Visualizing the threads of legal articles from a 111-years old Constitution

Florian Evéquoz
Project status: 

Between 2019 and 2023, the canton of Valais will be rewriting its constitution, which dates back to 1907. As a fundamental text defining the general principles of the State, the Constitution represents the source of all the cantonal laws promulgated between 1907 and 2018. From a data perspective, the links between constitutional articles and laws thus represent a network of nodes and links.

The aim of this MSc work is to design an application supported by data visualization that allows the exploration of this network of laws (including data available from parliamentary debates prior the finalisation of legal articles)  through the prism of the 1907 Constitution and from different perspectives, eg. thematic, temporal, etc. 

In terms of research, this work offers opportunities to contribute to the field of visualization of networks of citations, and visualization of temporal changes in complex networks. Following tasks are envisioned:

  1. State of the art: a list of visual methods and authors, especially focused on citation networks and changes in networks
  2. A visualization taxonomy: a diagram that describes the features that these visual methods have in common and their differences.
  3. Identification of a relevant research question, and setup of research methodology
  4. Implementation and integration of relevant visual methods
  5. Evaluation to comprehend strength and weakness of each method.

The project is done in collaboration with the Cantonal Archives of the Canton of Valais.