European Court of Human Rights and Web 2.0 Start-up SkyDox Collaborate to Enhance Microsoft SharePoint & Microsoft FAST Document Search and Sharing Platform

Written by Alison Johnston

  • Public to benefit from intuitive search tools and improved search relevance when researching European Court rulings on the European Court of Human Rights website
  • New platform will improve document distribution and delivery of existing library to any Web-enabled device and across multiple media channels

LONDON--SkyDox, a leading provider of cloud-enabled collaboration and productivity tools for cross-functional and distributed teams, today announced that it has been selected by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to develop a new search engine platform for all ECHR legal ruling documentation hosted on its public-facing website. The new system will allow more than 4.6 million visitors a year to search and retrieve an ever-expanding library of more than 90,000 ECHR judgment-related documents in a more efficient and intuitive manner.

“This project will greatly enhance the ECHR's capacity to distribute its case-law to as wide an audience as possible as well as allowing us to leverage our investment in Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft FAST”

The new platform, built on the organization's HUDOC document database, will combine the search capabilities of Microsoft FAST with new and innovative SkyDox Web 2.0 technologies to create a unique, real-time search experience for users accessing legal ruling documents. SkyDox will work closely with the ECHR and Microsoft in improving granular search functionality of the ECHR document library to deliver an intuitive, easy-to-use interface hosted on Microsoft SharePoint for Internet sites. Initially, case judgments, and later, press releases and other documents, will be available through the platform.

In addition to delivering the most relevant documents based on specific search criteria, the platform has also been designed to accommodate large volumes of traffic. Following a major ruling, it is typical for the ECHR's site to receive up to 5,000 simultaneous visitors including: legal professionals, the general public, and global news organizations -- such as the British Broadcasting Corporation, CNN, Deutsche Welle, EuroNews, FOX, SKYNews and TF1; and local and international print media such as El País, Financial Times, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Le Journal de Montréal and Wall Street Journal -- and local legal and government institutions throughout the 47 Council of Europe member States.

The new platform will be a replacement for an existing search engine used to distribute final judgments published by the ECHR. The ECHR is required under the Convention (Article 44 § 3) to make these judgments public. These rulings affect more than 800 million inhabitants in 47 member states, making timely distribution in document searching, access, and delivery a key aspect of the project.

“This project will greatly enhance the ECHR's capacity to distribute its case-law to as wide an audience as possible as well as allowing us to leverage our investment in Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft FAST,” says John Hunter, the ECHR's Head of IT. “The new platform being developed by SkyDox will ensure that the public can search for and access documents within seconds of being published. It will also provide a set of new features, such as search refiners that will allow users to find the information they need more effectively. This will help transform our document delivery process and enhance overall usability.”

“We will be leveraging and extending core SkyDox functionality for the ECHR, working closely with their in-house team to create an extremely effective search platform accessible to all who depend upon it,” says Barrie Hadfield, SkyDox CTO. “It's a wonderful opportunity to combine the most current technologies to develop a highly intelligent search and distribution platform that is fast and simple to use.”

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