Monday, August 5, 2013

Vocabulary for describing Civic Services

When people are in need of government services, they often turn to search engines, but the top result may not be for the service of interest. A new vocabulary, similar to the European Commission ISA Core Public Service vocabulary, has been proposed to improve search engines’ understanding of these services. It is intended to provide enough information to determine the service, the area covered by the service, and relevant information for using the service. The Civic Services proposal is available from W3C's Wiki; any future updates and status reports will be made available in the same way.

We are always open to ideas for expanding's descriptive vocabulary. Day-to-day public discussion of such extensions happens in the W3C WebSchemas group, using a combination of e-mail and Wiki pages to explore new schema ideas. However we are aware that not everyone will follow those detailed discussions, and it is often important to get wider review of proposed schemas. The full Civic Services proposal (see full PDF) gives details of scope and markup examples - currently the focus is on describing the availability of services, and on various kinds of permit. The vocabulary is designed to integrate with other aspects of, e.g. our medical/health and Audience vocabularies, as well as the mechanisms for describing opening hours and locations shared by various kinds of local business and government office. An example HTML snippet describing a hotline, including the languages offered and provider is available in the WebSchemas Wiki at W3C. would like to encourage review and commentary around this new proposed vocabulary; in particular we would like to hear from potential publishers of such data from around the world. Comments are welcomed here, in the W3C Wiki, by public email to (preferred) or to