News Release: W3C eGovernment Activity to Help Empower Citizens

W3C eGovernment Activity to Help Empower Citizens

Public Forum to Develop Best Web Practices for Good Governance, Citizen 

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W3C eGovernment Activity

W3C eGovernment Interest Group -- 3 June 2008 -- Today W3C launches a new forum for 
governments, citizens, researchers, and other stakeholders to 
investigate how best to use Web technology for good governance and 
citizen participation.

"I encourage people from government agencies to join this W3C forum to 
make the Web better serve the people," said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C 
Director. "Open Standards, and in particular Semantic Web Standards, can 
help lower the cost of government, make it easier for independent 
agencies to work together, and increase flexibility in the face of 
change. Publishing Linked Data on the Web enables creative re-use of it 
— citizen mashups, and commercial mashups, which combine the data from 
many sources to stunning new uses. By joining this forum, you can learn 
good "eGovernance" and how to build an Open Standards platform on top of 
your existing tools and services."

This forum is open to the public. W3C invites any person or organization 
interested in eGovernment to join the new eGovernment Interest Group. 
The group is the culmination of several years of work by W3C in this 
area, including two Workshops on eGovernment in 2007, one in Europe and 
one in North America.

Early eGovernment Successes Reveal Challenges Ahead

eGovernment refers to the use of the Web or other information 
technologies by governing bodies to interact with citizens, between 
departments and divisions, and between governments themselves. Like any 
information provider, governments have found it useful and efficient to 
interact with customers — citizens — via the Internet, allowing them to 
file tax returns online, take drivers education classes, apply for a 
visa, and vote. Access to information, and efficient and secure 
interactions, contribute to fair governance.

These achievements demonstrate the value to governments of providing 
information and services over the Web, but there is a lot of room for 
improvement. Exposure to the rapid evolution of services and 
functionality on the public Web has led citizens to expect and ask for 
improvements ranging from basic provisioning services to more advanced 
solutions, and cooperation between the commercial and public sectors.

Open Web Standards Key to Better Public Services

Interoperable, Open Web Standards have benefitted governments around the 
world in the past several years, including those from W3C in the areas 
of XML, Semantic Web, Accessibility, Internationalization, and Mobile 
access. These standards make it possible for people with diverse 
capabilities, using various devices, to access information. Open 
standards also make it more likely that data will remain available long 
into the future, increasing the value of investments in the creation and 
gathering of data.

Semantic Web standards in particular lend themselves to data aggregation 
— mashups — and thus to collaboration (planned and unplanned) among 
government agencies and with other eGovernment actors. Semantic Web 
technology also helps in the management of accountability, which can 
help reduce errors and mistakes and build trust.

The new Interest Group, co-Chaired by Kevin Novak (American Institute of 
Architects) and José M. Alonso (W3C/CTIC), will develop good practices 
and guidelines for the use of Open Web Standards in governance, identify 
and document where current technology does not adequately address 
stakeholder needs. The Interest Group will seek to work closely with 
other W3C Working Groups and international organizations; some potential 
liaisons listed in the charter include: the European Commission, the 
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), OASIS, 
the Organization of American States (OAS), the International Council for 
Information Technology in Government Administration (ICA), and the World 
Bank eDevelopment Thematic Group.

Press Contacts:
Contact Americas, Australia -- Ian Jacobs, <>, +1.718.260.9447
Contact Europe, Africa and the Middle East -- Marie-Claire Forgue, 
<>, +33 6 76 86 33 41
Contact Asia -- Yasuyuki Hirakawa <>, +81.466.49.1170

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where 
Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to 
develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the 
creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term 
growth for the Web. Over 400 organizations are Members of the 
Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and 
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European 
Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) 
headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan,and has additional 
Offices worldwide. For more information see


Received on Tuesday, 3 June 2008 15:26:20 UTC