Extension of the Electronic Government Ontology

Tracking #: 2262-3475

Carlos Brys
Ismael Navas
José F. Aldana-Montes

Responsible editor: 
Oscar Corcho

Submission type: 
Ontology Description
E-government services are subject to a growing level of complexity, which requires a disruptive approach that better approach the citizen needs with respect to the government administration. Nowadays, available technologies facilitate the description and online execution of administrative tasks, saving time and reducing the possibility of errors. This reduces the administrative costs, but requires a complex electronic government system. We propose the use of semantic technologies to describe the e-government organizational units and services in the context of the Open Government Data and Services. The use of semantics improves the government management, service delivering and the decision-making processes. This paper presents an extension of a previous work, introducing the evolution of the Ontology for Electronic Government (EGO): integrating other existing ontologies, supporting new features to describe e-government services and widening the usage scenarios. This extension enables the use in a real scenario: the electronic government in the Province of Misiones (Argentina). However, the use in the domain of electronic government in a provincial context is also a prove of concept that this approach is general enough to expand into superior domains of countries that adopt the republican system of government with the division of government into the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
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Solicited Reviews:
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Review #1
By Jindrich Mynarz submitted on 11/Aug/2019
Major Revision
Review Comment:

The submission describes how subsets of open data, such as Wikidata or Mapillary, relevant to the government in the Argentinian province of Misiones, and exposed via a mobile application can support citizens searching for government offices that offer specific public services, such as issuing an ID card. The relevant subsets were extracted and described via the Electronic Government Ontology (EGO). The same entities in the subsets were interlinked: via owl:sameAs in the RDF sources and via custom keys in the non-RDF ones, such as the Mapillary or the Paperworks Guide system currently used by the Argentinian government.

The submission has major shortcomings. Preparation of the relevant data is not described. There is no discussion of the quality and completeness of this data. Evaluation is missing, e.g., with respect to the targeted use cases. There is no link to the developed mobile application, only screenshots, making it difficult to tell how complete the work is. In general, since personally identifiable information, such as DNI, is used in the mobile application, it would be useful to describe how the proposed governmental services handle security. The ontologies developed to describe the reused data, such as the Mapillary ontology (), are rudimentary and hardly conform to any ontology design methodology. There are no labels for the defined TBox, neither there are relations between properties and classes.

The text includes several unsubstantiated claims regarding the benefits of linked open data and the presented work. References to relevant literature or authors' evaluation are missing for these claims. For example:

- "the use of ontologies and Linked Open Data [...] will substantially improve the access and provision of government services" (p. 2)
- "That model is suitable as a supportive framework for the integration and interoperability of public services provided by administration offices distributed over large geographic areas." (p. 2) How is EGO related to distribution over large geographic areas?
- "complete information on paperwork required to use these services" (p. 2) Is it really complete?
- "[Open data initiatives and portals are] the most viable way to deploy the Open Government" (p. 3)
- "last 10 years there are no major advances in this line of research." (p. 5) There seem to be several more recent e-government ontologies:
- "They also assume that users will search and use the services from their personal computers using a web page, so these models do not consider the mobility variable" (p. 6) How can an ontology consider support for mobile apps? Ontologies are typically designed to be application-agnostic. How does EGO support mobile users? If for example, location data is meant to support mobile users, this is a matter of instance data, not ontologies.
- "the proposed model is a successful step in the evolution of the electronic government" (p. 11) How is success evaluated?
- "to guarantee the internationalization of the denomination of the ontologies we adopted the ISO/IEC 3166-2 standard" (p. 11) How is the internationalization incorporated? The presented ontologies are in Spanish, including the local names of TBox.


p. 2: "based on an Electronic Government Ontology" Are there several Electronic Government Ontologies?
p. 2: Is the name of the ontology "Electronic Government Ontology" or the "Ontology of the Electronic Government"?
p. 2: What is "New Model of Public Administration Services"? Searching for this as a phrase returns no results.
p. 3: What is the methodology proposed by ? It seems hardly a "methodology". Rather it is a concrete stack of tools (Jena, OpenLink Virtuoso etc.) and their configuration (e.g., hosting at a university server).
p. 3: What does "share without further notice" mean?
p. 3: "Its contextual and cultural foundations. the development and dynamics" Probably a comma was mean to be used instead of the period.
p. 3: The link is dead. The 8 Principles of Open Government Data are currently available at .
p. 3: A Google search indicates that "Linked Open Government Data" is around hundred times more common than "Linked Government Open Data", so it is perhaps best to stick to established terminology.
p. 4: "without having to pay a license for use." Paying for a licence is a perfectly viable option in commercial or government applications.
p. 4: "Google Street View and Bing Map Streetside are the companies" These are product, not companies.
p. 4: Do the terms of service for the mentioned online maps really allow only "entertainment use"?
p. 4: "one of the semantic wikis The best-known autonomous system" - "is the best-known"?
p. 4: "being compatible with free websites" is a vague formulation.
p. 4: The link to vCard goes to W3C's RDF version, not to the original IETF version () referenced in the article.
p. 5: The link to OntoGov () is for the generic Swiss authorities website.
p. 5: The linked no longer describes the oeGov project, which is now archived at . Similarly, the link to the EGO Ontology Model is no longer valid, and the link to the Terregov project no longer works. Please either provide working links, such as via the Wayback Machine (), or leave these links out if a relevant publication is referenced.
p. 5: "Spatial data infrastructure" is better established than "space data infrastructure" used in the article.
p. 6: Blanks in the table 1 should be filled.
p. 8: The ?placeType variable in the SPARQL query is not used.
p. 9: Watch out for Spanish English, such as "Gobernmental" in Figure 3.
p. 9: is not valid due to the undefined gn entity.
p. 9: The instances foaf:12345678 and map: 0H1_OUh05y64JJPzvdfSvg are not present in the data linked via footnotes.
p. 10: There is a problem with formatting. Unlike the others, this page uses double spacing.
p. 12: There is an encoding issue with the reference 14 containing "DeveloperâA˘Zs".

Review #2
By Enrico Daga submitted on 04/Oct/2019
Review Comment:

This manuscript was submitted as 'Ontology Description' and should be reviewed along the following dimensions: (1) Quality and relevance of the described ontology (convincing evidence must be provided). (2) Illustration, clarity and readability of the describing paper, which shall convey to the reader the key aspects of the described ontology.

The article reports on an ontology for e-goverment. The main topic is interesting but the work does not seem to have sufficient maturity for publication.
The main issues are:
* There is no mention of the methodology adopted to build the ontology. How the requirements have been collected/formalised? A discussion of this in the light of good practices in ontology engineering should be included.
* The authors make the argument of the "generality" of the ontology. Define and explain the scope (competence) of the ontology is an important thing, I believe governmental institutions are involved in a large number of activities while the use case illustrated covers only finding offices and documentation about (some? all?) procedures. I appreciate this is an important matter but describing one use case does not seem enough to demonstrate the generality of the model. Personally, I don't even believe the most important property of an ontology is to be general. Instead, a good model should be appropriate for the task. Both the task and the solution are not presented well enough.
* The paper fails on describing how the ontology informs the system (app) produced. It is given for granted that having an ontology is a good thing. A perfectly working app may be produced without it, isn't it? What's so special about having an ontology?
* The discussion of related work is insufficient as the authors don't go into any details related to the coverage and expressivity of the model (types, relations, etc...).
* Another way of putting it: what is the contribution (ontology) that others can learn from? How can it be reused / extended / etc...?
* Finally, both the quality and the relevance of the ontology are not sufficiently supported in the article in its present form.

Other remarks:
* Motivations for the work are valid and interesting but the article does not seem to deliver. The details about the ontology and related application do not match the expectations developed in the Introduction and Related Work, particularly in the orchestration element and on the Semantic Web Service architecture.
* About the Related Work section, I don't dislike the historical perspective, also considering this is a Journal article, although it would be easier to structure the literature separating the domain element (e-services of Public Administrations) and the ontology engineering / semantic web element. About the latter, authors should include references to well-established ontology engineering methodologies such as [1][2][3][4] and how they relate to their work.
* The statement at P4, line 30-32, left column, seems a bit shallow: "The applications developed by users aimed at planning, transport, security or emergencies need georeferenced images without having to pay a license for use. This is where services originated in crowd-sourcing appear." Enterprises may find paying for such content totally acceptable. Please introduce the crowd-sourcing element referring to some key publication in the field.
* It is not clear how OpenStreetCam, Wikidata, Semantic Mediawiki, and vCard are related to the presented work.
* On Semantic Mediawiki, please cite [5].
* The initial sentence of Section 2.3 can probably be simplified, it is convoluted with no reason.
* Figure 1 is not a sufficient account of the ontology and the requirements What, Who, How, etc... should be explained in relation to the supported use case.
* I recommend introducing a guide use case, presented in the first part of the article and the used in the latter parts to exemplify the features of the ontology and its application.
* Section 3.3 is confused and the formal math-style explanation of the SPARQL query unneeded. By the way, if that was an SQL query everything would have worked in the same way. I fail to understand what is the benefit of having RDF-based technologies here if there is any.
* The conclusions include a description of the types of the ontology (finally!) but that seems not the right place.
* From the conclusions: "The main limitation of this model is the existence of few scenarios of available services, so there is a need to work to scale the ontology to represent all kinds of procedures and services offered by the public administration.". In the related work section, the authors remark that existing open government ontologies are not exhaustive. I guess this is why past attempts failed. Any new thought/lesson learnt?

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[3] Presutti, Valentina, Enrico Daga, Aldo Gangemi, and Eva Blomqvist. "eXtreme design with content ontology design patterns." In Proc. Workshop on Ontology Patterns, pp. 83-97. 2009.
[4] Suárez-Figueroa, Mari Carmen, Asunción Gómez-Pérez, and Mariano Fernández-López. "The NeOn methodology for ontology engineering." In Ontology engineering in a networked world, pp. 9-34. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2012.
[5] Krötzsch, Markus, Denny Vrandečić, and Max Völkel. "Semantic mediawiki." In International semantic web conference, pp. 935-942. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2006.