The Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development (CECID) at the University of Hong Kong has announced the release of a four-part XML Schema Design and Management Guide Version 1.0, which aims to "provide a process for designing and defining quality, consistent and reusable XML Schema Definitions (XSDs) in a systematic manner." The Guide was produced by the CECID XML Coordination Group for the Information and Technology Services Department (ITSD) of the HKSAR Government (HKSARG). The Hong Kong Observatory, Department of Health and Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau are first to use this Guide in their XML projects of weather news, notifiable infectious disease notification and electronic surveillance system and Integrated Criminal Justice System respectively. Based on international best practices such as UN/CEFACT's Modeling Methodology (UMM), ebXML Core Components (CC), and Universal Business Language (UBL), the XML Schema Design and Management Guide was developed by CECID for the HKSARG to assist bureaux and departments, as well as their business partners, in implementing e-government joined-up service projects (G2G and G2B)."
The XML Schema Design and Management Guide was created in support of the Hong Kong e-government initiative "to provide one-stop comprehensive services and seamless flow of information, within legal bounds, across individual Bureaux and Departments (B/Ds) as necessary. Its Interoperability Framework is a collection of technical and data specifications that help B/Ds define the interface between interacting applications, and XML is a key component of this Interoperability Framework. The overall Interoperability Framework, including the technical specifications, is managed by the Interoperability Framework Coordination Group (IFCG). An XML Coordination Group (XMLCG) has also been formed to develop strategies to facilitate more effective adoption of XML."
XML Schema Design and Management Guide Version 1.0.
XML Schema Design and Management Guide. Part I: Overview. Version 1.0. Reference: G55-1. Published November 24, 2003. Effective January 2, 2004. Copyright (c) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. 17 pages.
"This Overview is primarily for e-government project teams (mainly the project managers, business analysts, and programmers), project owners and Common Schema Liaison Officers who are involved in the concerted alignment of data elements to get a high-level understanding of the overall mechanism.
XML Schema Design and Management Guide. Part II: XML Schema Design Guide. Version 1.0. Reference: G55-2. Published November 24, 2003. Effective January 2, 2004. Copyright (c) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. 72 pages.
The Design Guide is intended for business analysts responsible for modelling the business process and information requirements in a project. It also provides guidelines for programmers to convert the information models specified by the business analysts into XSD code... Section 3 on 'Business Process Modelling' provides the BPM methodology for business analysts to systematically model business processes in joined-up services with a view to identifying the business documents exchanged across B/Ds in the business processes. It is based on the approaches suggested in the eBusiness eXtensible Markup Language (ebXML) framework. To help readers understand the methodology, this section also discusses technical details on terminology -- Business Transaction and Business Collaboration. Business analysts may choose not to follow this BPM methodology if the SA&D methodologies they currently use can already serve the purpose of modelling business processes and identifying business documents for exchange... Section 4 on 'Business Information Modelling' describes the BIM methodology for business analysts to capture requirements on the business information to be exchanged in HKSARG joined-up services, and to specify the requirements as information models. It is based on the approaches suggested in ISO 11179, Core Components Technical Specification (CCTS)1, and Universal Business Language (UBL), to derive a comprehensive and practical methodology. Section 4 also discusses technical details on terminology - Object Class, Property, and Representation, Core Component Type (CCT), Basic Business Information Entity (BBIE), Association Business Information Entity (ASBIE), Aggregate Business Information Entity (ABIE), Business Document, Business Context, data dictionary entry information, and Dictionary Entry Name.
XML Schema Design and Management Guide. Part III: XML Schema Management Guide. XML Coordination Group. Version 1.0. Reference: G55-3. Published November 24, 2003. Effective January 2, 2004. Copyright (c) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. 36 pages.
The Management Guide serves as a handbook for the parties involved in the concerted alignment of data elements, namely the XMLCG, the Common Schema Liaison Officers, and the business analysts involved in joined-up projects. It facilitates the development and management of reusable XML Schemas. It also enables project teams to have a better understanding of how data elements are concertedly aligned, in particular the role of project teams as a contributor of reusable data elements for concerted alignment... The registry plays an important role in facilitating the sharing of reusable schemas. A Project Registry facilitates the sharing of Project Schemas whereas the Central Registry facilitates the sharing of Common Schemas. The last section of this part of the guide describes how Common Schemas (i.e., the information models and the corresponding XML Schema Definition (XSD) code of the concertedly aligned data elements) and related controlled vocabularies are managed in the Central Registry. A similar approach may be adopted for the management of Project Schemas.
XML Schema Design and Management Guide. Part IV: Appendices. XML Coordination Group. Version 1.0. Reference: G55-4. Published November 24, 2003. Effective January 2, 2004. Copyright (c) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. 108 pages.
The appendices provide supplementary information to help the readers understand this Guide. They include:
- Appendix 1 - Case Study - Application for Import and Export Licences for Pharmaceutical Products and Medicines
- Appendix 2 - Recommended List of Core Component Types
- Appendix 3 - Core Component Type Worksheet
- Appendix 4 - Sample XML Schema Design Worksheets
- Appendix 5 - Implementing eBusiness Solutions
- Appendix 6 - Intellectual Property Rights of Registry Artifacts
- Appendix 7 - Glossary
CECID XML Schema Guide Summary
"A key strategy of our e-government initiative is to develop joined-up e-government services. The success of joined-up service project implementation depends on the commitment of project partners to integrate their business functions electronically, process interoperability, data interoperability, and technical interoperability... This Guide serves as a guideline under the IF to facilitate data interoperability in joined- up services implementation using eXtensible Markup Language (XML). Two common data interoperability problems have been identified in joined-up service projects: incompatible data definitions and incompatible data representations, leading to repetitive data alignments and conversions in different projects. To minimize repetitive data alignments and conversions, this guide provides a methodology for defining and sharing information models and XML schemas, thereby maximizing the reusability of data elements... E-government project teams should follow this guide, reuse the concertedly aligned data elements where appropriate, and to contribute reusable data elements for concerted alignment..."
[One of the] necessary conditions for implementing joined-up services is technical interoperability: agreement on what communication protocol and message format to be used when one party sends information to another; e.g., the purchase order shall be encoded in XML, as defined by a specific XML schema, and XML Encryption and XML Signature shall be applied on certain content components, and the XML message shall be sent via HTTP...
The HKSARG Interoperability Framework (IF) is an enabler for the implementation of joined-up e-government services. It facilitates technical interoperability and data interoperability among B/Ds and their business partners. This is achieved by promulgating technical standards, and by putting in place a mechanism for the concerted alignment and specification of the data elements that have potential for reuse in multiple joined-up projects...
This guide, also under the Interoperability Framework, facilitates data interoperability by providing:
- A methodology for business analysts to specify the definitions and representations of information in a consistent and structured way as reusable information models
- An approach for programmers to convert the information models (or specifications) of the data elements into XML Schema Definition (XSD) code pursuant to the IF's recommendation of using XML for information exchange and XML schema for defining the structure of XML documents
- Guidelines for the concerted alignment of the definitions and representations of data elements that have potential for reuse in various joined-up services, thereby standardizing the XSD code for these data elements
- Guidelines for project teams to adopt suitable concertedly aligned data elements and their standardized XSD code and also contribute reusable data elements for concerted alignment. [excerpted from the Overview, 'Introduction']
HKSARG Interoperability Framework
The HKSARG Interoperability Framework. Produced by Members of the Interoperability Framework Coordination Group (IFCG), Government of the Hong Kong Information Technology Services Department (ITS). Published November 2003. Effective January 2, 2004. Copyright (c) The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Version 2.0. Reference: S18. 37 pages. Email contact: email@example.com. Excerpt:
A major area where the Interoperability Framework is applied is to facilitate two information systems to interact to fulfill some business functions. To enable two information systems to interoperate, they have to be implemented based upon a mutually agreed set of specifications covering both the business aspects (e.g., how the business activities of one party interact with those of its business partners, what the legal consequences of such interactions are, what information needs to be sent from one party to another, the semantics behind the exchanged information, etc.) and the technical aspects (e.g., what protocol and message format should be used to send information from one party to another).
The Interoperability Framework helps the two parties to work out these specifications more effectively. It covers: (1) A set of technical standards and data standards that help define the interface across different systems; (2) Guidelines for project teams to work out some of the business-oriented specifications, where it is feasible to provide guidelines in that area; and (3) Other standards documents that define infrastructure architecture, conventions and procedures.
The technical standards are listed in Section 7 of this document [The HKSARG Interoperability Framework version 2.0]. The data standards are being progressively developed in the form of Common Schemas. The Common Schemas define the information model and XML Schema of data elements that are often used in e-government applications; they serve as reusable components for composing project-defined data specifications.
To help B/Ds work out their information exchange specifications (project-defined schemas) more effectively, the XML Co-ordination Group has developed an XML Schema Design and Management Guide. The Guide provides a business information modeling methodology to help B/Ds model business documents and to translate information models into XML. The Guide also provides a framework for the development and use of Common Schemas. This Guide is published under the IF document library... The overall IF, including the technical specifications, is managed by the Interoperability Framework Co-ordination Group (IFCG) and the management of Common Schemas is overseen by the XML Co-ordination Group (XMLCG)..." [excerpted from the Scopr Statement, section 3.2]
From the Announcement
"When a new joined-up service project is implemented, project teams must conduct a data alignment exercise to agree on the definition and representation of each data element of the information to be exchanged. Further, data conversion or data mapping between the exchanged data may need to be performed. To achieve interoperability for information exchange, XML has been identified by HKSARG as the technical standard. This XML Schema Design and Management Guide will facilitate data interoperability by providing (i) a methodology to specify the definitions and representations of information in a consistent and structured way as reusable information models; (ii) an approach to convert the information models of data elements into XML Schema Definition (XSD) code; and (iii) guidelines to adopt, contribute, and manage XML Schemas to maximize reuse.
The XML Schema Design & Management Guide consists of two major parts. The first part is the Design Guide which introduces a methodology for modeling the business process and information requirements systematically in a project. It also provides guidelines for programmers to convert information models specified by the business analysts into XSD code. The second part is the Management Guide which serves as a handbook for bureaux and departments to harmonize data elements and manage reusable XML Schemas. Besides the Guide, the HKSARG has also set up a Central Registry (www.xml.gov.hk) to store and manage schemas to facilitate government projects' adoption...
Information Technology Services Department (ITSD) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is an executive agency responsible for implementing Government policy on the development of Information Technology (IT) in Hong Kong. It promotes and enables the extensive use of IT in Government and in the community. It also aims to enable individuals, businesses and the Government to interact easily and securely through the use of IT. Its work programmes reflect their commitment to implementing the Digital 21 Strategy, which is Hong Kong's blueprint for IT development in the future, and the E-Government Strategy that forms a significant part of that blueprint.
Established in January 2002, Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development (CECID) at the University of Hong Kong conducts e-commerce research and development with the vision of helping organizations increase their competitiveness in the global economy. CECID develops e-commerce enabling technologies, participates in important international e-commerce initiatives, supports e-commerce standardization for Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific Region, and transfers e-commerce technology and skills to the community. With projects primarily funded by the Hong Kong Government's Innovation and Technology Commission, CECID is a member of OASIS, W3C, RosettaNet, and the ebXML Asia Committee. The Center also collaborates with a number of lead technology users in the Asia-Pacific Region on turning R&D results into real-life business applications. CECID's recent contributions to the community include its code donation of Hermes and ebMail to FreebXML (http://www.freebxml.org) and the production of an in-depth design and management guide on XML Schemas for the Hong Kong Government.
- Announcement: "CECID Completes XML Schema Design and Management Guide."
- Interoperability Framework for E-Government
- Part I: Overview
- Part II: XML Schema Design Guide
- Part III: XML Schema Management Guide
- Part IV: Appendices
- The HKSARG Interoperability Framework
- Central XML Registry. The Registry of Concertedly Aligned Data Elements. A facility to store and manage XML schemas in order to facilitate adoption of government projects.
- freebXML web site. "freebXML is an initiative that aims to foster the development and adoption of ebXML and related technology through software and experience sharing. It is sponsored by the Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development and the Department of Computer Science & Information Systems at the University of Hong Kong. Founding members include technical leaders from international technology firms, government organizations, standardization bodies and academic institutions."
- Information Technology Services Department (ITSD). Under the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
- Hong Kong ITS - IT Infrastructure and Standards
- Center for E-Commerce Infrastructure Development (CECID) at the University of Hong Kong
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