The Semantic Public Service Portal (S-PSP)

Presented at: 8th Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC2011)

by Nikos Loutas, Deirdre Lee, Fadi Maali, Vassilios Peristeras, Konstantinos Tarabanis

One of any government’s main responsibilities is the provision of public services to its citizens, for example, education, health, transportation, and social services. Additionally, with the explosion of the Internet in the past 20 years, many citizens have moved online as their main method of communication, learning, buying, selling, etc. Therefore, a logical step for governments is to move the provision of public services online. However, public services have a complex structure and may span across multiple, disparate public agencies. Moreover, the legislation that governs a public service is usually difficult for a layman to understand. Despite this, governments have attempted to create online portals to enable citizens to glean knowledge and utilise specific public services. While this is a positive progression, most portals fail to engage citizens because the portals do not manage to hide the complexity of public services from users. Many also fail to address the specific needs of users, providing instead only information about the most general use-case. In order to address these issues a more user-friendly, customisable approach is required, so that citizens may find the public services that address their individual needs. In this paper we present the Semantic Public Service Portal (S-PSP), which structures and stores detailed public-services semantically, so that they may be presented to citizens on-demand in a relevant, yet uncomplicated, manner. This ontology-based approach enables automated and logical decision-making to take place semantically in the application layer of the portal, while the user remains blissfully unaware of its complexities. An additional benefit of this approach is that the eligibility of a citizen for a particular public service may be identified early. The S-PSP provides a rich, structured and personalised public service description to the citizen, with which he/she can consume the public service as directed. In this paper, a use-case of the S-PSP in a rural community in Greece is described, demonstrating how its use can directly reduce the administrative burden of a citizen, who in this case is a rural SME.

Keywords: eGovernment, portal, public service, semantic

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