Status: Approved 9 October 2009

eGovernment Interest Group Charter

The mission of the eGovernment Interest Group, part of the eGovernment Activity, is to document, advocate, coordinate and communicate best practices, solutions and approaches to improve the interface between citizens and government through effective standards-based use of the Web.

Information about joining the Interest Group is available on the group's participation page and on the group's home page.

End date 31 October 2010
Confidentiality Proceedings are public
Initial Chairs Kevin Novak (American Institute of Architects)
John Sheridan (The [UK] National Archives)
Jose M. Alonso (CTIC Foundation)
Initial Team Contacts (FTE %: 20) Sandro Hawke (W3C)
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: every two weeks
Face-to-face: up to two per year


The eGovernment Interest Group (eGov IG), in its second phase, will focus on two major topic areas: Open Government Data (OGD), and Education and Outreach.

Open Government Data (OGD)
The eGov IG is encouraged by the increase in electronic government initiatives, including Data.gov and Recovery.gov in the United States, and several initiatives in Europe building on the momentum of the European Directive on the Re-use of Public Sector Information. Publishing data using open standards can help people efficiently share, combine, and expose government data. Online availability of government data increases accountability, contributes valuable information about the world, and enables governments and countries to function more efficiently. The eGov IG will serve as the W3C conduit to document, validate and communicate standards and best practices that relate to the presentation, availability and interoperability of open government data and data systems. The IG will identify various scenarios in which government data is generated and/or compiled, and will develop and recommend models for OGD management. The eGov IG will work with governments, end users, and other interested parties to develop best practices and approaches to successfully publish government data in open formats.
Education and Outreach
More government information and services are delivered via the Web every day, and adherence to Web standards can simplify this delivery. For example, the application of Web standards can help governments ensure their websites are accessible and usable. In addition, conformance to Web standards supports interoperability of data sets via Web-based interfaces and applications. Reaching out to governments, end users, and other interested parties to educate them about the best practices and technical standards that can help them successfully implement all stages of electronic government. Different governments have varying levels of sophistication around Web and technology standards and adoption. Recognizing this, the eGov IG will bridge the gap between technologists and governments to communicate, in a non-technical way, the business value of implementing these technical standards and solutions. The eGov IG will provide Web standards education that is specific to the needs of eGov stakeholders.

Although these are the focus areas, the Interest Group may identify other topics important to participants and to the success of the IG. To the extent that doing so does not detract from work on the focus areas, IG participants may ask the Chair to create task forces for preliminary study of other topics. In this way, documentation of use cases and stories may help inform future eGovernment work at W3C.

Strategies and Goals

The eGov IG will facilitate, educate, communicate and evangelize the importance of technological solutions to achieve the promise of electronic government. The eGov IG will encourage practitioners to turn to W3C as an authoritative source for information about open web standards. This charter does not include milestones; please refer to the Interest Group home page for milestone expectations.

Foster good practices for publishing government data

The IG will gather and publish success stories that highlight solutions and good practices for publishing government data.


  1. Collaborate with W3C Groups or other partners to gather and share validated examples and success stories that encourage open government, open government data, or data catalog utilities
  2. Gather and share references, papers, links, and related materials

Build community

The IG will continue to build relationships with government agencies and other key stakeholders, to educate eGov practitioners and foster collaboration around open Web standards.


  1. Create an eGov-focused W3C website, to communicate W3C best practices to a broader audience
  2. Publish regular email updates to subscription email list
  3. Consult with governments or groups interested in improving online government services
  4. Provide a forum for those with specific requirements (e.g., due to national boundaries or a particular vertical interest) to meet and build consensus around good practice
  5. Seek out and participate in partnerships, conferences, and other opportunities to further the work of the W3C and eGov IG
  6. Facilitate public workshops and meetings to explore new and emerging approaches

Publicize results

The IG will publish its findings to illustrate how open web standards and technological solutions can help us achieve the promise of electronic government services. The eGov IG recognizes that open government issues are important to all citizens, even those who may not have broad technical expertise. To ensure that the eGov IG work is communicated clearly to the widest possible audience, an Editorial Task Force will be responsible for ensuring that Group Notes and other publications are clearly written.


  1. Document and disseminate findings and approaches in issue briefs or other appropriate venues
  2. Working with the W3C Communications Team, reach out to the press and public on a regular basis and provide briefings and access to experts
  3. Actively participate in related eGov-related initiatives (such us US Open Government Initiative or the UK Power of Information Task Force)
  4. Blog about the work and progress of the IG (Chairs)
  5. Speak at conferences, meetings, events, or symposia


The IG has identified a number of potential collaborators (listed below). The group will expand this list on its public site as work progresses and the community grows.

W3C Groups

Mobile Web For Development Interest Group (MW4D)
Deploying eGovernment services to citizens of developing countries is a major challenge due to the lack of infrastructure and computers. The current penetration rate of mobile phones makes them the most promising option for citizen communication with government. Therefore, close relationships between the eGovernment IG and the MW4D IG are essential.
Open Web Education Alliance Incubator Group
The mission of the Open Web Education Alliance Incubator Group (OWEA XG) is to help enhance and standardize the architecture of the World Wide Web by facilitating the highest quality standards and best practice based education for future generations of Web professionals.
Policy Languages Interest Group (PLING)
Improving data annotation (for example, by means of a policy language) in government systems will improve information about the data collected by governments and will improve transparency. PLING is a forum for W3C Members and the public to discuss interoperability issues – along with related requirements and needs – that arise when using a variety of policy languages. Therefore coordination among both groups is needed.
Security Activity
eGovernment services are known to lead to specific security requirements. Communication about specific government requirements between W3C groups working on security issues and government entities will benefit both communities.
Semantic Web Activity
Facilities to put machine-understandable data on the Web are quickly becoming a high priority. Numerous organizations, individuals and communities including eGovernment advocates have begun to look into the Semantic Web as the next step towards interoperability and data integration.
Social Web Incubator Group
The mission of the Social Web Incubator Group is to understand the systems and technologies that permit the description and identification of people, groups, organizations, and user-generated content in extensible and privacy-respecting ways. This is highly relevant for citizen interaction.
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
WAI work has codified Best Practices and Guidelines to achieve universal access to the Web that have been broadly adopted by governments throughout the world. WAI could leverage the eGovernment IG activities and the eGov IG can learn from and build on the success of WAI to achieve global acceptance.
Web Services Activity
Web services provide a standard means of interoperating between different software applications, running on a variety of platforms and are characterized by their interoperability and extensibility, as well as their use of XML for machine-processable descriptions. They can be combined in a loosely coupled way to achieve complex operations. Technologies developed by the Web Services Activity are usually found in the core of the eGovernment architectures and frameworks.

External Groups

To improve collective outreach and support government data integration and sharing, the eGovernment Interest Group should establish liaisons with international groups and standards bodies, including but not limited to:

CEN has established eGovernment related activities in the past such as the eGovernment Focus Group and the Workshop on Discovery of and Access to eGovernment Resources (WS/eGov-Share). The eGov IG reviewed and commented on the WS/eGov-Share work. A liaison will be considered if other eGovernment initiatives start at CEN.
European Commission
IDABC Unit; issues recommendations, develops solutions and provides services that enable national and European administrations to communicate electronically while offering modern public services to businesses and citizens in Europe.
Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS)
The OASIS eGovernment Member Section (eGov MS) serves as a focal point for discussions of governmental and public administration requirements for e-business standardization.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
The OECD E-Government Project explores how governments can best exploit information and communication technologies (ICTs) to embed good governance principles and achieve public policy goals.
Organization of American States (OAS)
The OAS objective is to support, facilitate and promote the integral development of the Latin American and Caribbean countries.
eGovernment Unit; implements eGovernment policy, good practice exchange and innovation in Europe.
U.S. Global Architecture & Information Network Initiative (GAIN)
The Global Architecture & Information Network (GAIN) is an initiative established by a group of individuals to enable more effective government, business opportunities, transparent government and job creation by building on and extending the U.S. leadership success in the internet combined with open source software and industry standards.
U.S. Semantic Community
A community established by a group of individuals for the purpose of achieving semantic interoperability and semantic data integration focused on the government sector. Its main purpose is to support its members in their efforts to make the Semantic Web operational in their agencies.
The World Bank
eDevelopment Thematic Group; promotes the efficient use of ICT in development and World Bank operations by facilitating knowledge sharing on good practices in eDevelopment and eGovernment, and an ongoing dialogue amongst a large and diverse community of practitioners.
International Council for Information Technology in Government Administration (ICA)
ICA promotes the information exchange of knowledge, ideas and experiences between central government IT authorities on all aspects of the initiation, development and implementation of computer-based systems in and by government.


Participation in the eGovernment Interest Group is open to the public. Any person interested in this topic is welcome to join. Individuals who wish to participate as Invited Experts (i.e., they do not represent a W3C Member) should refer to the policy for approval of Invited Experts. Invited Experts in this group are not granted access to Member-only information.

There are no minimum requirements for participation in the eGovernment Interest Group. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend the bi-weekly teleconferences and take advantage of frequent opportunities to review and comment on deliverables from other groups.

Consistent with W3C Process requirements on Task Forces, the Chairs may form task forces to facilitate management of deliverables. Each task force will have a public statement of work (including objectives, communication, participation, and leadership). Task forces may hold meetings and conduct business consistent with the W3C Process. All task force deliverables are subject to IG approval.


The eGov IG will use email discussion, scheduled IRC chats and other tools to enable broad collaboration and communication within the Group, to address the most common barriers to effective electronic government.

This group primarily conducts its work on the public mailing list public-egov-ig@w3.org [archives].

Information about the group (deliverables, participants, face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, etc.) is available from the eGovernment Interest Group home page.

Decision Policy

As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will primarily make decisions through consensus. On occasion, when the group cannot come to consensus, after due consideration of different opinions the Chairs should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) as well as any objections, and move on.

Patent Disclosures

The eGovernment Interest Group provides an opportunity for interested parties to share perspectives on the topics addressed by this charter. W3C reminds Interest Group participants of their obligation to comply with patent disclosure obligations as set out in Section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy.While the Interest Group does not produce Recommendation-track documents, patent disclosure obligations do apply when Interest Group participants review Recommendation-track specifications from Working Groups.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

The original, June 2008 charter for the W3C eGovernment Interest Group recognized that governments the world over need assistance and guidance in the use of technology and the Web to implement the full promise of electronic government.

The work in the first year of the Interest Group focused on areas of Web Standards Usage, Transparency and Participation, and Seamless Data Integration. This work was documented in a comprehensive issues paper titled titled Improving Access to Government through Better Use of the Web on May 12, 2009. The group is now actively communicating with the eGovernment community about the results of its first year of work, and its goals for its second year of work.

This charter for the eGovernment Interest Group has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

Authored by: W3C eGovernment Interest Group; W3C eGovernment Staff Contact: Sandro Hawke (W3C), José M. Alonso (W3C/CTIC)

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