title= Access to e-Government Services Employing Semantic Technologies
keywords=e-Government, Semantic interoperability, Semantic Web, Web Services
fundingAgency=European Union

researchObjective= SO 2.4.13 Strengthening the integration of the ICT research effort in an enlarged Europe
coordinator=Technical University of Košice
participants= Research partners:
* University of Regensburg,
* German University in Cairo,
* InterSoft, a. s.,
* Signity S.A.,
* e-ISOTIS, User partners:
* Košice Self-Governing Region,
* Municipality of Michalovce,
* Cities on Internet Association,
* City Hall of Gliwice,
* State Government of Schleswig-Holstein
budget= 2.3 m€
funding= 1.98 m€
start=1 January 2006
end=31 December 2008

Access-eGov ("Access to e-Government Services Employing Semantic Technologies") is a 36-month STReP research and development project, co-funded by the European Commission within the Sixth Framework Programme under the Information Society Technologies (IST) priority, contract No. FP6-2004-27020. This project addresses the strategic objective SO 2.4.13 "Strengthening the Integration of the ICT research effort in an Enlarged Europe" [SO 2.4.13 "Strengthening the Integration of the ICT research effort in an Enlarged Europe"] .

The Access-eGov project [ICT Results: Access-eGov success story. 28. June 2007] is aiming at the developemnt and validation of the platform for composition of government services into process definitions, enabling semantic interoperability of particular e-Government services. The solution is based on the semantic technologies as enhanced WSMO conceptual framework, WSML ontologies, semantic annotation of services, their discovery, , mediation, and executing in the SOA environment. Adopting a citizen-centric approach [Anamarija Leben, Mirko Vintar: "Life-Event Approach: Comparison between Countries". In: Electronic Government. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 2739/2003, Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, p. 1057, ISBN 978-3-540-40845-9.] , Access-eGov customises the workflow of electronic and traditional (i.e. face-to-face) services according to the personal needs of each citizen.

Background, motivation

The Access-eGov project is motivated by the needs to increase the interoperability of existing governmental services in existing or newly created e-Government solutions on local, national, and Pan-European levels. The interoperability was recognised as a precondition for the implementation of European eGovernment services in the "eEurope Action Plan 2005" [eEurope Action Plan 2005] and is explicitly addressed as one of the four main challenges in the I2010 EU strategy. It is recommended to build the solutions supporting interoperability of governmental services on standards, open specifications and open interfaces [Commission of the European Communities, Communication from the Commision to the Council and the European Parliament: Interoperability for Pan-European eGovernment Services. Brussels, 13.2.2006.] .

From the three aspects of interoperability (i.e. "organisational", "semantic", and "technical" [Commission of the European Communities, Communication from the Commision to the Council and the European Parliament: Interoperability for Pan-European eGovernment Services. Brussels, 13.2.2006. Page 6.] ), the Access-eGov project is particularly focused on the semantic interoperability. The central idea is to ensure that the meaning of the shared and exchanged information is captured, formalised, and is understood in the same way by the people, applications, and institutions involved in the eGovernment solution. It can be achieved by enriching the provided governmental services and other information resources with a machine-readable semantic description, applying the semantic technologies as shared domain ontologies, formal ontology languages (e.g. RDF, OWL, WSML), Semantic Web Services and corresponding frameworks as e.g. RDF-S, WSDL, OWL-S, and WSMO (see also the list of Related projects). Within the Access-eGov, the WSMO framework was selected as a basic implementation platform.

Access-eGov approach, objectives and solution

The project objectives were defined on organisational and technological levels. Main "organisational objective" is to improve accessibility and connectivity of governmental services for citizens and businesses. "Technical objectives" are focused on the development of the software platform and tools for integration of various types of governmental services on a semantic basis, including a methodology for maintenance of the solution by public administrations.

A resource WSML ontology covering basic domain knowledge and processes for locating and contracting e-Government services was created for the three pilot applications of the project. The requirement-driven approach [Ralf Klischewski, Stefan Ukena: "Designing semantic e-Government services driven by user requirements". In: Electronic Government, 6th International EGOV Conference. Proceedings of ongoing research, project contributions and workshops (September 3-6, 2007, Regensburg, Germany). Trauner Verlag, Linz, Austria, 2007, pp. 133-140, ISBN 978-3-85499-255-4] was used by public administrations to describe the services, goals, and scenarios. The core Access-eGov system was implemented as an extension of the WSMO conceptual model [Mach, M., Bednár, P., Hreňo, J.: Execution and composition of government services. In: MeTTeG07 : Methodologies, Technologies and Tool enabling e-Government. Proceedings of the 1st International Conference : Camerino, Italy - 27-28 September 2007. Matelica : Halley Editrice, 2007. pp.139-153. ISBN 978-88-7589-300-2.] . The solution includes two client side tools - "Personal Assistant client", which provides browsing of the scenarios and services for citizens, and "Annotation tool" enabling semantic annotation of services for public administrations.

The Access-eGov solution was tested within the first trial in autumn 2007 [ Access-eGov completes first pilot trials. 11 April 2008.] . Results of the testing were evaluated and were taken as a background for further improvements. Currently (second half of year 2008) the Access-eGov project approaches its final phase, which includes second trial of all the pilot applications and final evaluation of achieved results.

Pilot Applications

German field test - "Getting married" scenario

The field test was carried out by Ministry of Finance of Schleswig-Holstein. It was focused on the life event "marriage" and related procedures. The registry offices of eleven municipalities from Schleswig-Holstein have been involved in this field test. The main aim was to test the integration of different web resources containing the service information and making them accessible via a single platform but still leaving the data and its maintenance in the municipalities' legacy systems.

lovak pilot - "Obtaining a building permission" scenario

The pilot application has been carried out by the Košice Self-Governing Region and the municipality of Michalovce. It was focused on supporting citizens during the process of obtaining a building permit, including complex services related to land-use planning and approval proceedings. The objective was to make the whole process easier and transparent for citizens, to provide all relevant information about necessary services in a comprehensive and user-friendly way, and finally to improve the service from the citizen's point of view.

Polish pilot - "Establishing an enterprise" scenario

The pilot application took place in the Silesian region and was performed by the Gliwice City Hall. The user scenario involved four main user goals: registration in local government, registration in statistical office, registration in tax office and registration in social insurance agency. The objective of the pilot application was to provide a single entry point where users (citizens and entrepreneurs) can obtain relevant information and are properly navigated by the system within the whole complex process.

Project Outcomes

* "The Access-eGov core system", including inner components for discovery, composition, mediation, and execution of the semantically annotated services. [Karol Furdik, Tomas Sabol, Peter Bednar: "Framework for integration of e-Government Services on a Semantic Basis". In: Electronic Government, 6th International EGOV Conference. Proceedings of ongoing research, project contributions and workshops (September 3-6, 2007, Regensburg, Germany). Trauner Verlag, Linz, Austria, 2007, pp. 71-78, ISBN 978-3-85499-255-4]
* "Extensions of the WSMO conceptual model". The WSMO conceptual model was adapted and modified by designing and implementing a workflow extension to the WSMO specification [D2 v1.3. Web Service Modeling Ontology (WSMO). WSMO Final Draft, 21 October 2006.] , based on the workflow CASheW-S model [Barry Norton, Carlos Pedrinaci: "3-Level Service Composition and Cashew: A Model for Orchestration and Choreography in Semantic Web Services". Springer LNCS 4277, 2006, pp. 58-67] .
* Methodology: "Requirement-driven approach" [Ralf Klischewski, Stefan Ukena: "Designing semantic e-Government services driven by user requirements". In: Electronic Government, 6th International EGOV Conference. Proceedings of ongoing research, project contributions and workshops (September 3-6, 2007, Regensburg, Germany). Trauner Verlag, Linz, Austria, 2007, pp. 133-140, ISBN 978-3-85499-255-4] . The method originally designed and developed within the Access-eGov project by one of the project partners (German University in Cairo), was used as the main resource for ontology creation. This approach provides a generic method how to collect, relate, and formally express the information needs of the public administrations, as service providers, to design the specific semantic structures and descriptions of provided governmental services.
* "Resource ontologies", proposed as the specification of system data for the services and workflow structures within the Access-eGov system. [D7.1 Public administration resource ontologies. Access-eGov project, Public Deliverable. November 30, 2007.]
* Tools:
** "Annotation tool", which provides for public administration officers a capability to semantically annotate the resources as services, contact data, working hours, fees, etc. A set of forms and templates was designed for specification of preconditions and non-functional properties as parameters of the annotated government services, which can then be grouped into complex workflow sequences. The tool is designed as a standard web application, using the extended WSMO object model and JSF technology.
** "Personal Assistant client", a tool that provides browsing, discovery, and execution capabilities of the services for citizens and businesses according to a specified life event or goal. Users can browse sub-goals and provide their answers when customization input is requested. Then the system automatically resolves the sub-goals and navigates the user to a new set of sub-goals and services inferred from the conceptual model. The electronic services provided via standardized Web Service interface can be directly invoked. Finally, the citizen obtains all available information on the life event customized to his/her case, and has also the possibility to execute the actions required for particular services needed for the accomplishing of the life event. The Personal Assistant client was implemented as a web application using JSF technology. Layout, structure, and ordering of tabs in the interface are dynamically created from the annotated services and are customized according to the conditions of the given user.


External links

* [ Access-eGov Project Home]
** [ Public Deliverables]
** [ List of Publications]
* [ Sixth Framework Programme home page]
* [ European Commission]

Related Projects

* [ eGovRTD2020]
* [ OntoGov]
* [ SAKE]
* [ SemanticGov]
* [ Terregov]
* [ DIP Integrated Project]
* other, see [ List of FP6 EU-funded eGovernment research projects]

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