The Semantic Interoperability Centre Europe: Reuse and the Negotiation of Meaning

The Semantic Interoperability Centre Europe: Reuse and the Negotiation of Meaning

Aldo Laudi (SEMIC.EU, European Commission, Belgium)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-887-6.ch008
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This chapter presents a case of a centralised and collaborative approach to interoperability in public administration: SEMIC.EU, the Semantic Interoperability Centre Europe.SEMIC.EU is a horizontal measure of the European Commission implemented with the primary purpose of enhancing semantic interoperability in public administrations and projects across Europe. The European Commission service calls on projects and individuals alike to share their solutions for semantic interoperability (so called “assets”) or to find them through a joint effort. A standardised clearing process governs the evolution of the contributed data models, XML schemas, code lists and ontologies and gives guidance to potential re-users.The chapter argues that especially at a high level of administration like the European one, the guiding principles for common solutions to semantic interoperability coordination must be. exchange of existing practices and community-based negotiation of purposes and meanings.
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Multiple Layers Of Administration

IDABC put pan-European eGovernment Services (PEGS) at the centre of its activities. The pan-European scope requires coordination at the European level and also opens up opportunities for a coordinated validation and quality assurance process. This has been implemented with the Semantic Interoperability Centre Europe. SEMIC.EU’s Quality Framework and Clearing Process provide the tools and environment for a collaborative enhancement of interoperability assets and at the same time, they help to avoid any restrictive top-down standardisation of data models.

It is self-evident that the inclusion of public administrations at all levels in Europe means that the activities are located at the more heterogeneous end of the spectrum of possible stakeholder environments. This heterogeneity is characterised by the following dimensions of the actors' fields of work:

  • administrative level (European/supranational, national, regional, local)

  • territory: the respective territory, e.g. Italy, Finland, Asturia, Flemish Brabant, Vienna, Warsaw

  • domain: the administrative/government domain is responsible for, e.g. business registration, health care

  • scope: the total of its responsibilities and dependencies on other authorities, executive power

  • language(s) used (both on working level and in official communications

  • service/business relationship (government, business, citizens and their respective relations in services): G2G, G2B, B2B, G2C etc.

An additional level of administration besides the local, regional and national ones generates new challenges as well as opportunities:

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