Activity Proposal: eGovernment Activity (March 2011)

This Activity Proposal is public.

This Activity Proposal restarts and expands the eGovernment Activity. As before, this Activity includes the eGovernment Interest Group, which functions as a wide bridge between W3C and people involved with governments around the world. This time the Activity also include a Working Group chartered to document best practices and establish standards needed for successful deployment of Linked Data by governments.

This activity proposal extends the eGovernment Activity for two years until 31 May 2013. At that point, if it provides ongoing value, it may be renewed again.

The current climate is extremely favorable to this work. When W3C began to move into this space, with our 2007 workshop Toward More Transparent Government, "transparency" (via web technology) and "open government" and "government data" were fringe terms; now they have moved into the mainstream. As of this writing, CTIC, the W3C office in Spain, has identified 86 different government data catalog sites, around the world. While this is very encouraging, a great deal of work remains in making good on the promises of Web technology to materially help citizens around the world. This activity will take next steps toward that goal.

The activity contains two groups:

eGovernment Interest Group (IG):

See proposed charter, along with 2009 charter and 2008 charter. This group provides an introduction to W3C culture and products for people around the world who are focused on making governments work better through use of technology. In the past, the IG has produced documents which have been widely cited, and has organized public meetings and presentations. Examples include:

Although the group has recently been less active, we still see great value in bridging between W3C and the government communities around the world. The group's charter is flexible, allowing it to run as a simple mailing list, but encouraging it to hold regular informative meetings and to create task forces when interest is sparked around a particular topic.

Government Linked Data (GLD) Working Group (WG):

See proposed charter. This group is being formed to address needs around the world in deploying Linked Data technologies for government data, especially the current wave of open government data. Practitioners have expressed a great desire for documented guidance and best practices, written narrowly for the government community; the WG will address this, as detailed in the charter.

In addition, current deployment efforts face a lack of stable, standard ontologies. For example, the UK government found the best available vocabulary for personal data was one controlled by a single individual, rather than a stable and accountable institution. In parallel, other organizations such as the Semantic Interoperability Centre for Europe (SEMIC.EU) are creating abstract vocabularies that incorporate various practitioners' requirements for particular data sets and services. The group is chartered to address this area both by advising in ontology selection and by developing standard ontologies, if necessary.

This activity, led by Sandro Hawke (sandro@w3.org), is part of the Technology and Society domain, led by Thomas Roessler (tlr@w3.org). The anticipated staff allocation may be seen by W3C Members in the staff effort table.

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