If the Government is to make maximum use of the information we hold we must be able to find it, share it responsibly, trust it, know what we publish and allow users to locate and consume that information. We require rules to make sure we describe our information in a standardised way to support sharing and re-use, and to enable us to understand the information created by others.
Citizen - finding and using government information using semantic web search will be enhanced.
Government business - managing, storing and sharing government information will be made easier and more effective with a shared standard including machinery of government changes and systems migration.
Government partners and suppliers - a clear information/data interoperability standard used by government will help systems integrators, suppliers, service providers and partners to create usable systems and reduce costs of re-engineering.
Consumers need to be clear about the ownership and licensing conditions associated with government information and data, particularly when it is published.
Secure and cost-effective management of the full range of information we create and hold (documents, datasets, images etc.)
Effective management of our information for the full life-cycle, from creation, sharing and re-use to timely disposal or archiving.
Interoperability, enabling migration between different environments. For example, sharing or publishing, movement between internal systems, transfer between departments for business use or, ultimately, for permanent preservation as the historical record of government.
Discovery of internal information through effective search and categorisation (collaborative working environments, content management, document management, intranets, etc.)
Government is publishing increasing amounts of information in different forms, from official publications, to open data. Descriptions of information is increasingly used by search engines like Google (with initiatives like schema.org) and improves discovery.
Clear indications of the licence and any third party rights associated with our information.
A single government standard for describing our information will streamline procurement activities, enabling departments to tailor or re-use a common approach to data management, data description and data sharing when defining their requirements.
We require rules to make sure metadata is created in a standardised way. Metadata is simply a structured description (of a document or collection of information). Without metadata, discovery and reuse of information is much harder. The purpose of metadata is to help users to locate data and validate information. This supports sharing and re-use, and enables us to understand the information created by others.
Any mandatory elements should be:
1) Low barrier
2) Included by default in most business systems (including cloud based, social media, Software as a Service, etc)
3) Support reuse and transparency across government, including lower costs for data migration activities at system end of life.
The standard should be open, flexible, future-proof, fit for purpose and require no or minimal maintenance by the Government’s standards authority. It should be tailored to UK Government business requirements. For example, a set of minimum elements for description of digital objects such as images, datasets, geospatial data, sound files, documents. It should define a set of fields that can be used and the format of those fields so that government bodies can ensure a standard presentation that can be used across systems when moving, sharing or searching for data.
The Government’s current metadata standard (e-GMS v3.1, last updated in 2006) is outdated and needs to be revised to support transparency and reuse of data across government and public sector bodies.
The e-GMS v3.1 includes guidance on encoding schemes. In 2012 the Public Sector Information Domain - Metadata Standards Working Group agreed to remove the requirement for the use of IPSV and recommended SKOS. The full announcement can be accessed on the Wikipedia e-GMS page. Other small, incremental changes to the current version of the standard would be possible; however, a more significant revision is required to deliver the benefits described below.
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