Case studies

Structured information about selected projects,
reasons of development, ways of usage, number of clients and so on.

Case Studies / EPI.SK

1. Project name

EPI – Economic and legal information (http://www.epi.sk/)

2. Short characteristic of the project

  • web portal having three basic sources of content
    • Low system containing legal rules of Collection of Laws, judgments and expert literature in a unique interconnection.
      complete Business Journal
    • complete Tendering Journal, Official Journal „S“
  • daily updated, perfect searching, wealthy opportunities if personalization
     

3. Customer profile

  • S-EPI, s.r.o. operates in the Slovak Republic. It is a part of S 5 P, a.s. holding
  • Other companies owned by S 5 P, a.s. company act as publishers of Slovak official journals for Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic – Collection of Laws, Business Journal, Financial Journal, Judicial Review.
  • S-EPI, s.r.o. has established contacts with the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic, Academy of Justice and Slovak Chamber of Advocates.
  • Region of operations: the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic.

 

4. Why the project was realized

  • to get enormous wealth of information taken from many publications produced by our client from the beginning of 90th (periodical, aperiodical, monothematic) to clients in digital form, online, via internet,
  • but first of all, the demand of clients for information having digital form was in 2001 the reason to the tender, in which our company, AION CS, s.r.o., defeated our opponents of high-sounding names.

 

5. Time of realization

  • 2002-2004: preparing both the content and the application
  • 2004-2007: the first version operates
  • 2008-now days: completely innovated second version
  • the commercial success of the project creates a base to the next expansion of the structured content and the implementation on the most recent technologies
     

6. Position on the market

  • according to Google Analytics in the year of 2008, more than 550 thousands distinct visitors, during more than 1.5 millions of visits, displayed more than 10 millions of pages
  • by the number of clients, http://www.epi.sk/ is number two on the market of legal systems in the Slovak Republic, continually decreasing a lead of number one
  • contracting supplier of verified legal regulations to systems of public administration
     

7. Typical profile of www.epi.sk user

  • lawyers in private sector (advocates, solicitors, company lawyers)
  • lawyers in public sector (judges, prosecutors, legislation makers)
  • economists, accountants
  • applicants for public orders
  • educational system (law branches) 
  • the general public
     

8. Way of operation, accessibility of www.epi.sk

  • publicly accessible application on the address http://www.epi.sk/; the content is partially free, partially payable in the form of set if products called EPI Legal system.
  • publicly accessible and free Slovak Republic Collection of Laws, Business Journal, Tendering Journal in PDF format on the address http://www.zakon.sk/
  • internal redaction systems to supply redaction tasks on the content (input, structuring, setting cross-connections of content sources mentioned above)  
     

9. User interface

  • www browser
     

10. Technologies used

10.1. Software

  • Windows Server 2003
  • SQL Server 2005
  • .NET FrameWork 3.5
  • Tovek server
     

10.2. Hardware

  • server farm Dell
  • Totally 2 TB of disk capacity 16 GB RAM, 10 processors
     

11. Solution description

EPI project is based on perfect symbiosis of the content and the form, that is data and technologies which provide their transfer to users.

11.1. Pillars

  • wide and unique information sources
  • exhaustive data model 
  • rich set of metadata 
  • XML and .NET platform 
  • excellent and highly efficient search engine
  • splendid team of programmers 
  • ideal cooperation on the client side 
  • good ideas
  • automation of routine editor tasks wherever  it is at least in some measure possible
     

11.2. Some principles

11.2.1. Legal system

  • decomposition of documents of primary low, that is of all regulations in Collection of Laws, into fragments/beads (more than 10 millions) where the bead is the smallest independently addressable unit (article, paragraph, letter)
  • synthesis of selected fragments into real tree-oriented groups/views, for example into consolidated readings or thematic quantities (analogy with stringing of beads on the thread)
  • linkage of fragments of legal documents, or of groups of such fragments, between each other in both directions with the help of theme-dependent links (more than 1 million)
  • documents of secondary law, that is judgments, terminology, expert literature both periodical and monothematic, is linked to legal regulations in analogical way
  • thematic sorting of both documents and their parts according to taxonomies, thesauruses and controlled dictionaries 
  • data model of low system is fully compatible with famous schemas of Metalex and Formex
     

11.2.2. Three-layer architecture

1st layer: Creation and administration of the content
2nd layer: Index services (both full text and controlled dictionaries)
3th layer: Presentation (searching, viewing) and personalizing services

12. Analytical works and project realization

As an introduction into EPI project, the analysis was provided in two phases. With the respect of rule “content first, the form is its shape”, sources were analyzed first, amid the form of content which was to be published on EPI portal by our client.

In this scope, it was about technical analysis

  • of digital and printed archives
  • of used processes of digital publishing in all departments/redactions of our client and their technical and personal support

with the goal to find procedures, formats and structures of used metadata, what could be used and what was necessary to add, which additions were possible to made automatically, semi automatically and manually, and also qualified guesses of necessary personal, time and financial resources.

Collecting source materials, we found the following maxim: “To make things simple is really complicated.” :)

Once our analysis of content and processes of its creation had been accepted, the solution architecture design followed amid the definition of technological realization of future processes. The result was the basic project attributes definition. In other words, what and in which time and in which price would be realized.

Our client accepted those attributes only after their hard defense. The customer left nothing without answer, searching for reasons and solutions whenever something was unclear.

What followed was the project formulation. It was then when we built three-tier project architecture, software properties, database structures, stored procedures, concepts and appearance of the user interface; we also designed distinct phases of the project and the way how the client workers would cooperate.

The next stage was the project realization. The way how the project was being build was determined by the difficulty of the project: agile programming techniques with permanent presence of our client, a transformation of task-centered programming into value-centered programming and finally the fact that the client of the system which was being built was all the time in the center of our attention.

Measured from the instance when the agreement was signet until the web was launched, the system development lasted two hard years. The EPI project was started on May 1st, 2004 (alongside with the magnificent extension of the European Union).

Commercial success of the project enabled its endured expansion by adding new content modules and techniques to accomplish them.  In the year of 2007, the whole portal was completely refined. Now the preparation of the marvelous qualitative redesign and properties expansion expected in the next year is under way; the motive of that will be the considerable usage of semantic web techniques with the help of Topic Maps techniques and approaches.

 

13. Screenshots of EPI project (actual version)

13.1. Homepage EPI

Simple and pure graphical solution of one-click approach to all applications. For subscribers, the elementary knowledge of the portal structure is not necessary.

13.2. Product page of Collection of Laws

Actual publication, archive and well made searching – all in one place.

13.3. Result list of “citizen” term search in Collection of Lows

On the first places there are preferred answers accomplished by the technique of Topic Maps.

13.4. View of the 40/1964 Zb. regulation, Civil law 

  • above the regulation, the reference in a tree-shape is positioned
  • the regulation is displayed in the middle part of the view
  • on the right side, there are navigational boxes having added value of additional functions and additional content

13.5. View of the expert article

The interesting feature here is the article division, links, footnotes just in the text and additional information in the right boxes.

13.6. Product page of Business Journal

Actual publication, archive and searches in one place.

13.7. Product page of judgments

Interesting documents and searches centralized on one place.

13.8. Selection of judgments with respect of detailed low segments and related institutes

Again, binding and detailed dynamical tree-structure are achieved by means if Topic Maps techniques and ways.

13.9. Product page of “virtual” tendering Journal

Virtual extension of printed periodical publication; from the beginning of this year, it is published in digital form only; nevertheless, it is automatically built into virtual issues.

13.10. E-Shop list of results of product search, product card

Detailed selection criteria and detail view of products and their attributes.