[February 27, 2002] A two-year eGOV initiative has been funded through the EC to "specify, develop, deploy and evaluate an integrated platform for realising online one-stop government." The eGOV project [IST-2000-28471, KA 1] is financially supported by the European Commission under the IST Programme. One aspect of the eGOV project is development of the Governmental Markup Language (GovML), to be introduced as an XML vocabulary that "will support the delivery of content and services to citizens (businesses) in terms of life-events, or business episodes." The eGOV project will specify and develop a "next generation of governmental portals and the supporting network architecture, a service repository with corresponding service creation environment, and the Governmental Markup Language. The technical aspects will be coupled with a study of social aspects and process re-engineering methods. The ultimate project goal is to promote the eGOV developments as the next generation platforms for online one-stop government... GovML itself will support the interoperability and the data flow between the portal and the distributed services repositories; it will provide a basis for the exchange of documents with a common format within the domain of public sector."
The specification and development of the Governmental Markup Language constitutes one of the technical objectives of the eGOV project. Plan: "The public sector, by both its size and scope of activities, represents the biggest single information content resource for the creation of value-added information content and services . The eGOV consortium believes that this resource can be fully exploited by realising and extending the scope of 'online one-stop government'. Traditionally, 'online one-stop government' refers to an online integration of public services from a citizen's -or customer of public services- point of view. The main objective of the project is the provision of an open, extensible and scalable platform for realising online one-stop government. This platform will be deployed and evaluated in three European countries, namely Austria, Greece and Switzerland. The eGOV project is financially supported by the European Commission under the IST Programme..." [from the project web site]
GovML description from Platform and Network Architecture Functional Specifications:
"The Governmental Markup Language (GovML) will be introduced as an XML vocabulary that will support the delivery of content and services to citizens (businesses) in terms of life-events (business episodes)... The GovML within the Content Directory will provide an abstract model of public sector content metadata. The use of the GovML will enhance the capability of the Content Directory with regard to the retrieval of public sector resources on the Web (e.g., HTML, Word, and PDF files)... According to the eGOV architecture, there is one Content Directory instance located at the central authority and one Content Directory instance at each of the other participating Public Authorities (PAs). The central content directory is expected to host all content metadata while the content directory of each participating PA is expected to host the content metadata of this local PA only. However, the GovML syntax will be identical in all content directories.
"The GovML will be invoked within the 'Content Metadata Creation Environment'. More specifically, the administrator of the 'Content Metadata Creation Environment' will insert metadata in the form of the GovML in order to describe the public sector content that resides in the content directory. The GovML is expected to provide a small set of elements for common public sector content metadata descriptive terms and possibly some common attributes for further qualifying the meaning of the metadata. The use of the GovML for public sector content is intended to be analogue to the use of the Dublin Core for the library science community.
The realisation of the GovML will be based on the RDF specification, which provides a lightweight ontology system to support the exchange of knowledge on the Web. The RDF specification will be expressed in the GovML vocabulary in order to model metadata about public sector resources on the Web. The GovML vocabulary will be further elaborated in Deliverable D121, and it will be specified in more detail during the early stage of implementation...GovML vocabulary will provide the content descriptors with concern to the life-event metaphor. Content descriptors may contain: Title of the document, URI of the document,The node where the document is located, Type of the document,Name of the life-event(s) that the document is associated with,Language of the document, Keywords, Content beneficiaries (citizen categories)... GovML vocabulary will be specified in detail during the first steps of implementation.
GovML within Service Directory: All eGOV services will be characterised in an identical way in order to facilitate their retrieval from the service repository as well as their execution in the service runtime environment. The vocabulary of service attributes is regarded as part of the GovML role inside the eGOV project. Thus, this service vocabulary will be defined and described in terms of GovML specification. According to the eGOV architecture, there is one Service Directory instance located at the central authority and one Service Directory instance at each of the other participating PAs. The central service directory is expected to host all metadata of the services while the service directory of each participating local PA is expected to host only the metadata of the services that the particular PA offers. However, the GovML syntax will be identical in all service directories. The GovML will be invoked within the 'Service Creation Environment'. More specifically, the administrator of the 'Service Creation Environment' will insert metadata in the form of GovML in order to describe the public services that reside in the service directory. Service descriptors may contain: Service title, Service description, URI for the execution of the service, Responsible organisation (PA, ministry), Contact Person, Input parameters for the execution of the service, Output parameters from the execution of the service... In case of composite eGOV services, the input will be provided as a merger of inputs of elementary eGOV services comprising the composite eGOV service although in some cases the input for a elementary eGOV service will be produced and retrieved dynamically. From the implementation perspective, the Service Creation Environment will mainly access the service vocabulary during the creation of a new service. Provided that the creation of a new service has been performed, the service 'signature' will be published to the Service Directory by means of WSDL and UDDI description..."
Portal: The eGOV portal will be based on an existing portal server framework. A portal server product normally includes tools for multi-channelling and personalisation. Multi-channelling refers to supporting several different access devices, such as mobile phones and PDAs as well as normal web browsers. Many portal servers have adopted the portlet model for their application architecture. Portlets typically represent one data source or application. In this project, one portlet can represent a life event in which the content and transaction services reside side by side. The user can personalise his/her workspace by choosing the portlets he/she wants to be included. The portal can also offer predefined profiles to the user. The presentation layer gets XML input from the business logic layer. The XML message is translated to a device-dependent format by using XSLT scripts. Parts of the main page can be produced as a batch job for performance reasons (life-event administration). The purpose of the business logic layer is to get data from the data layer (service management and content management) and content from the content store. When the user has found a topic he/she is interested in from the content metadata and wants to get the whole original content, the business logic layer retrieves the content on behalf of the user and offers it to the presentation layer as XML, if possible. Other business logic duties are queries from the data layer and content combining... When a user wants to use interactive services, the business logic layer asks the service details of service management. Service details consist of the name of the service provider and service and the technical details on how to communicate with the service. In addition, service management also offers an XML schema for the services. The business logic layer combines this information with the XML message and forwards it to the presentation layer. The presentation layer generates the user output from the given information and forwards the user input to the actual service interface. If authentication is needed, the business logic layer authenticates the user against the LDAP directory or validates the user certificate against the revocation list maintained by the certificate authorities, checks the signature and expiration date of the certificate. Authentication could be implemented as a separate component so that it will be available in other environments/portals. Databases are relational databases and their data schemas are based on the UDDI standard and GovML vocabularies..."
Service Management: "The portal collects information on services to the service directory that is UDDI-based (www.uddi.org). The services have to implement the XML-based service interface and publish it in the service directory by using WSDL (Web Service Description Language). The portal service management takes the service description and saves (publishes) it in the service directory. Service management also implements a query interface that the portal can use for finding services and details of services. Service management also offers a schema repository for detailed information on service interfaces. The service directory can be file-based or based on a SQL database..."
Description from Diffuse on IST RTD Projects: "The project will specify, develop, deploy and evaluate an integrated platform for realizing online one-stop government. This platform will allow the public sector to provide citizens with information that are based on 'life-events' hence increasing its effectiveness, efficiency and quality of services. Technical objectives include the specification and development of a service repository and service creation environment, together with an XML-based '"Governmental Markup Language (GovML)'... The project has published Platform and Network Architecture functional specifications and Services and Process models functional specifications that indicated that the SSL-based Internet access mechanism will be supplemented by Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) functionality and Wireless Transport Layer Security (WTLS) for mobile communications. The service directory will use Web Service Description Language (WSDL) formatted service descriptions and will be implemented to support the Universal Description Discovery Interface (UDDI) standard. The content metadata repository will support a vocabulary based on the Resource Description Framework (RDF). The vocabulary will be implemented according to the GovML standard, and it utilizes the Dublin Core standard. The content manager provides two query interfaces to the content metadata, one for interactive queries and another one for persistent queries. The query output is an XML message that is formatted for the users using XSL transformations..."
GovML description from the Services and Process Models Functional Specifications document: "In terms of the eGOV project, the Governmental Markup Language (GovML ) will be specified as a recommendation for a new XML vocabulary that will define and support particular data structures, which are necessary to support the life-event approach towards the delivery of online public services. Moreover, GovML will support the interoperability and the data flow between the portal and the distributed services repositories. Hopefully, it will be a basis for the exchange of documents with a common format within the domain of public sector. GovML will be utilised within Service Directory and Content Directory. The necessity for the utilisation of GovML within Service Repository will be further investigated during the implementation phase [of the project]..."
"The main actors in the eGOV system are three: (1) The citizens and businesses are the end users of this platform. (2) A central governmental authority (usually a minister) is the administrator of the eGOV portal and the national service repository.This contains all national 'life- events and information on public services. The administration is performed using the eGOV service creation environment. (3) Virtually all other public authorities are the administrators of the local service repository. The administration is also performed using the eGOV service creation environment..."
Citizens will be able to access online public services that are bundled around life-events thus adhere to their needs and not the functional fragmentation of the public sector. Citizens will experience high-quality service provision with characteristics which include: personalised content delivery, customisation, support of multilingual content, support of access from different media (including Web and WAP-enabled devices), support of push services, support for digital signatures, etc. Public authorities will be able to administrate the service repository in a user-friendly, intuitive way using a Web interface. Furthermore, the service repository will be as simple as a Word document or as complex as an RDBMS. Public authorities will be able to easily join the eGOV system in order for their services to be integrated and provided to citizens through the eGOV portal. The eGOV system is inherently extensible thus allows creating innovative services that will add value to the public content and services.
- eGOV web site
- eGOV project graphical description
- eGOV Services and Process Models Functional Specifications. IST PROJECT 2000-28471. An Integrated Platform for Realising Online One-Stop Government (eGOV). January 10, 2002. Edited by E. Tambouris, E. Spanos, and G. Kavadias. "In this deliverable a non-technical overview of the eGOV system is presented. Firstly, relevant terms are defined to form a clear conceptual framework for one-stop government that links 'life events' and 'business situations' with 'public services' and 'processes'. Furthermore, the methods used for conducting small-scale surveys of user requirements are presented. Based on the surveys results, the specifications of eGOV services and processes as well as the upper level specifications of the Governmental Markup language (GovML) are derived. Finally, relevant social aspects are investigated. The report is complemented amongst others by an in-depth analysis of a number of representative life events and a survey on international best practice." See the source.
- Platform and Network Architecture Functional Specifications. Edited by T. Erkkilä 30-November-2001. 131 pages. "This Deliverable presents the technical perspective of the eGOV project. It includes an overview of the platform and technical architecture and an analysis of the user requirements. It provides the basis for further specifying and implementing the eGOV platform."
- "European Development towards Online One-stop Government: The 'eGOV' Project." By Maria Wimmer. 2001. In Proceedings of the ICEC2001 Conference, Vienna.
- "An Integrated Online One-Stop Government Platform: The eGOV Project." By Maria Wimmer and Johanna Krenner. Presented at IDIMT-2001 (Proceedings of the Ninth Interdisciplinary Information Management Talks). "... a Governmental Markup Language which will be the connecting 'glue' of the portal and of all public repositories. It will be implemented as an XML derivative that should become an open standard for data exchange and information sharing among horizontally (e.g., municipality and provincial authority) and vertically (e.g., local municipalities) dispersed public administrations..."
- GovML Presentation by Wilhelm A. Wurzer, 2001-10-30.