Describing Services for a Metadata-driven Portal

John Roberts


This paper describes New Zealand E-government activities supporting the discovery of services through the use of Dublin Core-based New Zealand Government Locator Service (NZGLS) metadata. It notes the issues faced in collecting service metadata from agencies to populate a new whole-of-government portal. The paper then considers the adequacy of the metadata schema for service description, and identifies a difficulty in applying definitions which refer to the content of the resource to a process-like resource such as a service. Three approaches to this challenge are suggested: creating a surrogate description to provide a source of content; treating the information exchanged in conducting the service as the content; and using additional contextual metadata. The adequacy of the schema for covering all the users' needs for discovering and using a service is examined, and the need for metadata about specific service delivery points and conditions is noted. Finally, it is observed that future stages of e-government will require more sophisticated descriptions of services to support processes beyond discovery.

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