citation

Legal citation extractor. Standalone library, and optional HTTP API.

npm install citation
1 downloads in the last day
39 downloads in the last week
73 downloads in the last month

Citation

A fast, stand-alone legal citation extractor.

Currently supports:

  • US Code
  • US Public and Private Laws (slip laws)
  • US Statutes at Large
  • DC Code
  • DC Register

Install

Install Node.js and NPM, then install Citation globally (may require sudo):

npm install -g citation

Or install it locally to a node_modules directory with npm install citation.

Use

Citation can handle blocks of text, large or small, through the command line, HTTP, or directly in JavaScript.

Via the command line:

cite "pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1)(E) and"

Calling from JavaScript directly:

Citation.find("pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1)(E) and")

Or through the included HTTP API:

cite-server
curl "http://localhost:3000/citation/find?text=pursuant+to+5+U.S.C.+552%28a%29%281%29%28E%29+and"

All of which yield:

[{
  "match": "5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1)(E)",
  "type": "usc",
  "index": "0",
  "usc": {
    "title": "5",
    "section": "552",
    "subsections": ["a", "1", "E"],
    "id": "usc/5/552/a/1/E",
    "section_id": "usc/5/552"
  }
}]

(The HTTP API actually returns a JavaScript object with a key of results whose value is the above array.)

Excerpts

Passing an excerpt option will include an excerpt in the response, with up to that number of characters on either side of each detected citation.

Citation.find("that term in section 5362(5) of title 31, United States Code.", {excerpt: 10})

Yields:

[{
  "match": "section 5362(5) of title 31",
  "excerpt": "t term in section 5362(5) of title 31, United S",
  ...
}]

Command line

The shell command can accept a string to parse as an argument, through STDIN, or from a file. It can output results to STDOUT, or to a file.

cite "section 5362(5) of title 31"

echo "section 5362(5) of title 31" | cite

cite --input=in-file.txt --output=out-file.json

Options

  • --input: Filename to read text from
  • --output: Filename to output text to
  • --pretty: Prettify (indent) output
  • --types: Limit citation types to a comma-separated list (e.g. "usc,law")

HTTP API

Start the API on a given port (defaults to 3000):

cite-server [port]

GET or POST to /citation/find with a text parameter:

curl http://localhost:3000/citation/find?text=5+U.S.C.+552%28a%29%281%29%28E%29

curl -XPOST "http://localhost:3000/citation/find" -d "text=5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1)(E)"

Will return the results of running Citation.find() on the block of text, under a results key:

{
  "results": [
    {
      "match": "5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1)(E)",
      "type": "usc",
      "index": "0",
      "usc": {
        "title": "5",
        "section": "552",
        "subsections": ["a", "1", "E"],
        "id": "usc/5/552/a/1/E",
        "section_id": "usc/5/552"
      }
    }
  ]
}

Options

  • text: required, text to extract citations from.
  • callback: a function name to use as a JSONP callback.
  • pretty: prettify (indent) output.
  • options[excerpt]: include excerpts with up to this many characters around it.
  • options[types]: limit citation types to a comma-separated list (e.g. "usc,law")

Context-aware citation detection

In the JavaScript interface, you can pass optional context, an object with arbitrary key/value pairs, that can tell the citator what you already know about the source text, and potentially allow more permissive detection.

For example, most DC legal documents use the prefix "D.C. Official Code" before they cite the DC Code. But cross-references inside the DC Code to other parts of the DC Code do not include this prefix. If you know that your source text is the DC Code, you can detect cross-references by providing a source value of "dc_code":

Citation.find("required under § 3-101.01(13)(e), the Commission shall perform the", {
  context: {
    dc_code: {source: "dc_code"}
  }
})

Yields:

[
  {
    "type": "dc_code",
    "match": "§ 3-101.01(13)(e)",
    "index": 15,

    "dc_code": {
      "id": "dc-code/3/101.01/13/e",
      "section_id": "dc-code/3/101.01",
      "title": "3",
      "section": "101.01",
      "subsections": ["13", "e"]
    }
  }
]

About

Originally written by Eric Mill, at the Sunlight Foundation.

npm loves you