The increasing importance of global communication in the legal field has reached a critical level where the mere and simple use of the English language (as a means of communication) is no longer enough. In facts, legal sources and databases available on the web are generally accessible in national languages or in English (mostly as the national language of English speaking countries). To date, no existing tool offers a crosscutting multilingual access to legal sources from countries with different national languages. Thus, tools for dealing with legal linguistic barriers are dramatically scarce and very much needed.
The Multilingual Archive of the Law of Science and New Technologies (ALST) offers an original solution, for the following reasons:
· It is a multilingual legal platform that collects legal material (legislation, case law and much more) in their original language.
· It is based on an evolving multilingual legal thesaurus.
· It connects material drafted in different languages.
· It makes them available to everybody, whatever is the language used in the query.
· It suggests unexpected connections among multilingual material not foreseeable by the user, improving research abilities.
The main goal of ALST is to make different legal entities interoperable, ensuring to foster a dialogue, but also to preserve their own languages and cultural background.
ALST needs to evolve from a successful prototype (as it is now, with more than ten languages already in use) to a fully operative platform where a semi-controlled wiki system works and contributes to the creation of an active transnational community of lawyers and citizens.