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|Access to e-Government Services Employing Semantic Technologies|
|Keywords||e-Government, Semantic interoperability, Semantic Web, Web Services|
|Funding Agency||European Union|
|Objective||SO 2.4.13 Strengthening the integration of the ICT research effort in an enlarged Europe|
|Participants||Technical University of Košice (coordinator),
|Budget||Total: 2.3 m€
Funding: 1.98 m€
|Duration||1 January 2006 - 31 December 2008 (prolonged until 28 February 2009)|
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.
The Access-eGov project is aiming at the development 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, composition, mediation, and executing in the SOA environment. Adopting a citizen-centric approach, 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 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.
From the three aspects of interoperability (i.e. organisational, semantic, and technical), 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 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. 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. Results of the testing were evaluated and were taken as a background for further improvements. During the second half of 2008, the Access-eGov project approached its final phase, which included a second trial phase loop for all three pilot applications and a final evaluation of the achieved results.
Pilot Applications 
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.
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.
The Polish 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.
- 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, based on the workflow CASheW-S model.
- Methodology: Requirement-driven approach. 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.
- Tools implemented as prototypes:
- 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.
Project outcomes from the German Field Test were preliminarily presented in November 2008 at the annual Mediatage Nord event in Kiel/Germany with attendance by official representatives and test participants from Schleswig-Holstein municipal and state administrations. The Access-eGov project showcased its final results at the CeBIT computer innovation fair in Hannover, Germany in March 2009.
The ePractice.eu community awarded Access-eGov with their Editor's Choice 2009 award.
- SO 2.4.13 Strengthening the Integration of the ICT research effort in an Enlarged Europe http://cordis.europa.eu/ist/workprogramme/wp0506_en/2_4_13.htm
- ICT Results: Access-eGov success story. 28. June 2007 http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/89095
- 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 3-540-40485-2. http://www.springerlink.com/content/0cnyub02gf5c45lj/
- eEurope Action Plan 2005 http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eeurope/2005/all_about/action_plan/index_en.htm
- Commission of the European Communities, Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: Interoperability for Pan-European eGovernment Services. Brussels, 13.2.2006. http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/servlets/Doc?id=24117
- Commission of the European Communities, Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament: Interoperability for Pan-European eGovernment Services. Brussels, 13.2.2006. Page 6. http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/servlets/Doc?id=24117
- "Reference Architecture overview". web site. 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- "Methodological guidelines for using and adapting the Access-eGov platform". web site. 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- 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 (3–6 September 2007, Regensburg, Germany). Trauner Verlag, Linz, Austria, 2007, pp. 133–140, ISBN 978-3-85499-255-4
- 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.
- ePractice.eu: Access-eGov completes first pilot trials. 11 April 2008. http://www.epractice.eu/document/4562
- Rolf Schillinger, Stefan Dürbeck, Peter Bednar: "Access-eGov - a real-world Semantic Service-oriented Architecture for e-Government". In: Business Services: Concepts, Technologies, Applications, Vol.2. Proceedings of the 9th Int'l Conference on Business Informatics (25th-27th February 2009 in Vienna/Austria), pp. 625-634, Austrian Computer Society, Vol. 247, ISBN 978-3-85403-247-2
- "German Field Test". web site. 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- "Slovakian pilot". web site. 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- "Polish pilot". web site. 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- 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 (3–6 September 2007, Regensburg, Germany). Trauner Verlag, Linz, Austria, 2007, pp. 71–78, ISBN 978-3-85499-255-4
- D2 v1.3. Web Service Modeling Ontology (WSMO). WSMO Final Draft, 21 October 2006. http://www.wsmo.org/TR/d2/v1.3/
- 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
- D7.1 Public administration resource ontologies. Access-eGov project, Public Deliverable. 30 November 2007. http://www.accessegov.org/acegov/uploadedFiles/webfiles/cffile_2_20_08_5_50_43_PM.zip
- "Annotation Tool overview". web site. 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- "Personal Assistant Client overview". web site. 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- "Project representatives at Mediatage Nord 2008". web site. 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- "CeBIT 2009 participation announcement". web site. 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- "ePractice.eu Editor's Choice 2009". web site. 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- Access-eGov Project Home
- Mediatage Nord 2008 Kiel/Germany
- youtube-channel dedicated to Access-eGov project outcomes
- ePractice.eu community entry
- Sixth Framework Programme home page
- European Commission