Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Making Indian Kanoon the gold standard for legal research

A new release was rolled out on Sunday in an effort to make Indian Kanoon the gold standard for legal research in India. The release consisted of a lot of user visible changes and includes all changes that were planned in July. While some of these changes are related to improving the infrastructure, most of the changes have come from people complains and the problems they have been facing while using Indian Kanoon. Here are the broad list of changes:

1. Removed duplicate judgments: Many court websites in India have separate urls for each case number even when these cases are combined and only one judgment is delivered. The new release ensures duplicate judgments are filtered out.

2. Improved the judgment layout: The new release removes page numbers and case numbers that are sprinkled in the judgment. Also new code has been developed to identify paragraphs, quotes and tables so that judgment could be laid out in an appealing format.

3. Improved PDF copy: htmldoc is enhanced to generate PDF output using a more readable Georgia font using the approach here.

4. Consumer Court judgments added: Roughly 1 lakh (100K) judgments from National and State Consumer Redressal Commission have been added to the Indian Kanoon database. New cases from these commissions will also get updated every day. For example look at the consumer cases against  airtel here.

5. Improved titles for Bombay, Kolkata, Andhra and Kerala high court: Since these courts do not provide meta information, the petitioner and such details are extracted from the free text. Earlier there were a lot of error in these extractions.

6.  New Design:  A new center based design was rolled out on Sunday. Do let me know of any usability issues you have encountered in the new design.

7. Software updated: The entire software stack was updated including the kernel on the production host. For the first time it has been achieved without any downtime or any user experience issues. Also for the first time the production traffic was served on Sunday using a multi-node setup. It is not a user facing change.