Schema.org in Brief
The schema.org community is at the forefront of efforts to develop the Semantic Web, a long-proposed extension of World Wide Web functionality that envisages ubiquitous structured, machine-readable content. Members of the schema.org community collaborate to create vocabularies for categorizing entities and constructing relationships between entities and actions. The project integrates with existing formats that attach metadata to web content (e.g. the Resource Description Framework), and was initiated by a consortium of leading search engines in 2011. Its development offers the potential for search engines to generate more relevant results by understanding the intent of searchers and contextual nuances of language, thereby overcoming traditional search methodologies’ weaknesses in the face of, for example, morphological variations, synonyms, and generalizations.
In the legal sphere, the development of common mark-up vocabularies enables the mapping of the underlying conceptual structures of the law onto its diverse expressions in online legal discourse. A vital process in reconciling the separate schema different mark-up initiatives create into larger and therefore more powerful structures, ontology merging can be enhanced with the aid of the Stanford University-backed editing platform, Protégé. Its highly customizable interface and advanced visualization tools make for efficient, interactive navigation of ontology relationships, which aids in understanding these complex structures and tracking down inconsistencies.