An Interview with Danica Saponja, Editor-in-Chief of the NIO portal in Slovenia.
The NIO portal was developed to support the national interoperability framework in Slovenia.
“Standardisation in e-government in my opinion is a necessity and it is feasible. This is the condition to ensure interoperable solutions. Exchanging solutions, concepts and experiences is the prerequisite for innovation and progress in the public sector”, says Danica Saponja.
“NIO is the Slovenian portal dedicated to publishing interoperability solutions and products for the public sector. In other words, it is a connected catalogue of solutions and best practices, which are available for reuse. This is the reason why the NIO portal was developed”, Danica says.
“The portal enables the publication of different standards and guidelines for interoperability, interoperability assets – technical, semantic, legal and organisational.”
“Publishing the standards, good practices and rules, makes it simpler for other administrations in the country to exchange their best solutions. The search for solutions gets easier and makes the access to content for reuse possible”, she adds.
Quality public services and encouraging cooperation, among the Slovenian government’s priorities
In Slovenia, public sector modernisation is one of the government’s priorities. The objective is to ensure further digitalisation of government services for citizens and businesses. While developing new e-services or improving existing ones, the cooperation of different stakeholders throughout the entire process is crucial. NIO is providing support at finding the right, interoperable solutions for developing digital public services.
The group of 28 dedicated experts are responsible for the interoperability governance of public services. The aims and objectives of the NIO Editorial Board are the implementation and monitoring of the national interoperability framework, education, awareness raising and promotion of NIO, strengthening national and international cooperation.
A golden typewriter does not make you a writer!
“You not only need to have a team of experts who collaborate and share their experience, best practices and advice, but also a supporting governance framework, in-line with the basic principles of public services governance.”, Danica adds.
“Sustainability, raising awareness, collaboration and coordination are, in my opinion, of upmost importance. And, of course, your communication needs to be well looked after."
“I often say to my colleagues that you can have a golden typewriter, but this is not enough to make you a good writer. We need to have a proper ecosystem for developing, maintaining, observing and supporting as best as possible the users.”
The NIO portal enables:
- the publication of standards, good practices and rules;
- the simplification of searches and, consequently, access to published content for reuse;
- the exchange of news among various Member State communities which are developing interoperability solutions for services and mutual interconnection.
"The portal enables various stakeholders to publish standards and recommendations, information and products that are necessary for coordinated development”, Danica says. “Besides publishing, the portal provides the main resources for keeping track of – and using – various interoperability solutions (technical, semantical, organisational, legal). In 2013, NIO was upgraded for the first time. The upgrade allowed us to achieve the objective to enable enhanced experience and usability of the portal in order to publish and export interoperability solutions using standard vocabularies (ADMS).”
The NIO portal’s objectives
- Interoperability governance of public services
- Transparency and openness in public administrations
- Accessibility and personal data control
- Reuse of common building blocks
- Security and privacy
- Interoperability and data exchange.
Federating our portal with Joinup gives us exposure
“For the development of the NIO portal, we had the support and help of the European Commission which co-financed the project. The NIO portal counts around 100 solutions and is in the process of being federated with the Joinup platform. The objective is, of course, to evolve towards full integration”, Danica says. “We think Joinup allows us to give additional exposure to the solutions developed in Slovenia and to raise interest among other Member States that might identify the added value of those and reuse them.”
“Of course, this task is not so easy”, Danica continued. “The biggest challenge is the interpretation of ADMS standards in the area of Slovenian governance processes. We initially adopted a categorisation of interoperable solutions – before the standards were formalised (prior to 2010) – and later on, we needed to change this categorisation.”
Danica’s advice to other public administrations
“Personally, I think public administrations that wish to federate their repositories with Joinup should better contact administrations that have already completed such a process. Hearing about others’ experience on how to approach this process would surely be very useful.”
“My advice would also be to revise their ADMS standard directly from the latest specification and check the compatibility of their internal specification. Maybe, the best approach would be to keep the internal categorisation and just define a modular translation (one-to-one mapping) to the latest specific standard’s documents.”
What are Danica’s thoughts about Joinup ?
“Its simplicity is much appreciated. Search is useful, but it could be enhanced with better categorisation (i.e., tags), or maybe some relevance order could be provided in the set of search hits.
“Joinup is an efficient tool: it helps us to disseminate our knowledge and share it with other communities, not only on the national level, but on the international one, too.”