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eGovernment Interest Group Charter - Year 2

status: final draft; see final version

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 access to government through effective standards-based use of the Web.

Recognizing that different governments have varying levels of sophistication around web and technology standards and adoption, the Interest Group will focus on two major topic areas in its second phase: Open Government Data (OGD), and Education and Outreach.

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

End date 30 September 2011

Proceedings are public

Initial Chairs Kevin Novak (American Institute of Architects)
John Sheridan (The [UK] National Archives)
Initial Team Contacts
(FTE %: 40)
José M. Alonso (W3C/CTIC)
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: Every two weeks
Chairs Teleconferences: Every two weeks
Face-to-face: up to 2 per year


The eGovernment Interest Group (eGov IG) is a forum to support researchers, developers, managers, solution providers and governments at all levels (local, state, national, and multi-national) to understand the complexities of electronic government, share best practices, and implement effective solutions. The IG is a bridge between policy and technology, acting as a connector, communicator, creator and collaborator. We will partner with related organizations and W3C groups to ensure our work is efficient and complete.

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

Open Government Data: Publishing data using open standards can help people efficiently share, combine, and expose government data, and will improve government's transparency and accountability by providing useful information to citizens. 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: 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. 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.

Activity Plan and Tactics

The eGov Interest Group 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.

In this phase, the eGov IG will document and publish issues and best practices briefing papers (which have the potential to become Group Notes) to educate and communicate value to eGovernment practitioners.

We will champion the work of the group and evangelize the importance of open Web standards to help developed and developing countries achieve the promise of electronic government. Additionally (depending on funding and partnership opportunities), we may oversee the development, testing, validation, documentation and communication of prototype applications that represent the eGov IG's findings, and the community's needs.

Furthermore, the eGov IG will provide a venue for partner groups to organize and facilitate the goals and work of the Interest Group. Consistent with W3C Process requirements on Task Forces, the eGov IG may form task forces composed of eGov IG participants, or collaborate with other W3C task forces, to carry out assignments within the chartered scope of eGov IG. Any such task force must have a work statement (including objectives, communication, participation, and leadership) that has been announced on the eGov IG mailing list, approved by the eGov IG, and is available from the eGov IG home page. eGov IG task forces should produce requirements documents that outline the scope and expectations for work. Task forces may set up separate teleconferences and hold face-to-face meetings per the W3C process and with the approval of the eGov IG.

Strategies and Goals

The eGov IG will facilitate, educate, communicate and evangelize the importance of technological solutions to achieve the promise of electronic government, and champion for the W3C to become the authoritative source for information about open web standards.

Strategy 1: Build community.
The IG will build relationships with government agencies and other key stakeholders, to educate eGov practitioners and foster collaboration around open Web standards.


  1. Continue to lead, facilitate and engage the eGov community
  2. Create an eGov-focused W3C website, to communicate W3C best practices to a broader audience
  3. Publish regular email updates to subscription email list
  4. Consult with governments or groups interested in improving online government services
  5. Encourage the formation of task forces focused on Open Government Data and related topics, where they further the eGov IG mission
  6. Seek out and participate in partnerships, conferences, and other opportunities to further the work of the W3C and eGov IG

Strategy 2: Foster good practices.
The IG will gather and publish success stories that highlight solutions and good practices for opening and 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

Strategy 3: 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.


  1. Document and disseminate findings and approaches in issue briefs or other appropriate venues
  2. 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 iniatives (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

Major Focus Areas

To achieve its long term goal of improving citizen access to government information and services through effective use of the Web, the eGov IG will focus on the two major areas: Open Government Data, 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 of the European Commission. 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.

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. The eGov IG will provide Web standards education that is specific to the needs of eGov stakeholders.

These two focus areas, while high priority, may not be the only areas of work. The IG will consider adopting additional areas of focus if specific issues of interest arise that are within the scope of this charter. To be considered, suggestions for new focus areas must include clear goals and strategies. A Task Force (TF) would be formed for each focus area. The eGov IG Chairs will monitor, guide, and facilitate the work of the TFs. Chairs will seek to engage the entire IG membership to collaborate in meeting the goals of the charter, and exploring the challenges posed in the original Group Note, Improving Access to Government through Better Use of the Web.

The eGov IG recognizes that open government issues are important to all citizens, even those who may not have broad technical expertise. To assure that the eGov IG work is communicated clearly to the widest possible audience, the IG has formed an Editorial TF, responsible for ensuring that Group Notes and other publications are clearly written.

Success Criteria

The eGovernment Interest Group provides global leadership and guidance in using the Web to facilitate more open, transparent and accessible government structures.

To be considered successful in this endeavor, the eGov IG will measure its completion of the following:

  1. Form Task Forces to target the work of the group around such topics as OGD, government Web standards, or Plain Language
  2. Establish a repeatable format to seamlessly establish and maintain additional TFs as needed
  3. Publish issue briefs that facilitate global consensus on OGD and related practices
  4. Research and gather validated examples of good practices, and publish issue briefs presenting solutions
  5. Host bi-weekly meetings of thought leaders, including W3C members and invited experts
  6. Increase discussion and build consensus on the group mailing list
  7. Create a schedule and process for press outreach
  8. Actively participate in related eGov activities (such us US Open Government Initiative, UK Power of Information Task Force, etc.)


The eGov IG facilitates discussions that may produce W3C process deliverables. The IG seek to build community and consensus around the need for open government data and processes that are delivered via a standards-compliant Web. In this Phase 2, deliverables will include the development and publication of a series of issue briefs that may become Interest Group Notes. The eGov IG will issue briefs, presentation templates and supporting documentation to communicate emerging best practice in open Web standards development and OGD platforms. The eGov IG will also share example-based solutions to the challenges identified in the previously published Group Note, Improving Access to Government through Better Use of the Web. The IG may also facilitate public workshops and meetings to explore new and emerging approaches.


  • September 2009: Group formation - First teleconference
  • October 2009 - September 2011: Publish Issue Briefs or Group Notes on regular basis
  • September 2011: eGovernment IG ends


Building communities and consensus is a large part of the eGov IG's mission. To that end, the eGov IG will collaborate and share information with other W3C groups and with external stakeholder organizations. The IG success will depend on developing communication channels and regular interaction with such groups. The IG has identified these potential collaborators (listed below) and will expand this list as our 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 potential future 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
TheThe 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 achive 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 activites 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.

The eGov IG will actively seek contacts with other groups and similar organizations worldwide and establish relationships to support the successful progress of its work.


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.


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 eGovernment Interest Group fills a void in the Web and technology standards community by focusing on the unique and diverse issues faced by governments throughout the developed and developing world. These include enabling electronic service & information delivery and providing opportunities for discovery, interaction and participation.

@@we might want to remove these areas from here and also pointer from "Major Focus Areas" section if we think s much context is not needed@@
@@I think this much detail isn't necessary, but I'll edit it anyway :) -AdamHarvey@@
The work in the first year of the Interest Group focused on the following areas:

  • Web Standards Usage
    • Gathering information about the areas in need of best practice guidelines.: Best practices were determined by examining the successes and failures of opening, sharing, and re-using knowledge through the use of standards and specifications by government applications. These best practices will assist the Interest Group in identifying productive technical paths toward better public services.
    • Providing input on standards compliance: Previously successful experiences in terms of broad government use (such as the Web Accessibility Initiative work) were used to identify ways in which standard bodies can improve communication in terms of government needs. For example, additional efforts to package, promote, and train on best practices, existing material, and tools.
  • Transparency and Participation
    • Identifying ways to improve government transparency and openness: The eGovernment Interest Group identified gaps in knowledge that, when filled, will enable the creation of a complete standards suite for open government data and linkable public sector information.
    • Identifying ways to increase citizenship participation: The Interest Group recognized new methods for delivering information to citizens where the citizens are looking for it. Better use of these tools will both acknowledge and help active citizens and public servants in participatory activities.
    • Identifying ways to increase citizen and business use of eGovernment services: The Interest Group obtained information on the benefits of Web use for government services, identified important selling points to get people and businesses to use eGovernment services, and identified areas for improvement. These selling points include time savings, money savings, and simplicity.
  • Seamless Data Integration
    • Identifying how to advance the state-of-the-art in data integration strategies: The eGovernment Interest group identified methods for governments and computer science researchers to continue working together to advance the state-of-the-art in data integration. This continuing collaboration will assist in the construction of useful, deployable proof-of-concept demos that use government information and demonstrate real benefit from linked data integration. These proof-of-concept tools ought to be targeted to applications that will show real improvement in areas that elected officials, government officers and citizens actually need. These areas would include addressing the needs of business cases through the use of XML, SOA, and Semantic Web technologies.

The eGovernment Interest Group recently completed its first year charter. This culminated in the release of a comprehensive issues paper titled Improving Access to Government through Better Use of the Web on May 12, 2009. The group is now in the final phase of the charter and is actively communicating with the eGovernment community about the results of its first 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.

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