eGovernment at W3C
findings so far
This document is here for historical reasons. It describes ideas coming from discussions that took place at
the eGovernment Workshops organized in 2007. It also reflects the exchanges that happened
between the author and other staff and relevant stakeholders since January
2007 until March 2008. W3C has started an eGovernment Activity and Interest Group. Work is being conducted there.
Please, see the eGovernment home page for more
After two workshops, meetings and discussions with many stakeholders,
there are several key lessons learned that could serve as the basis for
future work at W3C. Although many of those are difficult to categorize in
just one category and there is some overlap, we would like to highlight four
areas of interest.
Openness and Transparency
- The development of standards-based interoperable frameworks improve
efficiencies and increase the value of IT investments
- Adherence to standards makes it easier for the content providers
to serve browser-independent content. Web Accessibility is a good and
- Government leadership is important in getting the technology
vendors and the content providers to do the right thing for all
- Get information on the Web in any open, public format at all.
Once information is on the Web, we can work on semantically
enabling it, but if it is not up at all nothing can be done.
Interoperability and Data Integration
- Basic Interoperability
- What about Web pages that can only be accessed using a given
browser? This is still a problem.
- New technologies, old problems, e.g.:
- Multi-channel delivery.
- Many devices, browsers (difficult to build an interoperable solution), e.g. see the Mobile Web Initiative
- Semantic Interoperability
- Lots of initiatives and interoperability frameworks built or in
- Usually work only in a given context (national, regional...),
hard to interoperate between them yet.
- Producing XML does not mean to be interoperable and sometimes the
cost of transformation is huge.
- Interoperability is not (only) a technical issue.
- Use Semantic Web technologies
- allows mixing data from very different sources.
- no need to throw away your existing data or systems, just build
- share, publish, use standards (RDF, OWL, SPARQL...).
- use IDs (URIs).
- "publishing data with (un)expected re-use in mind" (data
- Linked Data is the goal: All public sector information
published by governments should be presented on the Web using
standard structure data and semantic web formats so that users and
third-party service providers can explore, discover and exploit
links amongst this data and links between PSI and other information
on the Web.
- Shift the risk and share the rewards: giving independent service
creators open data leverages their energy.
Privacy, Security, Trust
- Creating a Trust Context for Citizens
- Opacity vs. Transparency
- use the data for the purpose it was collected.
- eg: eID projects to achieve pan-european services.
- Digital Identity (manly eIDs).
- Web Security Context to build trust.
- Need to increase citizens usage of government services.
Bridging the Digital Divide
- New issues arise
- eg: Angola or Malaysia, where +80% connectivity is
concentrated around the capital city.
- eg: Brazil, where the Amazon is 10Km wide in some areas.
- What services to prioritize?
- Need to build local capacities.
- Basic training about all things "eGovernment and the Web",
starting from the simplest ones.
- Mobile Web in Developing Countries
- Mobile devices are often the only platform available to deliver
content to under-privileged populations and rural communities.
- Mobile phones as enablers of government services especially in
- The Mobile Web is the most promising platform for low-cost large
scale development, deployment and adoption of ICTs.
- Work conducted in the eGovernment and Mobile fields at W3C shows
that synergies come up often, especially when talking about Developing
Countries so we also expect to coordinate with possible future
MWI efforts in this