The akoma ntoso symbol (as seen on the US African Burial Ground National Monument in New York City)
|Internet media type|
|Initial release||30 August 2018|
|Type of format||Legal informatics|
|Standard||Akoma Ntoso 1.0 - XML vocabulary and specifications|
Akoma Ntoso (Architecture for Knowledge-Oriented Management of African Normative Texts using Open Standards and Ontologies) is an international technical standard for representing executive, legislative and judiciary documents in a structured manner using a domain specific, legal XML vocabulary.
The term akoma ntoso means "linked hearts" in the Akan language of West Africa and for this reason it was selected for nominating this legal XML standard. The usual acronym is AKN, to designate the XML AKN format.
The Akoma Ntoso standard defines a set of ‘machine readable’ electronic representations in XML format of the building blocks of parliamentary, legislative and judiciary documents”.
The standard is composed of :
- an XML vocabulary that defines the mapping between the structure of legal documents and their equivalent in XML;
- specifications of an XML schema that defines the structure of legal documents in XML. They provide rich possibilities of description for several types of parliamentary, legislative and judiciary document, such as bills, acts and parliamentary records, judgments, or gazettes;
- a recommended naming convention for providing unique identifier to legal sources based on FRBR model;
- a MIME type definition.
History and adoption throughout the world
Akoma Ntoso started as an UNDESA project in 2004 within the initiative “Strengthening Parliaments’ Information Systems in Africa”. Its core vocabulary was created mostly by two professors from the Centre for Research in the History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Law and in Computer Science and Law (CIRSFID) of the University of Bologna. A first legislative text editor supporting Akoma Ntoso was developed in 2007 on the base of OpenOffice.
In 2010 European Parliament developed an open source web-based application called AT4AM based on Akoma Ntoso for facilitating the production and the management of legislative amendments. Thanks to this project, the application of Akoma Ntoso could be extended to new type of documents (e.g. legislative proposal, transcript) and to other scenarios (e.g., multilingual translation process).
Akoma Ntoso also was explicitly designed to be compliant with CEN Metalex, one of the other popular legal standards, which is used in the UK Statute Law Database. as well as for the publication of all Dutch regulations.
The "United States Legislative Markup" (USLM) schema for the United States Code (the US codified laws), developed in 2013, and the LexML Brasil XML schema for Brazilian legislative and judiciary documents, developed before, in 2008, were both designed to be consistent with Akoma Ntoso.
The United States Library of Congress created the Markup of US Legislation in Akoma Ntoso challenge in July 2013 to create representations of selected US bills using the most recent Akoma Ntoso standard within a couple months for a $5000 prize, and the Legislative XML Data Mapping challenge in September 2013 to produce a data map for US bill XML and UK bill XML to the most recent Akoma Ntoso schema within a couple months for a $10000 prize.
The National Archives of UK converted all the legislation in AKN in 2014. The availability of bulk legislation "moved the UK's ranking from fourth to first, in the 2014 Global Open Data Index, for legislation". 
The High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM), part of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination, set up a Working Group on Document Standards that approved on April 2017 to adopt Akoma Ntoso as standard for modeling its documentation. 
Akoma Ntoso in its version 1.0 is finally adopted as OASIS standard in the frame of LegalDocML in August 2018. 
Definition and aims
As official self-description, the standard
(...) defines a set of simple, technology-neutral electronic representations of parliamentary, legislative and judiciary documents for e-services in a worldwide context and provides an enabling framework for the effective exchange of “machine readable” parliamentary, legislative and judiciary documents such as legislation, debate record, minutes, judgements, etc.
Providing access to primary legal materials, parliamentary works and judiciaries documents is not just a matter of giving physical or on-line access to them. “Open access” requires the information to be described and classified in a uniform and organized way so that content is structured into meaningful elements that can be read and understood by software applications, so that the content is made “machine readable” and more sophisticated applications than on-screen display are made possible.
- "Akoma Ntoso Version 1.0. Part 1: XML Vocabulary". docs.oasis-open.org. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
- "Akoma Ntoso Version 1.0. Part 2: Specifications". docs.oasis-open.org. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
- "Akoma Ntoso Naming Convention Version 1.0". docs.oasis-open.org. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
- "Akoma Ntoso Media Type Version 1.0". docs.oasis-open.org. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
- Barabucci, Gioele; Cervone, Luca; Palmirani, Monica; Peroni, Silvio; Vitali, Fabio (2010), Casanovas, Pompeu; Pagallo, Ugo; Sartor, Giovanni; Ajani, Gianmaria (eds.), "Multi-layer Markup and Ontological Structures in Akoma Ntoso", AI Approaches to the Complexity of Legal Systems. Complex Systems, the Semantic Web, Ontologies, Argumentation, and Dialogue, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 6237, pp. 133–149, doi:10.1007/978-3-642-16524-5_9, ISBN 978-3-642-16523-8, retrieved 2020-07-19
- The International Conference Parliaments’ Information Management in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities of ICTs to Strengthen Democracy and Parliamentary Governance (11 February 2005). Parliaments' Information Management in Africa - The Nairobi declaration of 11th February 2005. United Nations.
- Buie, Elizabeth. (2012). Usability in government systems : user experience design for citizens and public servants. Murray, Dianne. Burlington: Elsevier Science. pp. Chapter 9: Legislative drafting systems. ISBN 978-0-12-391063-9. OCLC 794328699.
- "Parliaments able to save time thanks to free EP tool for managing amendments | News | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. 2013-03-20. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
- "AT4AM: the XML web editor used by Members of European Parliament » VoxPopuLII". blog.law.cornell.edu. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
- "AT4AM Video". EU Parliament.
- "AT4AM world". EU Parliament.
- "OASIS LegalDocumentML (LegalDocML) TC". OASIS. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- "Akoma Ntoso Updates". akomantoso.org. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 29 April 2010. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- "RDF/XML Format". Legislation.gov.uk. The National Archives. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- "CEN MetaLex - Open XML Interchange Format for Legal and Legislative Resources". www.metalex.eu. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
- Gheen, Tina (23 April 2012). "OASIS Puts Akoma Ntoso on the Standards Track". Library of Congress.
- "United States Legislative Markup: User Guide for the USLM Schema" (PDF). Office of the Law Revision Counsel. July 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
- "LexML Brasil, Parte 3 - LexML XML Schema, version 1.0" (PDF). GT LexML. December 2008. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
- Gheen, Tina (16 July 2013). "Library of Congress Announces First Legislative Data Challenge". Library of Congress.
- Gheen, Tina (10 September 2013). "Second Library of Congress Legislative Data Challenge Launched". Library of Congress.
- "OGP UK National Action Plan 2013-15". The National Archives. 30 June 2015.
- "Senate of Italian Republic - AkomaNtosoBulkData". Senate of the Republic (Italy). 24 July 2016.
- "Akoma Ntoso Guidelines". unsceb-hlcm.github.io. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
- "Akoma Ntoso Version 1.0 becomes an OASIS Standard | OASIS". www.oasis-open.org. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
- Official site of Akoma Ntoso
- Official site of the OASIS LegalDocumentML technical committee
- Akoma Ntoso for European Union (AKN4EU)
- slaw.ca/2015/05/11 Akoma Ntoso v1.0
- akoma-ntoso-markup.challengepost.com, legislative-data-mapping (Akoma Ntoso converter)