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RE: Public meeting agendas, minutes and XML

From: David Pullinger <David.Pullinger@coi.gsi.gov.uk>
Date: Wed, 07 Oct 2009 12:50:49 +0100
Message-Id: <4ACC8EA8.9179.0047.0@coi.gsi.gov.uk>
To: <daniel@citizencontact.com>,"Owen Ambur" <Owen.Ambur@verizon.net>
Cc: "'Betsy Fanning'" <bfanning@aiim.org>, "Arthur Colman" <colman@drybridge.com>, "'Steven Clift'" <clift@e-democracy.org>, <johnpaul.deley@eia.doe.gov>, "Adam J.' 'Schwartz" <aschwartz@gpo.gov>, "'Metagovernment Startup Committee'" <start@metagovernment.org>, "'Jane Harnad'" <jane.harnad@oasis-open.org>, "Sylvia Webb" <sylvia.webb@vision4standards.com>, "'eGovIG IG'" <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
I agree with Daniel's response. 

Here in UK we have developed some RDFa for public sector consultation descriptions for the same reason which is to enable human-readable content to be machine processable.  This will not only allow many to re-use the information appropriately for the services they want to offer, but also gives the government a means of aggregating a list of all the consultations into one place to find out how citizens and stakeholders can contribute to consultations.  You can find the draft standard we are using at: 

A lot of work that has been done in developing the XML can be re-used for RDFa - for example all the business analysis of what information is worth identifying as separate elements and what end-users and developers want to be able to do with it at the end is some of the most time-consuming parts of the overall work, preceding the development of the appropriate ontology.  

For interest, although irrelevant to this strand, we have also developed a Job Vacancy Description RDFa which is in use across various parts of the UK public sector.  This allows and encourages re-use by third parties, which increases accountability and reduces cost to the taxpayer in filling posts.  You can find it at:

Kind regards,


David Pullinger
Head of Digital Policy
Central Office of Information
Hercules House
7 Hercules Road
London SE1 7DU
020 7261 8513
07788 872321
Twitter #digigov and blogs:  www.coi.gov.uk/blogs/digigov

>>> <daniel@citizencontact.com> 07/10/2009 12:17 >>>
I think that any meeting information should be in XHTML since that is the human readable form that people actually read and will use. It is easy then to make the same web page be machine processable. There are already widely accepted standards for much of the event, GIS, textual, video and other components of a meeting. 

For example, the web page can include RDFa and/or Microformats for all of the information as well as link to iCal/vcard and other non-human readable formats for backwards compatibility.  The page URL for that web page can also be used as a metadata nugget for tagging/citing things that happen at the event. And you can use id attributes to allow parts of the meeting to be found (e.g.. http://example.gov/20100217/meeting.htm#agenda-1 )/or even to have multiple events in the same page. And then those portions of the meeting can be separately tagged/cited (note that pure XML non-HTML document is harder to cite from within an HTML doc-see XLINK). 

If for some reason it feels necessary to create new standards in XML for this data, I would recommend ALWAYS using a standard XSLT into XHTML and then including all the Microformat and/or RDFa standards in the resultant/generated XHTML. The XHTML would could exactly as described as above. This way there would not need to be the segregation of data from humans.

Also some interesting work has been done on creating transcripts of videotaped meetings in a crowd sourced manner and for public posting of meetings by metavid and openmeetings.

Daniel Bennett

eCitizen Foundation

-----Original Message-----
From: "Owen Ambur" <Owen.Ambur@verizon.net>
Sent: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 8:55pm
To: "'Steven Clift'" <clift@e-democracy.org>, "'eGovIG IG'" <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
Cc: JohnPaul.Deley@eia.doe.gov, "'Schwartz, Adam J.'" <aschwartz@gpo.gov>, "'Betsy Fanning'" <bfanning@aiim.org>, "'Jane Harnad'" <jane.harnad@oasis-open.org>, "Arthur Colman" <colman@drybridge.com>, "Sylvia Webb" <sylvia.webb@vision4standards.com>, "'Metagovernment Startup Committee'" <start@metagovernment.org>
Subject: RE: Public meeting agendas, minutes and XML

Steven, I don't know how much time I might be able to devote to it, but
since I have long believed there should be a standard XML schema (XSD) for
posting meeting notices on the Web, I'd have a hard time not participating
in any reasonable effort to specify such a standard.

While the initial iteration of the standard should be as simple and easy to
implement as possible, it would be good to consider enabling referencing of
the <Identifiers> for goals and objectives documented on the Web in
conformance with AIIM's emerging Strategy Markup Language (StratML)
standard.  See http://xml.gov/stratml/index.htm &

Since meetings are (or at least should be) conducted to support
accomplishment of explicitly identified goals and objectives, it would be
good if meeting notices and agendas could reference those goals and
objectives -- which should themselves be documented in standard, readily
referenceable XML format on the Web (e.g., StratML).

Needless to say, that is an objective to which I will be more than happy to
contribute to the best of my ability.

BTW, as you may recall, E-Democracy.org's plan is in the StratML collection
at http://xml.gov/stratml/drybridge/index.htm#Other or, more specifically,

Owen Ambur
Co-Chair Emeritus, xmlCoP  
Co-Chair, AIIM StratML Committee
Member, AIIM iECM Committee 
Invited Expert, W3C eGov IG
Communications/Membership Director, FIRM Board  
Former Project Manager, ET.gov 

-----Original Message-----
From: public-egov-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:public-egov-ig-request@w3.org] 
On Behalf Of Steven Clift
Sent: Tuesday, October 06, 2009 4:38 PM
To: eGovIG IG
Subject: Public meeting agendas, minutes and XML

I am putting final touches on an invited grant proposal that includes
an effort to make public meeting agendas more accessible as well as
encourage discussion of agenda items across the Web 2.0 world in a
more structured and visible way. Folks should be able to plunk in
their address and be told in one place (actually lots of places from
local media sites to government sites) what meetings are coming up
across ALL the local government organizations that serve them (with
state and Federal options too) and be able to set-up personalized
notification options.

Initially, we'd start with an open specification/convening process
where we'd involve a number of stakeholders and I would like to
appropriately suggest we will consult with this network on standards
to apply or consider.

Any reason I shouldn't do that?

Then, based on the specification we'd attempt to prototype it with
some serious meeting notice/calendar, agenda, minutes, and links to
meeting document scraping across Minneapolis and perhaps St. Paul.
Ideally, a standard would emerge for governments to simply put out
this data in real-time in XML so scraping is only an interim need ...
although with 30,000 local governments in the U.S. and lots of crowd
sourcing, the scraping will be the only way to get many small
governments into the service for many years.

The modest proposal we are developing is a sub-set of the broader
discussion Participation 3.0 draft we have from here:

If you like this idea and would like to volunteer your expertise or
technology talent, let me know!  It will make it far more likely the
idea will get off the ground sooner than later and not be another
isolated service coming from out of the blue. E-mail me at:

I'll let the group know if we succeed with our proposal.

Steven Clift - http://stevenclift.com 
Executive Director - http://E-Democracy.Org 
Donate today: http://e-democracy.org/donate 

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Received on Thursday, 8 October 2009 09:43:49 UTC

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