Recommendation 11

Recommendation 11: Reuse existing authentic data, data services and relevant technical solutions where possible

Why:

  • Carrying out a re-usability check reduces the risk of isolated ICT development
  • Online catalogues provide lists of re-usable solutions and standards. These catalogues provide access to solutions that have undergone a reusability assessment and that are mature enough to be reused
  • Engaging with communities of interest and re-using solutions from other public administrations can help public administrations share best practices and receive guidance when developing ICT solutions
  • Authentic data registers and common data services can help maximise the potential for reuse of data since they offer common, trusted sources of information
  • Using existing single sources of authentic data, data services and relevant technical solutions reduces the development, maintenance and operating costs of new solutions (in terms of integrating data sources). This helps to focus on more value-adding tasks instead of ‘reinventing the wheel’
  • Using single sources of authentic data improves data quality, assuming these sources are managed properly
  • Using single sources of authentic data increases the potential for interoperability between administrations and for providing a more efficient service to users
  • Persistent identifiers ensure that data resources are more visible and connectable. Furthermore, they promote semantic interoperability

How:

  • Before developing new ICT systems or digital public services, check whether there are existing solutions that could be reused
  • Use an online catalogue of re-usable technical solutions to find relevant solutions. The European Commission maintains a catalogue of re-usable technical solutions on Joinup. This includes solutions that facilitate geolocation integration and implementation of the INSPIRE Directive. The solutions are centred around communities of interest such as:
    • The Community of Interoperable Solution Repositories (CISR): a community that brings together digital government professionals to disseminate good practices on sharing and re-using ICT solutions. The CISR community can provide an entry point into the Joinup catalogue of solutions
    • The ARE3NA community holds a list of interoperability solutions in the geospatial and digital government domain in line with the EIF interoperability layers and the tasks associated with the publication and re-use of INSPIRE data and services
  • Reusable solutions in Joinup are mapped to the European Interoperability Reference Architecture (EIRA) using the European Interoperability Cartography (EIC) tool. This mechanism should be used for both finding and sharing solutions. In this way, users can benefit from solutions developed by others as well as contribute to their improvement
  • Use authentic data registers and data services to ensure that the location information part of the digital public service is trusted and authentic and avoid duplication of data and related management processes (“collect once, use many times”). Authentic data registers and data services are essential building blocks that can include important location datasets and data for various domains. Some examples of data registers providing access to trusted data are:
  • Use persistent unique identifiers when reusing location data solutions. Using common unique identifiers for the same data (spatial and non-spatial) allows unambiguous references to the same resources over time. They provide a long-lasting globally unique reference to a digital resource, applicable to all uses and potential uses of the data. The European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) has developed guidance on governance of persistent identifiers to be used in Spatial Data Infrastructures
  • Persistent unique identifiers can also be used to connect data that were not previously connected and support analysis relating to the connections between the data, e.g. between health and location. These data juxtaposition techniques have their history in studies such as John Snow’s analysis of cholera deaths in London, pointing to drinking water from a particular pump, through to more formalised relational modelling techniques in use from the 1970s, and more recently linked data and associated technologies that support increasingly open ended applications
  • Make use of Data as a Service (DaaS) as design approach or a style of information architecture geared toward transformation of raw data into meaningful data assets for agile/timely data provisioning, and the delivery of these data assets on demand via consistent, prebuilt access, with the aid of standard processing and connectivity protocols. Data as a Service provides ways to share, collect and compose data from a variety of sources in varying formats. DaaS is intended to facilitate repeatable delivery of an established data product and DaaS is generally designed to provide output for targeted context

Find examples of reusable solutions in the EULF Descriptions of reusable location information solutions

Challenges:

  • Sharing of solutions and associated documentation involves some effort and cost. The rewards of a “sharing culture” are not always appreciated
  • Required data quality may come at a price that is not affordable
  • The existing single authentic data source may not be fit for purpose in relation to a particular new requirement – i.e. it may be too complex, too simplistic, have data gaps etc
  • There may be many legacy systems operating off different isolated data that make the transition to single data sources difficult to justify and manage in a reasonable timeframe
  • Location data is usually combined with other data in digital public services, both multi-purpose data (e.g. citizen data) and thematic data (e.g. energy usage). To get the fullest benefit of a cross-government authentic data strategy requires a clear business case, very strong backing and an intensive delivery programme. Denmark, for example, has been successful with its Basic Data Programme. Such a programme would be more challenging in countries with much larger populations and areas. Governmental structures may also be part of the challenge

Best Practices:

Further reading:

Nature of documentation: Technical report

Categorisation

Type of document
Document
Licence
European Union Public License, Version 1.1 or later (EUPL) 
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