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UK government seeks ideas to fix interoperability issues

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The UK government is looking for ideas on how to apply open standards to solve interoperability problems. Last week Thursday, the government highlighted three challenges that, it supposes, open standards can resolve. For all three challenges, comments must be submitted by 5 September.

The UK is looking for comments on a proposal to make a minimal use of metadata mandatory when public administrations publish documents, information assets or datasets. This will help others to find and use the information.

The second request for comments is on character encoding - which methods or techniques to use in electronic documents and other digital information to communicate the actual text and numbers. The current proposal is to use UTF-8 and ASCII.

The third proposal is on a smart way to use web addresses (URLs) to identify data sets and parts of data sets published by public administrations. Such a method would allow data to be found without having to manage a centralised system. The UK government is considering to decide that the identifiers used for the URLs are treated as open standards, "with each identifier set that is adopted going through the open standards process".

Front door

On its website, the Standards Hub writes it aims "to adopt software interoperability, data and document format standards that connect government departments and make it easier for (citizens) to access or work with the Government." The hub also wants to make sure that the standards adoption process itself is open and transparent. "(We) want to harness a wide pool of expertise to help provide recommendations for standards adoption throughout government departments. Therefore this site acts as the 'front door' through which (citizens) can get involved."

The government, introducing the three new challenges published on the Standard Hub, writes: "In 2012, the Government agreed to implement a set of open standards for government IT to make it more open and accessible to the people and organisations who provide and use our services. The open standards we chose, for software interoperability, data and document formats, will be applied consistently across UK government IT."

 

More information:

UK government announcement
Describing and sharing information
Cross-platform character encoding proposal
Persistent resolvable identifiers proposal
Standards Hub Challenges

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