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Re: Fw: New Research Alert: The Fate of the Semantic Web

From: Chris Beer <chris@e-beer.net.au>
Date: Sun, 09 May 2010 15:39:19 +1000
Message-ID: <4BE64A87.2030503@e-beer.net.au>
To: rachel.flagg@gsa.gov
Cc: public-egov-ig@w3.org, Joe Carmel <joe.carmel@comcast.net>
Hi Rachel, all

Apologies in advance to everyone I owe replies to - very hectic time on 
the work and home front. I haven't forgotten anyone, just haven't gotten 
to things yet.

+1 Rachel, and well said. This is an issue I've been struggling with 
myself - case in point being the lack of response from group and list 
members on discussing best practices in regards to specific government 
service delivery technologies such as publishing information in PDF, or 
designing for the mobile web.

The semantic web and linked data aspects of the IG are awesome, and 
certainly I think all would agree that this aspect of the groups work is 
to be applauded and recognised for the contribution it is making to the 
e-Government effort. And really, I believe that a great deal of it's 
success stems from outreach, vibrant discussion and having a clear goal 
in mind. Yes, the work is supported by other W3C areas in terms of 
development, but I think they have shown that our group enhances the 
work, rather than rehashing, or relying on it.

So why can't we do the same for all of the other aspects of the IG's 

In terms of practical solutions:
a) we have a wealth of information sitting in the list archives, and on 
the wiki as orphaned/old pages that could be put to good use.
b) we have a primary document (http://www.w3.org/TR/gov-data/ ) still 
sitting in draft that is already being referenced extensively world wide 
by governments.
c) we have nothing on the practical basics, such as why one should use 
standards, regardless of what standards they are. Or why improving 
service delivery is a good thing.
d) We have the opportunity, and I would say, almost an obligation, to 
send some 130 or so emails to the CIO's of every country in the world 
inviting their relevant information management agency to join the W3C 
and actively participate in the IG and other W3C activities.
e) We have internationalisation aspects we could work on - getting 
things such as the Gov Data draft translated to, and circulated in, as 
many languages as possible.
f) There exists the practical demonstrations of IG ideas and aims in 
efforts such as legislink or citability.org - practical solutions to 
practical problems such as keeping government records findable and useful.
f) Even something simple like a visual road map of e-government - 
technology levels and what they enable as well as common 
implementations. ("You are here: Online Engagement 1.0 - E-mail list 
g) As mentioned at last telecon, developing a e-Government Utopia eg 
erehwon.gov.au (the classic "nowhere" backwards btw) site - a demo site 
of a virtual government and agencies to show how implementations of 
common standards and practices could be done.

All in all I feel we need to do something more. I am reminded that even 
in today's day and age there are emerging nations even today - using 
East Timor / Timore Leste as an example - for a nation to come into 
existence and at a time when online service delivery is so common and 
the entry barriers so small, how much would a nation like that benefit 
in having not only best practices and standards from an organisation 
like the W3C available in a single place, but access, mentoring and 
outreach available from the international community ready to assist in 
getting them onto the e-government path.

Just some thoughts I know, but I think Rachels point does bear 
discussing, and more importantly, actioning into concrete outcomes.



On 7/05/2010 12:59 AM, rachel.flagg@gsa.gov wrote:
> eGov group members,
> I just read this new report from Pew (link below), and all the 
> comments from survey respondents, and it got me thinking about our 
> eGov group.  Lately the email conversations and conference calls 
> within our group have been dominated with talk of linked data and the 
> semantic web....and I think we are moving away from our core mission.
> I am wondering how the semantic web can, in a PRACTICAL way, really 
> help us improve electronic government in the next few months of our 
> Charter... especially given that the semantic web still seems to be, 
> to a great extent, theoretical.  I am a big fan of practicality - and 
> since our Charter has a time limit - if we are going to develop some 
> serious, practical standards to help governments around the world 
> improve their online service delivery... is the semantic web really 
> the best way to get there?
> I welcome your thoughts on how we can get our group back on track, 
> working toward our THREE areas of focus:
>  - Usage of Web Standards (Government Websites and use of best 
> practices and standards)
>  - Transparency and Participation (Enabling discovery, communications, 
> and interaction)
>  - Seamless Integration of Data (Use of data standards, Semantic Web, 
> XML)
> Read the report: "The Fate of the Semantic Web" 
> http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Semantic-Web/Overview.aspx?r=1
> Thanks!
> -Rachel
> -------------------------------
> Rachel Flagg
> Forum Community Manager
> & Co-Chair, Federal Web Managers Council
> Government Web Best Practices Team
> Office of Citizen Services
> U.S. General Services Administration
> rachel.flagg@gsa.gov
> www.webcontent.gov - Better websites. Better government.
Received on Sunday, 9 May 2010 05:39:52 UTC

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