Ontology for E-Government Public Services

Ontology for E-Government Public Services

Costas Vassilakis (University of Peloponnese, Greece) and George Lepouras (University of Peloponnese, Greece)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-799-7.ch139
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In the past few years, information and communication technologies are increasingly used for provision of public services, improvement of managerial effectiveness and promotion of democracy, a development that is commonly termed as e-government (Gil-Garcia, 2004). Transactional services are an indispensable tool for delivering public services and can additionally be used for democracy promotion (e.g., via questionnaires and polls), thus, playing a central role in e-government. Transactional services development and promotion has also been in the focus of specific projects and initiatives (e.g., European Commission, 2004) or supporting frameworks (e.g., UK online, http://www.govtalk.gov.uk/schemasstandards/egif.asp). E-government services have now been developed to cover the basic services that should be delivered to citizens and enterprises (Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, 2004). Administrations realise however, that besides making new e-services available or enhancing existing ones, a number of issues regarding e-services has to be addressed, including: 1. E-Service Composition: In many cases, different public services need to be combined to fully service the needs of a service consumer (citizen or enterprise) in a particular point in time. This issue is often termed “handling of life events” (Wimmer & Tambouris, 2002). 2. E-Service Cataloguing: Mechanisms enabling service consumers to locate the available e-services should be provided (Gant & Gant, 2002). These mechanisms should cater for the needs of all service consumers, such as incorporation of multiple taxonomies for e-services (e.g., by delivering organisation, life events, by service category, etc.), provision of search facilities, retrieval of relevant legislative information, etc. 3. Change Management: Legislation regarding governmental services is often revised, necessitating changes to the content or procedures of services (Vassilakis, 2003). E-services are more prone to changes since the regulatory framework of e-service provision can also be subject to modifications (e.g., stronger encryption or stricter authentication requirements). Whenever changes occur, the affected services (or service portions) must be located and undergo maintenance activities. Cascading effects may also appear, (e.g., if service A depends on service B and service B is modified, harmonisation actions may be needed for service A). 4. Administrative Responsibility: The administrative responsibility must be clearly reflected in all phases of e-services lifecycle (Cassese & Savino, 2005), since it determines both the authoritative source to define (or revise) requirements and procedures and the canonical bureau for operating the e-service, resolving issues, etc. In some cases, operation of services can be delegated by the administratively responsible authority to other agencies, (e.g., the ministry of internal affairs is administratively responsible for the service “issuance of birth certificates”, but municipalities or citizen service centres can be endorsed to also deliver this service.

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