Connecting the dots: visualizing international law.

Position:Discussion
 
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This panel was convened at 1:45 pm, Wednesday, April 9, by its moderator, Marylin Johnson Raisch of the John Wolff International & Comparative Law Library, Georgetown University Law Center, who introduced the panelists: Ana S. Ayala of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center; Alejandro Ponce of the World Justice Project; and Jeffrey B. Ritter of Georgetown University Law Center. *

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS BY MARYLIN JOHNSON RAISCH

Data visualization may be defined as "the implementation of more contemporary visualization techniques to illustrate the relationships within data. Visualization tactics include applications that can display real-time changes and more illustrative graphics, thus going beyond pie, bar, and other charts." (1) Data visualization, along with database technologies, has transformed the presentation of data in many fields, including the social sciences and law. (2) In researching U.S. law, including U.S. practice in international law, the ability to locate cases, statutes, and journal articles with high relevance to particular issues came into being with the advent of Lexis-Nexis and, shortly thereafter, Westlaw. (3) However, to this day these particular services do not provide graphics within texts (other than those supplied by editorial enhancements or PDF versions of a document). Yet the Internet provides a rich visual experience for data of increasing complexity in all disciplines that can be called forth on many devices by voice commands. (4)

Three projects illustrating visualization of data in international law were presented as examples of two kinds of uses for graphical interface: interactive (as in teaching or collaborative law practice), and persuasive (as in the fields of global health and legal system reform).

MAPPING THE LAW: BUILDING AND USING VISUAL MIND MAPS FOR INTERNATIONAL LAW--SUMMARY OF JEFFREY B. RITTER'S REMARKS

In transnational and cross-jurisdictional settings, legal and regulatory regimes become ever more complex. Elements of those structures may best be shown, jurisdiction by jurisdiction, in a mind map. Accompanying slides will show the structure of this transnational knowledge in images. The end result is a map of multicultural and multi-system compliance efforts. Every day, each of us faces the task of getting from here to there. "There" can be the grocery store, a town you are traveling to, or a website with valued information. In the context of international compliance and complex transactions, cross-border rule changes are hard to navigate, as the map to even simple destinations keep changing.

But when considering international law, we explore and research the rules both here and there for a very important reason. When we cross over the borders that are used to govern our affairs, the rules change. To find our way, we want to know the rules and to communicate them. Mapping them may help.

Mind maps are visual structures that use space, color, shapes, and context. They enable knowledge to be acquired, retained, recalled, and transferred with proven improved effectiveness in making information more accessible. Approximately 60% of the population are visual learners. (5) See Figure 1 for a sample of a map...

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