I’m completing an internally hyperlinked version of the New York Laws. I’ve looked hard, but I haven’t found any other sites that link the cross references in the text itself. (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.) Why hasn’t this been done before? Take a look at Abandoned Property Law § 1222:
The provisions of sections twelve hundred seven, twelve hundred eight, twelve hundred eleven and twelve hundred twelve of article twelve of this chapter shall apply to all escheat proceedings under this article.
Compare with a similar Oregon statute, ORS 98.304:
Unless otherwise provided in ORS 98.302 to 98.436 and 98.992 or by other statute of this state, intangible property is subject to the custody of this state…
The reason for the lack of a hyperlinked version looks obvious: We want to figure out which statute is being referred to. That’s many times more difficult with text like “twelve hundred twelve of article twelve of this chapter” compared with “ORS 98.302” — especially for a computer program.
Core computer science techniques can solve problems like this
I wrote a divide and conquer / recursive descent parser which interprets a legal citation and translates New York state’s idiomatic language into ordinary numbers. A factory method controls access to the algorithm; this is one of the great design patterns for writing flexible code. For example, software that changes its behavior depending on which state’s laws its displaying.
That’s the buzzword-laden summary. If anybody would like more details, drop me a line.