the conceptual knowledge of the legal case domain, supports reasoning about the domain, and can be used to annotate the text of cases, which in turn can be used to populate the ontology. A populated ontology is a case base which can be used for information retrieval, information extraction, and case based reasoning. The ontology contains not only elements of indexing the case (e.g. the parties, jurisdiction, and date), but as well elements used to reason to a decision such as argument schemes and the components input to the schemes. We use the Protege ontology editor and knowledge acquisition system, current guidelines for ontology development, and tools for visual and linguistic presentation of the ontology.
By Adam Wyner
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Recent Paper Submissions

During my time at the Leibniz Center for Law working on the IMPACT, I and my colleagues Tom van Engers and Kiavash Bahreini prepared and submitted three papers to conferences and workshops. The drafts of the papers are linked below along with the abstracts. Comments welcome.
A Framework for Enriched, Controlled On-line Discussion Forums for e-Government Policy-making
Adam Wyner and Tom van Engers
Submitted to eGOV 2010
The paper motivates and proposes a framework for enriched on-line discussion forums for e-government policy-making, where pro and con statements for positions are structured, recorded, represented, and evaluated. The framework builds on current technologies for multi-threaded discussion lists by integrating modes, natural language processing, ontologies, and formal argumentation frameworks. With modes other than the standard reply “comment”, users specify the semantic relationship between a new statement and the previous statement; the result is an argument graph. Natural language processing with a controlled language constrains the domain of discourse, eliminates ambiguity and unclarity, allows a logical representation of statements, and facilitates information extraction. However, the controlled language is highly expressive and natural . Ontologies represent the knowledge of the domain. Argumentation frameworks evaluate the argument graph and generate sets of consistent statements. The output of the system is a rich and articulated representation of a set of policy statements which supports queries, information extraction, and inference
From Policy-making Statements to First-order Logic
Adam Wyner, Tom van Engers, and Kiavash Bahreini
Submitted to eGOVIS 2010
Within a framework for enriched on-line discussion forums for e-government policy-making, pro and con statements for positions are input, structurally related, then logically represented and evaluated. The framework builds on current technologies for multi-threaded discussion, natural language processing, ontologies, and formal argumentation frameworks. This paper focuses on the natural language processing of statements in the framework. A small sample policy discussion is presented. We adopt and apply a controlled natural language (Attempto Controlled English) to constrain the domain of discourse, eliminate ambiguity and unclarity, allow a logical representation of statements which supports inference and consistency checking, and facilitate information extraction. Each of the polity statements is automatically translated into rst-order logic. The result is logical representation of the policy discussion which we can query, draw inferences (given ground statements), test for consistency, and extract detailed information.
Towards Web-base Mass Argumentation in Natural Language
Adam Wyner and Tom van Engers
Submitted to EKAW 2010
Within the artificial intelligence community, argumentation has been studied for quite some years now. Despite progress, the field has not yet succeeded in creating support tools that members of the public could use to contribute their views to discussions of public policy. One important reason for that is that the input statements of participants in policy-making discussions are put forward in natural language, while translating the statements into the formal models used by argumentation scientists is cumbersome. These formal models can be used to automatically reason with, query, or transmit domain knowledge using web-based technologies. Making this knowledge explicit, formal, and expressed in a language which a machine can process is a labour, time, and knowledge intensive task. To make such translation and it requires expertise that most participants in policy-making debates do not have. In this paper we describe an approach with which we aim at contributing to a solution of this knowledge acquisition bottle-neck. We propose a novel, integrated methodology and framework which adopts and adapts existing technologies. We use semantic wikis which support mass, collaborative, distributive, dynamic knowledge acquisition. In particular, ACEWiki incorporates NLP tools, enabling linguistically competent users to enter their knowledge in natural language, while yielding a logical form that is suitable for automated processing. In the paper we will explain how we can extend the ACEWiki and augment it with argumentation tools which elicit knowledge from users, making implicit information explicit, and generate subsets of consistent knowledge bases from inconsistent knowledge bases. To a set of consistent propositions, we can apply automated reasoners, allowing users to draw inferences and make queries. The methodology and framework take a fragmentary, incremental development approach to knowledge acquisition in complex domains.
By Adam Wyner
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Semantic Processing of Legal Texts Workshop

In this post you will find information on the Semantic Processing of Legal Texts workshop, held in conjunction with the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference. Below please find a link to the conference, information on the workshop, and a program for the conference.
Language Resources and Evaluation Conference, May 17-23, Malta.
LREC 2010 Workshop on

23 May 2010, Malta
Workshop Description
The legal domain represents a primary candidate for web-based information distribution, exchange and management, as testified by the numerous e-government, e-justice and e-democracy initiatives worldwide. The last few years have seen a growing body of research and practice in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Law which addresses a range of topics: automated legal reasoning and argumentation, semantic and cross-language legal information retrieval, document classification, legal drafting, legal knowledge discovery and extraction, as well as the construction of legal ontologies and their application to the law domain. In this context, it is of paramount importance to use Natural Language Processing techniques and tools that automate and facilitate the process of knowledge extraction from legal texts.
Over the last two years, a number of dedicated workshops and tutorials specifically focusing on different aspects of semantic processing of legal texts has demonstrated the current interest in research on Artificial Intelligence and Law in combination with Language Resources (LR) and Human Language Technologies (HLT). The LREC 2008 Workshop on “Semantic processing of legal texts” was held in Marrakech, Morocco, on the 27th of May 2008. The JURIX 2008 Workshop on “the Natural Language Engineering of Legal Argumentation: Language, Logic, and Computation (NaLEA)”, which focused on recent advances in natural language engineering and legal argumentation. The ICAIL 2009 Workshops “LOAIT ’09 – the 3rd Workshop on Legal Ontologies and Artificial Intelligence Techniques joint with the 2nd Workshop on Semantic Processing of Legal Texts” and “NALEA’09 – Workshop on the Natural Language Engineering of Legal Argumentation: Language, Logic, and Computation”, the former focusing on Legal Knowledge Representation with particular emphasis on the issue of ontology acquisition from legal texts, the latter tackling issues related to legal argumentation and linguistic technologies.
To continue this momentum, a 3rd Workshop on “Semantic Processing of Legal Texts” is being organised at the LREC conference to bring to the attention of the broader LR/HLT community the specific technical challenges posed by the semantic processing of legal texts and also share with the community the motivations and objectives which make it of interest to researchers in legal informatics. The outcome of these interactions are expected to advance research and applications and foster interdisciplinary collaboration within the legal domain.
The main goals of the workshop are to provide an overview of the state-of-the-art in legal knowledge extraction and management, to explore new research and development directions and emerging trends, and to exchange information regarding legal LRs and HLTs and their applications.
Areas of Interest
The workshop will focus on the topics of the automatic extraction of information from legal texts and the structural organisation of the extracted knowledge. Particular emphasis will be given to the crucial role of language resources and human language technologies. Papers are on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Building legal resources: terminologies, ontologies, corpora
  • Ontologies of legal texts, including subareas such as ontology acquisition, ontology customisation, ontology merging, ontology extension, ontology evolution, lexical information, etc.
  • Information retrieval and extraction from legal texts
  • Semantic annotation of legal texts
  • Legal text processing
  • Multilingual aspects of legal text semantic processing
  • Legal thesauri mapping
  • Automatic Classification of legal documents
  • Logical analysis of legal language
  • Automated parsing and translation of natural language arguments into a logical formalism
  • Linguistically-oriented XML mark up of legal arguments
  • Dialogue protocols for argumentation
  • Legal argument ontology
  • Computational theories of argumentation that are suitable to natural language
  • Controlled language systems for law
  • Workshop Chairs

  • Enrico Francesconi (Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell’Informazione Giuridica of CNR, Florence, Italy)
  • Simonetta Montemagni (Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale of CNR, Pisa, Italy)
  • Wim Peters (Natural Language Processing Research Group, University of Sheffield, UK)
  • Adam Wyner (Department of Computer Science, University College London, UK)
  • Program Committee

  • Johan Bos (University of Rome, Italy)
  • Danièle Bourcier (Humboldt Universität, Berlin, Germany)
  • Thomas R. Bruce (Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY, USA)
  • Pompeu Casanovas (Institut de Dret i Tecnologia, UAB, Barcelona, Spain)
  • Alessandro Lenci (Dipartimento di Linguistica, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy)
  • Leonardo Lesmo (Dipartimento di Informatica, Università di Torino, Torino, Italy)
  • Raquel Mochales Palau (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium)
  • Paulo Quaresma (Universidade de Évora, Portugal)
  • Erich Schweighofer (Universität Wien, Rechtswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Wien, Austria)
  • Manfred Stede (University of Potsdam, Germany)
  • Daniela Tiscornia (Istituto di Teoria e Tecniche dell’Informazione Giuridica of CNR, Florence, Italy)
  • Tom van Engers (Leibniz Center for Law, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Stephan Walter (Euroscript, Luxembourg S.a.r.l.)
  • Radboud Winkels (Leibniz Center for Law, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Program

  • 14:30-14:45 Welcome and introduction
  • 14:45-15:10
    A Description Language for Content Zones of German Court Decisions
    Florian Kuhn
  • 15:10-15:35
    Controlling the language of statutes and regulations for semantic processing
    Stefan Hoefler and Alexandra Bünzli
  • 15:35-16:00
    Named entity recognition in the legal domain for ontology population
    Mírian Bruckschen, Caio Northfleet, Douglas da Silva, Paulo Bridi, Roger Granada, Renata Vieira, Prasad Rao and Tomas Sander
  • 16:00-16:30
    Coffee break

  • 16:30-16:55
    Legal Claim Identification: Information Extraction with Hierarchically Labeled Data
    Mihai Surdeanu, Ramesh Nallapati and Christopher Manning
  • 16:55-17:20
    On the Extraction of Decisions and Contributions from Summaries of French Legal IT Contract Cases
    Manuel Maarek
  • 17:20-17:45
    Towards Annotating and Extracting Textual Legal Case Factors
    Adam Wyner and Wim Peters
  • 17:45-18:10
    Legal Rules Learning based on a Semantic Model for Legislation
    Enrico Francesconi