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The EXELIXIS: Semantically‐enriched Governmental Data Components and XML Schemas Management

Research Areas

eGovernment, Semantic Interoperability, XML Schemas Management

 

Contact

Today, articulating semantic interoperability in e-Government remains in question as long as the international standardization efforts do not reach a consensus on how to semantically annotate and exchange data formally depicted in ontologies, but merely focus on the syntactic aspects by publishing sets of XML Schemas.

 

As one-stop governmental services at national and cross-county level become an imperative (i.e. due to EU Services Directive 2006/123/EC, i2010 and national strategies), the need for standardized data definitions, codification of existing unstructured information and a framework for semantically-enriched governmental data management and evolution in a unified way emerges.

 

In this context, the main objective of the EXELIXIS Prototype is to enable mutual understanding and instant exchange of information between governmental entities, which have never collaborated directly before, through providing policies, practices and standards on electronic document modelling and rule formalization and by exploiting state-of-the-art data and rules management methodologies. Semantic interoperability is viewed under the prism of standardized components whose complete lifecycle, i.e. creation, storage, reusability in aggregate data models, harmonization (from specific country to generic), transformation in various syntax-dependent formats, evolution and disposal, is managed with the help of typically defined rules. Based on the principles of the Model-Driven Architecture, it promotes syntax-independent data and rules models, but also embraces syntax-dependent models in XSD, SBVR and JSON. Light-weight semantic annotations of data models with ontologies, theusauri and codelists, as well as validation algorithms that check certain fields, are incorporated in the data models.

 

In this end, the objectives of this demonstrator are:

  • To model, link and standardize data components (CCs, BIEs) and their supplementary information (QDTs, UDTs, CLs) at a syntax-independent level
  • To design XML Schemas for the standardized data components
  • To semantically search for existing data components in the greek and english language
  • To control integrity and validate consistency of standardized components with the help of business rules
  • To graphically depict the relationships between the components

 

 

Business Case

In the area of e-Government, semantic interoperability has to phase a multi-faceted problem: the number of existing documents that take part in the service provision from administrations towards citizens and businesses is usually at the level of several hundred, the owners of those documents may be different organizations (ministries, prefectures and municipalities, public sector organizations) and there is a lack of common fields standardization and adherence to common definitions, due to the still non-electronic nature of many public sector services. Moreover, when services are being made electronic, usually the existing, diverse documents and forms are just transferred to an electronic format, resulting into non-interoperable - hence electronic - artefacts, while when an electronically exchanged document is somehow re-engineered, its version changes without any consideration on how the changes can be propagated in a concise way.

 

Furthermore, current National Interoperability Frameworks (NIF's) have issued semantic interoperability assets (i.e. XML Schemas, Ontologies, Code Lists) or guidelines for their design as a first step towards semantic interoperability. However, as such Schema Libraries are populated with more and more XML Schemas, the need for designing a Semantically-enriched Governmental Data Management and Evolution Registry that will incorporate advanced modelling, validating and evolution capabilities comes into the foreground and will be addressed by the EXELIXIS Prototype.

 

Interoperability features

From the various types of interoperability, the semantic aspect is a particularly vexing problem that has arisen due to a disagreement about the meaning, interpretation, or intended use of the same or related data. Following the trend that the cornerstone of government information exchanges is a common understanding of semantics at a syntax-independent level, the EXELIXIS Prototype constitutes a demonstrator in the area of semantic interoperability. It is an easily deployable toolkit based on state-of-the art standards and open source tools. In this respect, its functionality is mainly available in a Web interface, yet its source code can be also provided upon request for educational or research (non-commercial) purposes.

 



Language

English


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