Using the Linked Data Approach in European e-Government Systems: Example from Serbia

Using the Linked Data Approach in European e-Government Systems: Example from Serbia

Valentina Janev (The Mihajlo Pupin Institute, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia), Vuk Mijović (The Mihajlo Pupin Institute, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia) and Sanja Vraneš (The Mihajlo Pupin Institute, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/IJSWIS.2018040102

Abstract

This article describes the Linked Data approach, based on principles defined back in 2006, which can play an important role in the domain of semantic interoperabiity of government services. Therefore, this article explores the technical aspects and challenges of implementation of the revised European Directive on the Public Sector Information (2013/37/EU) that provides a common legal framework for a European market for government-held data (public sector information). It examines how the Linked Data approach facilitates the PSI Directive implementation, and in particular, the maturity of standards and tools for statistical Linked Data processing. The statistical domain has been selected due to its relevance for policy prediction, planning and adjustments, and well as its significant impact on the society, from citizens to businesses to governments. The main contributions are related to the delivered state-of-the-art open-source tools for the managing statistical Linked Data and metadata—quality assessment, exploration—and the recommendations that have been integrated in the EU SHARE-PSI Best Practices collection.
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1. Introduction

The Linked Data approach, based on principles defined back in 2006 (Berners-Lee, 2006) and on best practices for publishing and connecting structured data on the Web (as elaborated by ICT experts) (Bizer et al., 2009; Auer & Lehmann, 2010; Auer, Bryl, & Tramp, 2014), can play an important role in the domain of semantic interoperability of governmental services. The approach has been adopted by an increasing number of data providers over the past decade, leading to the creation of a global data space that contains many billions of assertions—the Linked Open Data cloud. Government data represents a big portion of this cloud (i.e. 18.05% as of April 2014, see http://ec.europa.eu/isa).

In this paper, the authors refer to the data and the information collected, produced, and shared by public bodies as Public Sector Information (PSI). The data available for publishing can be observed as Open Data; however, that does not mean that it is free of charge, because some information is too important or too valuable to be opened for reuse. To support the release of Public Sector Information, the EU has defined a legally binding framework, i.e., the Directive on the re-use of Public Sector Information (known as the ‘PSI Directive,’ 2013/37/EU), which revised the Directive 2003/98/EC and entered into force on 17 July 2013. It is built around two key pillars of the internal market: transparency and fair competition; and it focuses on the economic aspects of the re-use of information, rather than on the accessibility of information to citizens. Member States were obliged to transpose the Directive into national legislation by 18 July 2015; while non-EU states – Serbia, for instance – are still in a process of adoption of best practices from Europe as part of their accession process (see, for instance, the Serbian e-Government Strategy prepared by the Directorate for Electronic Government for the 2015-2018 period).

Figure 1.

Research framework

The research reported in this paper was motivated by questions related to the implementation of the ‘PSI Directive,’ such as:

  • What does the Serbian Directorate for eGovernment need for PSI Directive implementation (in the national context), efficient data sharing, and PSI re-use?

  • How does the Linked Data Approach facilitate implementation of the PSI Directive?

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