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W3C eGovernment (Printable) Glossary
Internal Draft

Status Of This Document

This document is an internal draft in constant evolution and open for review and comment, specifically for the eGovernment Interest Group. It was originally created by Sharron Rush as a proposed glossary to support Improving Access to Government through Better Use of the Web and future documents on the subject of eGovernment. The purpose of this glossary is to ensure common understanding of terms and definitions among Interest Group participants and the public.

Comments on this document are welcomed and should be sent to the public-egov-ig@w3.org (with public archive).

Please, see also the W3C Glossary and Dictionary.



How This Glossary Is Organized

The Glossary is an alphabetical list of terms that the eGov IG has identified.

Alphabetical Links

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


The ability of citizens to gain entree to services and information. A general term of reference to the rights that citizens have to interact with a system entity in order to manipulate, use, gain knowledge of, and/or obtain a representation of some or all of a system entity's resources. To be distinquished from accessible and accessibility
capable of being used, reached, or achieved; specifically by people with disabilities.
a quality that enables people with disabilities to use all facilities, communications methods, and interactive systems that are available to other citizens.
technologies that are designed in a way that assistive technologies used by people with disabilities can access all the information they need to present the content to the user.
the collecting of units or parts into a mass or whole. See data aggregation
abbreviation of Application Program Interface. A set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. Programs that use a common API will have similar user interfaces, making it easier for users to learn new programs (applications).
assistive technology
any device which designed to help people with disabilities carry on daily life. In technology environments, the term is often abreviated AT and refers to software or hardware devices by which people with disabilities access computers. Assistive technology can include devices such as alternate keyboards and mice, voice recognition software, monitor magnification software, multiple switch joysticks, and text-to-speech communication aids.
Atom syndication format
an XML-based Web content and metadata syndication format, and an application-level protocol for publishing and editing Web resources belonging to periodically updated Web sites. All Atom feeds must be well-formed XML documents, and are identified with the application/atom+xml media type.
a fundamental component of information security, the quality or condition of being trustworthy or genuine.
Business to Business (B2B)
commerce transactions between businesses, such as between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer.
Business to Consumer (B2C)
commercial activities of businesses serving end consumers with products and/or services. also Business-to-Customer.
Business to Government (B2G)
commercial marketing of products and services to government agencies through integrated marketing communications techniques such as strategic public relations, branding, marcom, advertising, and web-based communications.
citizen identification
verification of citizenship for individuals for purposes providing a variety of services such as access to e-government, entitlements and benefits, voting, payment and transportation.
Citizen to Government (C2G)
communications and interaction with government agencies by and from citizens. Important aspect of eGovernment in assuring that the information flow between citizens and governments is two-way.
data aggregation
a process through which information is collected, stored, and expressed in a summary form for purposes that may inlcude reporting, analysis, forecasting and more.
data integration
the process of combining data from various and often disparate sources and to provide a unified view. The ability to merge, extract, transform, and manage data from different sources for reporting and analysis.
a collection of information organized in such a way that a computer program can quickly select desired pieces of data; an electronic filing system.
data management
process of planning, development, implementation, and administration of systems for the acquisition, storage, and retrieval of data. Involves solving issues of data quality, accuracy, time sensitivity, access, confidentiality, conformity and content.
electronic commerce , commonly known as e-commerce or eCommerce; the buying and selling of goods and services, and the transfer of funds, through digital communications.
activities of electronic government (or e-government, e-gov, digital government, online government or, in a certain context, transformational government) refers to the use of internet and other communication technology as a platform for exchanging information, providing services and communicating both with citizens and between governments and governmental departments.
Electronic learning (or e-Learning or eLearning)includes a wide set of applications and processes, such as web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. ...
generic reference to ubiquitous use of e- prefix to describe growing number of services that can be delivered eletronical via the Internet.
Government to Business (G2B)
the online non-commercial interaction between local and central government and the commercial business sector, rather than private individuals (G2C). For example http://www.dti.gov.uk is a government web site where businesses can get information and advice on e-business 'best practice'.
Government to Citizen (G2C)
the online non-commercial interaction between local and central Government entitites and private individuals often accomplished by means of Web portals through which government can provide information, services and accountability to citizens.
Government to Government (G2G)
online interaction between and among Government organisations, departments, and authorities. G2G systems generally come in one of two types:
  • Internal facing - between Government departments, agencies, organizations and authorities within one country
  • External facing - between the IT systems of multiple Governments - an example is the integration aspect of the Schengen Information System (SIS), developed to meet the requirements of the Schengen Agreement.
the ability of software systems that may be running under different operating systems and hardware to effectively exchange information; usually accomplished through compliance with technical specifications that typically define how different file formats and messaging protocols can work together. Interoperability has enormous consequequences for full citizen access (older or hardware and software, assistive technology, mobile browsing devices, etc) and for the exchange of information among diverse local, regional and national governments.
a Web application that combines data or functionality from two or more sources into a single integrated application. Often generated through access to open APIs and data sources to produce a new and distinct Web service that was not originally provided by either source.
mobile browsing
the use of a wireless internet browser on a mobile device such as a mobile phone or PDA.
mobile content delivery
the delivery of electronic content using a wireless distribution network for mobile browsing and messaging devices.
mobile information retrieval
indexing and retrieval of textual, audio and visual information such as text, graphics, animation, sound, speech, image, video and their various possible combinations for use in mobile devices with wireless network connectivity. Issues of effective mobile information retrieval techniques include the development of efficient retrieval models and query processing of mobile information from distributed databases.
open data
a philosophy and practice requiring that certain data are freely available to everyone, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. To be distinguished from the more formally defined terms open source and open standard, open data emphasizes access to and re-use of scientific and government data as a means to broaden collaboration, to create government accountability to citizens, and to accelerate the pace of discovery and innovation.
open format
a method of storing storing digital data using specifications that are publicly available. Open formats are most commonly fixed by public authorities or international institutions whose aim is to establish norms for software interoperability.
a non-proprietary, decentralized, no cost framework for user-centric digital identity. OpenID allows user verification and access control by allowing users access to multiple applications and web sites using one identity.
open source
a development methodology characterized by a set of principles and practices that promote access to the production and design process including the source code of software that is made available to the general public. Licensing and intellectual property restrictions are relaxed or waived, allowing users to create software applications through incremental individual effort or through collaboration.
open standard
a published non-proprietary standard that can be used by all. HTML is an open standard; it is managed, but not owned, by the World Wide Web Consortium. Open standards are intended for widespread adoption and are made available to the general public. Open standards are are developed, approved and maintained using a collaborative and consensus driven process to facilitate interoperability and data exchange among different products or services.
proprietary format
a format enables an application to interpret the raw data contained in a file, it is the mode by which the data is presented; a format is proprietary if it encodes data in so that a file is readable only by using the same type of software used to create the file. Distinguished from open format
Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a language for representing information about resources in the World Wide Web. It is particularly intended for representing metadata about Web resources in a way that can be processed by applications, rather than being only displayed to people. RDF is based on the idea of identifying things using Web identifiers (called Uniform Resource Identifiers, or URIs), and describing resources in terms of simple properties and property values.
RDFa benefits from the extensive power of RDF and allows XHTML authors to mark up human-readable data with machine-readable indicators for browsers and other programs to interpret.
REST interface
Representational State Transfer according to Wikipedia is a collection of network architecture principles which outline how resources are defined and addressed. The term is often used more loosely to describe any simple interface which transmits domain-specific data over HTTP without an additional messaging layer.
the acronym may refer to one of three syndication specifications: Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91), RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9, 1.0 and 1.1), or the most commonly known, Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0). In any case, it describes a method for collecting, publishing and editing Web resources from periodically updated Web sites.
(screen) scraping
software mechanism through which data is extracted from the output device, commonly a computer screen, in order to accomplish data transfer. In contrast to normal data transfer protocols, screen-scraping is usually a technique of last resort, often used on legacy systems that have no compatible data transfer mechanism.
Semantic Web
a collaborative effort led by W3C with participation from a large number of researchers and industrial partners to provide a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries. Based on the Resource Description Framework (RDF), which integrates a variety of applications using XML for syntax and URIs for naming, the goal of the Semantic Web Initiative is to develop open specifications for those technologies that are ready for large scale deployment, and to identify, through open source advanced development, the infrastructure components that will be necessary to scale in the Web in the future.
the study of meaning. In the context of the Semantic Web, it is the collaborative effort to ensure that the meaning of what one agent - whether machine or human - “says” is accurately conveyed to the other agent. Because meaning must be communicated to machines and software agents, the meaning must be encoded in some kind of formal language. Semantics refers to the development and agreement on the meaning within that languages or languages.
social media
Online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives.
social networks
a map of the relationships between individuals built around affinity and similarity. In relation to social media tools, the interconnection of individuals who share information online.
a complete, precise and verifiable statement of the requirements, design, behavior, or other characteristics of a system, component, product, result, or service; often inlcudes the procedures for determining whether provisions have been satisfied.
exhibiting openness, clear communication, and accountability. Data transparancy refers to the ease of determining how and why information is conveyed through various means.
Web 2.0
second-generation of the Internet as a means of communication among non-technical people. refers to more interactive services - such as blogs, social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies - that let people collaborate and share information online in ways previously unavailable.
web architecture
the requirements, constraints, principles, and choices that influence the design of the system and the behavior of agents within the system. When Web architecture is consistent, the large-scale effect is that of an efficient, scalable, shared information space.
web standards
a set of rules, guidelines, and protocols for creating and interpreting web-based content. Web standards are carefully designed by the W3C and others through a consensual process to create common understanding of how content is rendered through various devices and user agents. Web standards promote interoperability and ensure the long-term viability of documents published on the Web.
Extensible Markup Language; a W3C-recommended general-purpose markup used for describing many different kinds of data. XML contains both the data and the description of the data. XML is a simple, very flexible text format derived from SGML (ISO 8879). Originally designed to meet the challenges of large-scale electronic publishing, XML is also playing an increasingly important role in the exchange of a wide variety of data on the Web and elsewhere.
XML Schema
a way to describe and validate data in an XML environment; a model for describing the structure of information; a document that specifies the data model and syntax for other XML documents. The specification for how to write and use an XML schema is defined and maintained by the W3C.
XML Security
XML compliant syntax used for various tasks to enhance the protection and defense of online activities and behaviors. XML security includes represention of digital signatures, encoding of Web resources and portions of protocol messages, and procedures for computing and verifying such signatures and encoding.

Abbreviations / Acronyms




Edited by: Sharron Rush, Jose M. Alonso