Lawi Classification System (LCS)


The Lawi Classification System has been developed as a poly-hierarchical ontology that can be utilized in semantic web applications. This Classification System may serve as the de facto standard classification system for the international lawfield. It is being integrated into the search capabilities and visual topic displays of the Encyclopedia of Law. It relies on a semantic vocabulary as the single source of categories and concepts, It is receptive to structural change as it evolves in the future. It supplements its current traditional bibliographic search.

Several formats are available for free for educational and research purposes.

A map of the Lawi Classification System has been built and run against all entries in the Encyclopedia of Law. The LCS sets of concepts will be available on Citation Pages of all indexed entries.

Full integration into the Digital Library will be rolled out over the next three months. Areas of Expertise in Author Profile Pages will be updated as will each Institutional Profile’s display of its most intensive research areas. Topical tag clouds for each ACM SIG and each ACM conference will also utilize the 2012 CCS. Its concepts will be indexed for search and a new Advanced Search Subject Search will be developed.

LC brought its experience in building ontologies while the Encyclopedia of Law editors and authors provided the domain expertise.

The first phase review developed the broad subject areas of the field, i.e., the top two levels of the hierarchy. The second phase review fleshed out more granular concepts within each area.

General Approach

For each top-level branch of the Lawi Classifiction System, we took the following general approach:

  • The classification maintains an n-level hierarchy. It does not use classification numbers, so there is no distinction between “coded” and “uncoded” levels.
  • The classification is poly-hierarchical. Some terms are parented by multiple concepts, but the narrower children of a particular term are always the same.
  • In general, each existing “General” and “Miscellaneous” category was rolled up into the term itself.

Table of Contents of the Lawi Classification System


General and reference

Document types

  • Surveys and overviews
  • Reference works
  • General conference proceedings
  • Biographies
  • General literature
  • Standards and guidelines

Legal tools and techniques

Social and professional topics

Professional topics

Legal industry

  • Industry statistics
  • Services Provided
  • Sustainability

Management of Law Firms

Generate LCS Codes

How To Assign Lawi Classification System Concepts:

  • Browse the Lawi Classification System by clicking through the desired subject areas
  • Click on the subject itself when you have reached the appropriate level of subject granularity
  • Choose the proper relevance of the chosen Lawi Classification System concept (High, Medium, Low)
  • Adjust the relevance of your selection of subject areas if necessary
  • Once complete, click on “Generate LCS Codes”
  • Copy and Paste the appropriately formated LCS Coding to the item you are classifying

Guidelines For Assigning Lawi Classification System Concepts:

  • Choose as many classifications as you feel appropriate to best convey the subject areas of your item
  • The average number of classificaitons per item is 3
  • It is not recommended to choose more than 5
  • Each classification chosen must be assigned a relevance based on a three level scale (High, Medium, Low)
  • Be sure and choose at least one at the highest relevance
  • It is not recommended to assign the highest relevance to more than 1 Lawi Classification System concept


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