Responding to the call for tender entitled Assistance funding for market-oriented research and development activities under the Central Hungary Operational Programme, we submitted an application in 2009 for developing the Emerald regulation modelling and management framework. Our application was granted 88,621,340 Hungarian Forints by Hungarian Economic Development Centre, on behalf of the National Development Agency. The source of finance for KMOP-2009-1.1.1 is the European Regional Development Fund.


Regulations affect every aspect of our lives. They have major impacts on functioning of our society, from education through health to labour. They are not just enforced by local, but international authorities as well which have to be considered in the local environment too. Citizens and businesses are expected to know and follow the laws that influence their daily life and their operations. Despite there are attempts to increase harmonization and decrease local regulations - that tries to reduce burden on indivuduals and businesses -, the legal environment is extremely complex.

The Emerald system aims to support the orientation of law enforcer and legislative persons in the complex regulational environment with innovative web-based IT tools. In the Emerald approach this support means that regulational sources written in usual natural language and their formulation which can be processed by IT tools make up a union by means of links between them. This linkage system not only enables to refer to concept explanations and expert commentaries, but supports more exact and thorough interpretation as well as analysis of regulation, by legal enforcers and legislators. Moreover it enables to create expert advisor applications by interpreting regulation with IT tools. The advantage of expert applications contrary to traditional IT tools is that they ask the user only those data that are indispensable to decide the regulational question, furthermore they can exactly explain the answer (result explanation).

The various services offered by Emerald:

  • Expert dialogue service: The expert applications built on regulations enable us in certain cases to substitute human expert knowledge with artificial intelligence tools. Using semantic web technologies (W3C OWL and SWRL) the normative rules contained by regulation can be represented with IT tools, which can answer those typical questions such as: Can I register under the Act on Simplified Entrepreneurial Taxation?, How much Simplified Entrepreneurial Tax should I pay?, etc. In each step of the dialogue we can ask the application why the given question was put, and it displays the statement which needs answering the question (question-explanation).
  • Glossary service: The application of concept vocabularies (thesauri, concept classifications, ontologies) based on semantic web international standards (W3C RDF and SKOS) makes possible to build, maintain and publish complex concept registers both on Internet and intranets. It can ensure explanation of concepts applied in regulations, as well as interpretation and visualisation of concept relations (eg. broader/narrower concept). The applied IT knowledge representation (W3C OWL) makes possible to check the consistency and completeness of concepts. The concept vocabularies make possible not only to create common usage of concepts and to connect vocabularies of different organisations (and so to use common concepts), but can support to integrate structured/non-structured data and databases from different sources as well as other systems (eg. DMS, CMS, Wiki).
  • Annotation service: The annotation possibility of regulations ensures that they can be extended by interpretational notes. At the same time it also ensures that the concepts found in the documents can be linked to the elements of the vocabulary so as to increase the interpretability of lregulations and to highlight concepts’ occurences in the text. This latter service can be useful eg. in realisation of law harmonisation efforts. Furthermore there is also a possibility in the web-based expert applications to use regulation source references to back up statements in both questions and answers, that helps further interpretation of regulation texts.
  • Regulation Repository service: Regulations have uniform, standard structure (CEN MetaLex XML) and metadata (eg. efficacy, issuer). The uniform structure and metadata attributes ensures easy processing with IT tools (eg. versioning, corpus and link analysis, information retrieval) and uniform apperiance. The applied XML structure makes possible to connect things described with IT tools (expert applications, concept vocabularies) to representation written in usual natural language, and to interpret them together.


Emerald is built on open source technologies and semantic web standards of the W3C international organisation. Due to its modular structure the built-in functionality can be easily extended and integrated with external systems. Besides these features Emerald offers integrated development tools (IDE) to create services fulfilling custom demands.

Emerald webpage (in Hungarian)

Emerald Flyer download (in English, PDF)


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