The Semantic Puzzle

Thomas Thurner

Wolters Kluwer Deutschland is publishing 2 legal thesauri as Linked Open Data

Wolters Kluwer Deutschland GmbH (WKD) publishes two legal thesauri as Linked Open DataLinked Open Data (LOD) stands for freely available data on the World Wide Web, which can be identified via Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) and can be accessed and retrieved directly via HTTP. Finally link your data to other data to provide context. for free re-use by public administrations, industry and the Open Data community

(MunichMünchen is the capital city of Bavaria, Germany. It is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is the third largest city in Germany, behind Berlin and Hamburg. About 1.35 million people live within the city limits. Munich hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics. The city's motto is ..., 12.07.2012, WKD) From today on, two thesauri (controlled vocabularies) covering juridical/legal topics are provided for free re-use as Linked Open Data: One thesaurusA thesaurus is a book that lists words grouped together according to similarity of meaning, in contrast to a dictionary, which contains definitions and pronunciations. The largest thesaurus in the world is the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, which contains more than ... is covering topics around labor law in German language, while the other one describes German and European courts. Both vocabularies can be accessed at:

Labor law thesaurus covers all main areas of labor law, like the roles of employee and employer; legal aspects around labor contracts and dismissal; also co-determination and industrial action. Therefore, this thesaurus is interesting and relevant for all parties, who are dealing with labor law – professionals like specialized lawyers as well as for employees looking for definitions of legal terms. Linking to thematically similar thesauri (Linked Open Data paradigm) has already taken place and is therefore available as well.

Courts thesaurus is structuring German and European courts in a hierarchical fashion and includes e.g. address information. This thesaurus is not only dedicated to parties interested in legal matters, but also to developers developing geo data applications. Information concerning courts and their roles and responsibilities can become an interesting aspect of many applications in the future.

Publication of these data sets as Open Data is motivated by many reasons. In particular two major directions should be mentioned here: first is to help our customers with their information overload and the other one is to support activities in the OGD (Open Government Data) community.

The creation of legal vocabularies is far from being a trivial thing and there are hardly any resources available in German language. By making these thesauri publicly available, we want to support especially administrations to classify and structure their internal data, in order to easily connect this data to relevant WKD legal resources afterwards (Interoperability of data). The Community on the other hand is very active in some domains, but unfortunately very reluctant when it comes to legal topics. Our aim here is to give initial support in order to create awareness, that also with this data it is possible to create highly interesting and relevant applications. In the end, all interested parties have to work together in a collaborative fashion, in order to bring transparency to the diversity and sheer amount of legal information – this is not possible within insular silos of applications and isolated approaches.

With this effort, Wolters KluwerWolters Kluwer N.V. is a leading global information services and publishing company. The company provides products and services for professionals in the health, tax, accounting, corporate, financial services, legal and regulatory sectors. Wolters Kluwer has annual revenues (2008) of €3.374 ... Deutschland GmbH is becoming part of the global Open Data movement, which is also heavily promoted by the European Commission, in order to strengthen EuropeEurope is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally divided from Asia to its east by the water divide of the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian Sea, the Caucasus Mountains, and the Black Sea to the ... as an industrial location.

License models used here (like Creative Commons, CC-BY 3.0 for the contents) are as open as possible, in order to have available a real basis for further development in a collaborative fashion.

This commitment also implies next steps: both thesauri will be communicated to different target groups and the resulting discussions will hopefully generate many new requirements and concrete models for collaboration.

Facts and Figures

Licenses of WKD thesauri

  • Data is licensed using ‘Creative Commons Namensnennung 3.0 Deutschland (CC BY 3.0)’ License.
  • Data model is licensed using ‘ODBL’ License.
  • Links to external sources are licensed using a ‘CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public DomainThe public domain is an intellectual property designation for the range of content that is not owned or controlled by anyone. These materials are public property, and available for anyone to use freely (the "right to copy") for any purpose. The public domain can be defined in contrast to several ... Dedication’ License.

Published as Linked Open Data (LOD)

WKD Thesauri are linked with

  • Standard Thesaurus für Wirtschaft, ZBW (
  • Wikipedia / DBpedia
  • TheSozThe Thesaurus for the Social Sciences (Thesaurus Sozialwissenschaften) is a crucial instrument for the content-oriented search by keywords in SOFIS and SOLIS. The list of keywords contains about 11,600 entries, of which more than 7,750 are descriptors (authorised keywords) and about 3,850 ... from Leibniz Gesellschaft für Sozialwissenschaften (

Programming interfaces as APIAn application programming interface (API) is an interface implemented by a software program to enable interaction with other software, similar to the way a user interface facilitates interaction between humans and computers. APIs are implemented by applications, libraries and operating systems ... / SPAQRL endpoints available at:

Used software tool

PoolPartyWeb based ontology manager which can serve as a central hub for your knowledge organization. With PoolParty you can organize and maintain knowledge models based on widely accepted specifications like RDF, SPARQL and SKOS. Thesaurus Management Suite (

Both thesauri are described in ADMSADMS, the Asset Description Metadata Schema, is a profile of DCAT for describing so-called Semantic Assets (or just 'Assets'), that is, highly reusable metadata (e.g. xml schemata, generic data models) and reference data (e.g. code lists, taxonomies, dictionaries, vocabularies) that are used for ... format

coming from the European Commission, in order to be easily re-used in e-government services:

This project was implemented in a partnership between

Wolters Kluwer Deutschland GmbH (, Semantic Web CompanyThe Semantic Web Company (SWC), based in Vienna, provides companies, institutions and organizations with professional services related to the Semantic Web, semantic technologies and Social Software Wien ( and the FP7 Project LOD2EU-funded (FP7) research project aiming to take the Web of Linked Data to the next level. Main research challenges: improve coherence and quality of data published on the Web, close the performance gap between relational and RDF data management, establish trust on the Linked Data Web and ... (

for more information you may contact

Christian Dirschl
Wolters Kluwer Deutschland GmbH (WKD)
Freisinger Strasse 3
D-85716 Unterschleißheim