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topicmaps] e-government

Petter Thorsrud is a senior advisor to the Norwegian government and responsible for the government’s Web site. He’s going to talk about the “State of the Nation” with regard to semantic interoperability. There was a forum last fall with many governmental groups participating, including education, municipal services, parliament, tax services, etc. Things are moving along.


Marit Lofnes Mellingen [maybe — that’s who’s listed in the program, but they didn’t introduce her by name] gives some examples of semantic interoperability. Semantics is about agreeing on names, she says. The agreement should be minimal so you don’t have to agree on the entire universe.

She points to examples in the health sector. In one case, there are 400 subjects organized into two levels of categories, with synonyms, as well as document type, date, organizational relation (= facet). It uses Dublin Core for documents. “MyPage” is a personalized info portal for citizens. It uses the LOS ontology.

Challenges: Extending the adoption of the common ontologies, merging them with others, driving the categories down to the right level of granularity (so users don’t get too much info). To do this, she thinks we should identify “semantic glue” on a lower level. Also, she’d like to see the ontologies published and made free to use, to enable mashups.

Robert Keil (ex of Razor Fish) says behavior is shifting: People now enter pages through searches, not only through the home page. And the number of portals is increasing. Users want info from the government, but there are many portals to the government.

He shows the Parliament portal” Stortinget.no. It tries to create semantic interoperability around topics. They try to make sure all the retrieved documents are relevant to the query. They use topic maps for this. The status of a matter is presented graphically, with the relevant documents arranged via the info in a topic map. They want to be able to show every parliamentary question with all the relevant info.

Altinn is an Internet portal for “public reporting.” You can get your forms and services there for 20 Norwegian government agencies. The information portal is based on topic maps. It’s smart about the dependency of forms on one another.

Status: Robert quotes Petter: “Before sustems can exchange data, the people behind the systems need to echange information.” Robert says there’s a lot of enthusiasm in the government for semanticizing its information. “We are past the tipping point.” [Tags: ]

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