All things service

My day job as clinical leader of a large children’s mental health centre in Ontario, Canada presents me with the constant challenge of working with other professionals to devise and resource treatment plans for children and youth with complex emotional, behavioral, and learning needs.

I have been trained formally in the philosophy of language, cognitive psychology, and experimental design and statistics, though at this stage of my life I would describe myself as self-taught. Most recently, I have been studying two domains connected to my professional work – the concepts of “service” and “network”  – with the  idea of specifying more clearly a popular but particularly slippery concept – the “service network”.

In one case study, I intend to examine a database of human services in Ontario that is maintained online at http://211ontario.ca – and explore the “meaning” embedded in this sort of database using semantic web technologies, e.g.  the evolving Core Public Service Vocabulary of the European Commission and an ontology of government services included in a recent release of schema.org.

This is a work in progress.

Originally I had thought about working away under these broad headings:

While these headings still represent reasonable divisions of labour for me, there are three distinct but just-close-enough-to-be-confusing senses in which the term “service” is used in the literature:

  • a software service, like the SSL/HTTPS service, that secures the transfer of data packets over the Internet
  • a “real” world service, like a banking service, that allows someone to pay a monthly utility bill at a local branch
  • a “real” world service that is mediated by a software service, like an online banking service, that uses the SSL/HTTPS service to allow someone to pay a monthly utility bill securely over the Internet

Early on, the metaphor “software as a service” inspired pioneers in computer science to explore and elaborate one concept (software) that was novel and abstract in terms of another concept (service) that was familiar and grounded in human experience.

In the past two decades, our understanding of the concept of software, the concept of service, and the metaphor “software as a service” have advanced tremendously. Indeed, an entire industry has emerged around “Software as a Service” (SaaS) in “cloud computing.”

Finally, in much the same way that humans have moved from using the metaphor “computer as a brain” to using as readily the metaphor “brain as a computer” – the metaphor “service as a software” is used as readily as the metaphor “software as a service” in our thinking.

Today the prime driver for clarifying the semantics of “real world” service comes from software engineering – and seeks to improve the design and deployment of Web services that are (somehow) meant to facilitate the delivery of “real world” services.

My original thought was to enlist the technologies of software services – e.g. service-oriented computing, service-oriented architecture, service-oriented semantics – to describe and model more clearly and formally the defining features of “real” world services – especially human services, like social assistance, mental health counselling, and so on.

I still believe there is great potential in this exercise – and in the closely related exercise of elaborating how software services can support “real” human services – though we are liable to miss the mark if we take the metaphor “service as a software” too literally.

 

A Vocabulary of Government Service – Part I

Previously we described the inheritance hierarchy of Classes in Schema.org and visualized this hierarchy as an expandable/collapsible tree using d3.

Now we build upon that work to develop a vocabulary of Classes and their Properties for describing government service.

Seeding the Vocabulary

The starting point for seeding our vocabulary is Schema.org’s Class GovernmentService, used to describe a service that is provided by a government organization or by an organization that is funded by government.

Figure 1 illustrates the pathway to Class GovernmentService within Schema.org’s Inheritance Hierarchy.

Figure 1. Pathway to GovernmentService through Schema.org.

Class GovernmentService has one Property – serviceOperator that is expected to be of Type Organizationanother Class in Schema.org. GovernmentService is the Domain of serviceOperator and Organization is its Range.

Schema.org’s website represents the above in the form of a Table:

Properties from GovernmentService
Property Range Description
serviceOperator Organization The operating organization, if different from the provider. This enables the representation of services that are provided by an organization, but operated by another organization like a subcontractor.

Table 1. Properties of Class GovernmentService.

We may also represent the information in Table 1 as a Graph, where the Nodes are Classes and Properties, and where the Links are relations connecting them:

Source Node Target Node Link
GovernmentService serviceOperator hasProperty
serviceOperator Organization hasRange

Table 2. Graph of vocabulary for describing service that is provided by a government organization.

Extending the Vocabulary – Cycle 1

This start on a vocabulary for describing government service may be extended in a systematic fashion – first, by incorporating any SuperClass (and its Properties) that contains GovernmentService as a Subclass.

In this manner, our vocabulary extends to include Class Service, Intangible, and Thingas well as their respective Properties. (Note that these Classes are the points highlighted along the pathway in Figure 1).

Again, Schema.org’s website represents each of these SuperClasses in the form of a Table:

Properties from Service
Property Range Description
availableChannel ServiceChannel A means of accessing the service (e.g. a phone bank, a web site, a location, etc.)
produces Thing The tangible thing generated by the service, e.g. a passport, permit, etc.
provider Person  or
Organization
The service provider, service operator, or service performer; the goods producer. Another party (a seller) may offer those services or goods on behalf of the provider. A provider may also serve as the seller.
serviceArea AdministrativeArea The geographic area where the service is provided.
serviceAudience Audience The audience eligible for this service.
serviceType Text The type of service being offered, e.g. veterans’ benefits, emergency relief, etc.

Table 3.1. Properties of Class GovernmentService that are inherited from Class Service.

and

Properties from Thing
Property Range Description
additionalType URL An additional type for the item, typically used for adding more specific types from external vocabularies in microdata syntax. This is a relationship between something and a class that the thing is in. In RDFa syntax, it is better to use the native RDFa syntax – the ‘typeof’ attribute – for multiple types. Schema.org tools may have only weaker understanding of extra types, in particular those defined externally.
alternateName Text An alias for the item.
description Text A short description of the item.
image URL  or
ImageObject
An image of the item. This can be a URL or a fully described ImageObject.
name Text The name of the item.
potentialAction Action Indicates a potential Action, which describes an idealized action in which this thing would play an ‘object’ role.
sameAs URL URL of a reference Web page that unambiguously indicates the item’s identity. E.g. the URL of the item’s Wikipedia page, Freebase page, or official website.
url URL URL of the item.

Table 3.2. Properties of Class GovernmentService that are inherited from Class Thing.

Class Intangible has no Properties of its own – all of its Properties are inherited from Class Thing.

At the end of Cycle 1 of extending the vocabulary, our Graph is looking much more respectable (compared to Table 1):

At the end of Cycle 1 of extending the vocabulary, our Graph has become much richer (compared to Table 1):

Source Node Target Node Relation
Thing Intangible hasSubclass
Intangible Service hasSubclass
Service GovernmentService hasSubclass
Thing additionalType hasProperty
Thing alternateName hasProperty
Thing description hasProperty
Thing image hasProperty
Thing name hasProperty
Thing potentialAction hasProperty
Thing sameAs hasProperty
Thing url hasProperty
Service availableChannel hasProperty
Service produces hasProperty
Service provider hasProperty
Service serviceArea hasProperty
Service serviceAudience hasProperty
Service serviceType hasProperty
GovernmentService serviceOperator hasProperty
additionalType URL hasRange
alternateName Text hasRange
availableChannel ServiceChannel hasRange
description Text hasRange
image ImageObject hasRange
image URL hasRange
name Text hasRange
potentialAction Action hasRange
produces Thing hasRange
provider Organization hasRange
provider Person hasRange
sameAs URL hasRange
serviceArea AdministrativeArea hasRange
serviceAudience Audience hasRange
serviceOperator Organization hasRange
serviceType Text hasRange
url URL hasRange

Table 4. Graph of vocabulary for describing service that is provided by a government organization (Cycle 1).

We may serialize the Graph in Table 4 using various semantic technologies, including RDF/XML, RDFa, and Turtle.

Pruning

Note in Table 4 that Property image may be of type URL or ImageObject; here we’re going to use only “cool” URLs – both for the sake of having a persistent identifier for an image that may be modified from time to time and to avoid introducing the clutter of a complex entity like ImageObject – which is incidental to the semantics of a government service – into our vocabulary.

Also note in Table 4 that Property provider may be of type Organization or Person; here we’re going to restrict ourselves to providers of government service that are organizations and not individuals. We will bring Class Person (e.g. as an employee of an organization) into our vocabulary in a subsequent Cycle.

Visualizing

In a fairly traditional manner, our vocabulary for GovernmentService may be visualized as a basic Class Diagram using the Unified Modeling Language (UML):

Figure 2. Visualization of Vocabulary for GovernmentService (Cycle 1) using a UML Class Diagram.

In a more innovative fashion, we may also visualize our vocabulary GovernmentService as a Force-Directed Graph (with Thing, Intangible, Service and GovernmentService fixed in position in the corners of the graph:

Figure 3. Visualization of Graph of GovernmentService (Cycle 1), where o = Property, D = Domain, and R = Range.

See also this interactive version of Figure 3.

Note in Table 4 that several Properties are of type Text or URL – Schema.org treats Text, URL and a few other entities (Boolean, Date, DateTime, Number, Time) as a Datatype (as opposed to a Thing). We may streamline the visualization of our vocabulary by terminating any node corresponding to one of these Properties with a colored-symbol specific to its Datatype:

Figure 4. Legend for terminating a Property node whose Range is Datatype.

Here’s our streamlined visualization of our vocabulary for GovernmentService:

Figure 5. Visualization of Graph of GovernmentService (Cycle 1) using D3, where o = Property, D = Domain, and R = Range, terminating Property nodes with Range = Datatype.

See also this interactive version of Figure 5.

Coming Up:

A Vocabulary of Government Service – Part II

Part III: The Architecture of Service: the Service Organization and Service Channel

Part IV: The Service Audience and Administrative Area

Part V: The Service Action

A Vocabulary of Government Service – Part II

A Second Cycle of Developing a Vocabulary of Government Service

At the end of our first cycle of developing a vocabulary of government service, we had arrived at the following Graph:

Source Node Target Node Relation
Schema Thing hasSubclass
Thing Intangible hasSubclass
Intangible Service hasSubclass
Service GovernmentService hasSubclass
Thing additionalType hasProperty
Thing alternateName hasProperty
Thing description hasProperty
Thing image hasProperty
Thing name hasProperty
Thing potentialAction hasProperty
Thing sameAs hasProperty
Thing url hasProperty
Service availableChannel hasProperty
Service produces hasProperty
Service provider hasProperty
Service serviceArea hasProperty
Service serviceAudience hasProperty
Service serviceType hasProperty
GovernmentService serviceOperator hasProperty
additionalType URL hasRange
alternateName Text hasRange
availableChannel ServiceChannel hasRange
description Text hasRange
image URL hasRange
name Text hasRange
potentialAction Action hasRange
produces Thing hasRange
provider Organization hasRange
sameAs URL hasRange
serviceArea AdministrativeArea hasRange
serviceAudience Audience hasRange
serviceOperator Organization hasRange
serviceType Text hasRange
url URL hasRange

Table 1. Graph of a vocabulary of government service (Cycle 1).

Our second cycle through Schema.org to enrich  our vocabulary further looks to incorporate fully any Class that had defined the Range of some Property at the end of Cycle 1.  There are fifteen rows  in Table 1 where Relation = hasRange – though there are only eight unique Classes (URL, Text, ServiceChannel, Action, Thing, OrganizationAdministrativeArea, and Audience) occupying the Target Node.

Figure 1 illustrates our initial pathway from Schema -> Thing -> Intangible -> Service -> GovernmentService within Schema.org  – as well as the positions of these eight additional Classes within the Inheritance Hierarchy:

GovernmentService Classes at end of Cycle 1

Figure 1. Initial pathway from Schema -> Thing -> Intangible – > Service -> Government Service plus the position of Classes that defined the Range of Properties of Classes along this initial pathway.

These eight additional Classes fall into three categories:

  1. Classes that are included already in the vocabulary (e.g. Thing).
  2. Classes that are datatypes (e.g.  URL, Text) and whose inclusion would add no new Properties to the vocabulary.
  3. Classes that represent new entities (e.g. ServiceChannel, Action, OrganizationAdministrativeArea, and Audience) and whose inclusion would add new Properties to the vocabulary.

Only the third sort of Class offers an avenue for enriching our vocabulary.

Let’s take Class ServiceChannel as an example of how we want to proceed:

The first step is to take account of ServiceChannel’s position in Schema.org’s hierarchy of Classes. On its website, Schema.org asserts the equivalent of:

  • Thing, Intangible, hasSubclass
  • Intangible, ServiceChannel, hasSubclass

Here we note that the first assertion is already part of the vocabulary (Table 4 – Row 1); however, the second assertion is not and its addition to our Graph would enhance our vocabulary.

The second step is to take account of the Properties of Class ServiceChannel:

Properties from Class ServiceChannel
Property Range Description
availableLanguage Language A language someone may use with the item.
processingTime Duration Estimated processing time for the service using this channel.
providesService Service The service provided by this channel.
serviceLocation Place The location (e.g. civic structure, local business, etc.) where a person can go to access the service.
servicePhone ContactPoint The phone number to use to access the service.
servicePostalAddress PostalAddress The address for accessing the service by mail.
serviceSmsNumber ContactPoint The number to access the service by text message.
serviceUrl URL The website to access the service.

Table 2. Properties of Class ServiceChannel.

These eight Properties (availableLanguage, processingTime, providesService, serviceLocation, servicePhone, servicePostalAddress, serviceSmsNumber, serviceUrl) of Class ServiceChannel are new and so will be added to our vocabulary. Note that Class ServiceChannel also inherits all of the Properties of its superordinate Class Thing – but that these Properties are already included in our vocabulary and do not represent an opportunity for enhancement.

The third and final step is to take account of the Ranges of Class ServiceChannel‘s Properties – thereby adding five Classes (Language, Duration, Place, ContactPoint, and PostalAddress) to our vocabulary – (note that Class Service and Class URL are already included).

Quantitative Impact on Vocabulary

We may quantify the impact of adding any Class (ServiceChannel, Action, OrganizationAdministrativeArea, and Audience) to our vocabulary in Cycle 2 by using our vocabulary at the end Cycle 1 as a baseline:

  1. How many unique assertions of the form “Node_iNode_j, hasSubclass” are associated with the Class and how many of them are new?
  2. How many unique assertions of the form “Node_iNode_j, hasProperty” are associated with the Class and how many of them are new?
  3. How many unique assertions of the form “Node_iNode_j, hasRange” are associated with the Class and how many of them are new?
  4. How many unique Classes are referenced in #1 – #3 above and how many of them are new?
  5. How many unique Properties are referenced in #1 – #3 above are how many of them are new?

In the case of Class ServiceChannel, we observe:

  • There are two assertions of the form “Node_iNode_j, hasSubclass” – one assertion is already included in the vocabulary at the end of Cycle 1; one assertion is new and would be an enhancement to the vocabulary.
  • There are fifteen unique assertions of the form “Node_iNode_j, hasProperty” – eight unique assertions that derive from Class Thing are already included in the vocabulary; eight assertions that derive from Class ServiceChannel itself are new and would be enhancements to the vocabulary.
  • There are twenty-one unique assertions of the form “Node_iNode_j, hasRange”; thirteen unique assertions are already included in the vocabulary; eight unique assertions are new and would be enhancements to the vocabulary.
  • There are nineteen unique Classes standing in form Node_i or Node_j in assertions of the form “Node_i,Node_j, hasSubclass”, or Node_i in assertions of the form “Node_i,Node_j, hasProperty”; five of these unique Classes (Language, Duration, Place, ContactPoint, PostalAddress) are new.
  • There are twenty-four unique Properties of the form Node_j in assertions of the form “Node_i,Node_j, hasProperty” – eight of these unique Properties are new.

Note that this method of enriching our vocabulary of government service depends entirely on the structure of Schema.org – there is no model of government service that comes into the exercise.

Applying steps #1 – #5 above to the other Classes that had defined the Range of some Property in Cycle 1, we observe the following impacts of adding these Classes individually or altogether to our vocabulary:

New Assertions New Nodes
 Added Range hasSubclass hasProperty hasRange Classes Properties
ServiceChannel 1 8 8 5 8
Action 1 11 13 6 11
Organization 1 33 39 15 33
AdministrativeArea 2 15 19 11 15
Audience 1 2 2 0 2
Altogether 6 69 69 25 58

Table 3. Introduction of new components into vocabulary for GovernmentService in Cycle 2.

The Graph of our vocabulary at the end of Cycle 2 includes 25 + 58 = 83 additional Nodes and 6 + 69 + 69 = 144 additional assertions about the relations between these Nodes and/or between these Nodes and the Nodes of our vocabulary at the end of Cycle 1:

Assertions included in Cycle 1
Source Node Target Node Relation
Thing Intangible hasSubClass
Intangible Service hasSubClass
Service GovernmentService hasSubClass
Thing additionalType hasProperty
Thing alternateName hasProperty
Thing description hasProperty
Thing image hasProperty
Thing name hasProperty
Thing potentialAction hasProperty
Thing sameAs hasProperty
Thing url hasProperty
Service availableChannel hasProperty
Service produces hasProperty
Service provider hasProperty
Service serviceArea hasProperty
Service serviceAudience hasProperty
Service serviceType hasProperty
GovernmentService serviceOperator hasProperty
additionalType URL hasRange
alternateName Text hasRange
availableChannel ServiceChannel hasRange
description Text hasRange
image URL hasRange
name Text hasRange
potentialAction Action hasRange
produces Thing hasRange
provider Organization hasRange
sameAs URL hasRange
serviceArea AdministrativeArea hasRange
serviceAudience Audience hasRange
serviceOperator Organization hasRange
serviceType Text hasRange
url URL hasRange
Assertions added in Cycle 2
Thing Action hasSubClass
Thing Organization hasSubClass
Thing Place hasSubClass
Intangible Audience hasSubClass
Intangible ServiceChannel hasSubClass
Place AdministrativeArea hasSubClass
Action actionStatus hasProperty
Action agent hasProperty
Action endTime hasProperty
Action error hasProperty
Action instrument hasProperty
Action location hasProperty
Action object hasProperty
Action participant hasProperty
Action result hasProperty
Action startTime hasProperty
Action target hasProperty
Audience audienceType hasProperty
Audience geographicArea hasProperty
Organization address hasProperty
Organization aggregateRating hasProperty
Organization brand hasProperty
Organization contactPoint hasProperty
Organization department hasProperty
Organization dissolutionDate hasProperty
Organization duns hasProperty
Organization email hasProperty
Organization employee hasProperty
Organization event hasProperty
Organization faxNumber hasProperty
Organization founder hasProperty
Organization foundingDate hasProperty
Organization foundingLocation hasProperty
Organization globalLocationNumber hasProperty
Organization hasPOS hasProperty
Organization interactionCount hasProperty
Organization isicV4 hasProperty
Organization legalName hasProperty
Organization location hasProperty
Organization logo hasProperty
Organization makesOffer hasProperty
Organization member hasProperty
Organization memberOf hasProperty
Organization naics hasProperty
Organization owns hasProperty
Organization producer hasProperty
Organization review hasProperty
Organization seeks hasProperty
Organization subOrganization hasProperty
Organization taxID hasProperty
Organization telephone hasProperty
Organization vatID hasProperty
Place address hasProperty
Place aggregateRating hasProperty
Place containedIn hasProperty
Place event hasProperty
Place faxNumber hasProperty
Place geo hasProperty
Place globalLocationNumber hasProperty
Place hasMap hasProperty
Place interactionCount hasProperty
Place isicV4 hasProperty
Place logo hasProperty
Place openingHoursSpecification hasProperty
Place photo hasProperty
Place review hasProperty
Place telephone hasProperty
ServiceChannel availableLanguage hasProperty
ServiceChannel processingTime hasProperty
ServiceChannel providesService hasProperty
ServiceChannel serviceLocation hasProperty
ServiceChannel servicePhone hasProperty
ServiceChannel servicePostalAddress hasProperty
ServiceChannel serviceSmsNumber hasProperty
ServiceChannel serviceUrl hasProperty
actionStatus ActionStatusType hasRange
address PostalAddress hasRange
agent Organization hasRange
agent Person hasRange
aggregateRating AggregateRating hasRange
audienceType Text hasRange
availableLanguage Language hasRange
brand Organization hasRange
brand Brand hasRange
contactPoint ContactPoint hasRange
containedIn Place hasRange
department Organization hasRange
dissolutionDate Date hasRange
duns Text hasRange
email Text hasRange
employee Person hasRange
endTime DateTime hasRange
error Thing hasRange
event Event hasRange
faxNumber Text hasRange
founder Person hasRange
foundingDate Date hasRange
foundingLocation Place hasRange
geo GeoCoordinates hasRange
geo GeoShape hasRange
geograhicArea AdministrativeArea hasRange
globalLocationNumber Text hasRange
hasMap Map hasRange
hasMap URL hasRange
hasPOS Place hasRange
instrument Thing hasRange
interactionCount Text hasRange
isicV4 Text hasRange
legalName Text hasRange
location PostalAddress hasRange
location Place hasRange
logo URL hasRange
logo ImageObject hasRange
makesOffer Offer hasRange
member Organization hasRange
member Person hasRange
memberOf Organization hasRange
memberOf ProgramMembership hasRange
naics Text hasRange
object Thing hasRange
openingHoursSpecification OpeningHoursSpecification hasRange
owns OwnershipInfo hasRange
owns Product hasRange
participant Organization hasRange
participant Person hasRange
photo Photograph hasRange
photo ImageObject hasRange
processingTime Duration hasRange
producer Person hasRange
providesService Service hasRange
result Thing hasRange
review Review hasRange
seeks Demand hasRange
serviceLocation Place hasRange
servicePhone ContactPoint hasRange
servicePostalAddress PostalAddress hasRange
serviceSmsNumber ContactPoint hasRange
serviceUrl URL hasRange
startTime DateTime hasRange
subOrganization Organization hasRange
target EntryPoint hasRange
taxID Text hasRange
telephone Text hasRange
vatID Text hasRange

Table 4. Graph of vocabulary for describing service that is provided by a government organization (Cycle 2).

Our vocabulary for describing a service provided by a government organization now looks something like this (interactive version here):

Schema.org GovernmentService Cycle 2

Figure 5. Visualization of Graph of GovernmentService (Cycle 2), where o = Property, D = Domain, and R = Range (end of Cycle 1) and o = Property and R = Range (end of Cycle 2), terminating Property nodes with Range = Datatype.

After only two cycles through Schema.org, we see that our vocabulary of government service is already threatening to become unwieldy – the number of assertions in our Graph has increased dramatically, and many of the assertions added in Cycle 2 are less clearly relevant to describing government service. Proceeding with ingesting additional Classes and Properties into our vocabulary, using this methodology in a third, fourth, fifth Cycle of development, is an interesting exercise, but increasingly unproductive for our purposes.

Moving forward, then, we will adopt a model of service to guide our development of a vocabulary of government service using Schema.org.

Coming Up:

Part III: The Architecture of Service: the Service Organization and Service Channel

Part IV: The Service Audience and Administrative Area

Part V: The Service Action

 

Visualizing the Schema.org data model

Recently the world’s leading search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex) have come together to develop Schema.org – a shared collection of schemas that webmasters can use to mark-up the “meaning” of their HTML pages. On-page mark-up enables search engines to provide richer (i.e. more “meaning-full”) search results that make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web. Schema.org marks a significant step toward realizing Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of a Semantic Web of Linked Data.

The Data Model used by schema.org is very generic and is derived from RDF Schema.

First, there are Types, where each Type may be a sub-class of multiple Types, arranged in an Inheritance Hierarchy, and then …

there are Properties, where a Property may have one or more Types as:

  1. Domain(s), where the Property may be used for Instances of any of these Types.
  2. Range(s), where the Value(s) of the Property should be Instances of at least one of these Types.

In some cases, the Value of a Property in the Range may be a member of a controlled list, i.e. the Value may be an Enumeration Member. Schema.org makes use of authoritative External Lists when this makes sense.

The canonical machine representation of the Data Model is in RDFa.

One of our thoughts for promoting and popularizing Schema.org is to visualize its Inheritance Hierarchy as an expandable/collapsible tree using d3.

Some details:

Semantics of public service

Two major efforts to design and deploy a semantic data model of public service are currently underway:

Schema.org Government Services

In August 2013, Schema.org proposed a vocabulary for Civic Services that was “similar to the European Commission ISA Core Public Service vocabulary”. The hierarchy of schemas includes a vocabulary for Service and the specific subtype GovernmentService.

ISA Core Public Service Vocabulary Application Profile (CPSV-AP)

In 2013, the EC published a Core Public Service Vocabulary under ISA Action 1.1 Improving semantic interoperability in European eGovernment systems and reported on a pilot study of the CPSV  in four jurisdictions. The same year, the EC published a Federated Catalog of Public Services (FCOPS) under ISA Action 1.3 – Improving semantic interoperability in eGovernment systems.

Between November 2014 – January 2015, a Working Group is developing an ISA Core Public Service Vocabulary Application Profile (CVSP-AP) to refine the data model of business life-events and related public services. We will use the interim findings and recommendations of the Working Group to describe the data model of public services that is emerging from the EC’s ISA initiative.

CPSV-AP Graphical representation of classes and properties

Figure 1. Graphical representation of the relations among the classes and properties of the CPSV-AP.

A few definitions provided by the ISA may prove helpful before we compare the semantic data models of public service provided by Schema.org and the ISA:

Glossary
Public administration Public administrations are the competent authorities responsible for public services. They consist of national civil servants across the Member States and the European Commission. The federated catalog of public services will include all public authorities at supranational, national, regional and local levels.
Public administration portal A public administration portal is a portal owned by a public administration that provides information about what the public administration does and which public services they provide to citizens, businesses and other public administrations.
Point of single contact Point of Single Contact is a public administration portal (and a one-stop-shop) for service providers with two main goals: providing information and completing administrative procedures. It is necessary for the portal to describe the requirements, procedures and formalities which are necessary to perform or access the services within a Member State. It also needs to provide contact details of competent authorities, access to public registers, and online forms, and process the applications filed.
Service A service is a resource that represents the capability to bring a certain outcome and value to the service requester and is enabled by the service provider.
Public service A public service is a service rendered by a public administration to either business (A2B), citizens (A2C) or other public administrations (A2A).
Service model A service model is a semantic data model which describes how the public service is built. The description of the service is created by means of metadata (data about data) which identifies all the characteristics and specifications of the data structure of a service.
Services of general interest The concept Services of general (economic) interest (SG(E)I) is an official term used by the European Union for all services that are of specific interest to society. This includes all public services. The scope of the SGIs is broader than the scope of the public services in this document and can also include services which are often, but not always, in hands of private companies (e.g. water, electricity, mail).
Generic public service A generic public service is a service which is defined generically, i.e. it only contains information that applies to all the administrations that offer this service. They are typically defined by a coordinating body in a standardized way. These generic services detail the “what” but do not provide detail on “how” and “where” they are offered by a public administration. However, they can refer to the government level at which they are offered. Each service contains a number of fields to describe the content of the service (title, content and generic conditions, procedures, exceptions, documents and regulations). In addition, each service contains metadata; these fields serve to classify the service (competent authority/government level, authority/government level that delivers this service, theme, type and keyword). These services are constructed by a coordinating body as a unique list, agnostic of all public services offered by all executing public administrations. The outcome is a set of generic public services based on a standardized data model, taxonomy and ontology.
Specific public service Specific public services are the public services which are actually rendered by a specific public administration. A specific service may be linked to a generic public service (if the generic concept exists at Member State level). The specific service is the executable and actionable part of a generic public service offered by a public administration. The same generic service (e.g. issue and ID card) could be executable and offered in many local authorities in various ways (different local forms, different buildings and opening hours). In contrast to generic services, these specific services also detail the “how” and “where” they are offered by a public administration and how they can be rendered by business (A2B), citizens (A2C) or other public administrations (A2A). It will spell out in detail to which authority/building/office one needs to go, give contact details of the organisation that provides the service, forms that need to be filled in and how the service can be rendered electronically.
Catalog of public services A catalog of public services is a database or structured document that contains all the services which are provided by public administrations.
Federated architecture A federated architecture is a composition of autonomous (decentralized) organised systems. It is an approach to coordinate the exchange of information across the organised system. A mapping is created between the multiple autonomous systems which forms the federated architecture; this is achieved by defining guidelines and standardized mapping. In a federated catalog, content syndication is in place. The syndication will support the information exchange between the different systems.
Federated catalog of public services A federated catalog of public services is a collection of other catalogs of public services which are joined together in a standardized method. The database or structured document contains all the public services of the catalogs included.
Controlled vocabulary A controlled vocabulary is a code list which is used to organize or give structure to certain information. It contains predefined values for a certain subject. These vocabularies could be used for indexing schemes, subject headings, taxonomies, etc. These controlled vocabularies are used to give a structure to the federated catalog of public services and categorize the public services (generic and specific).
Taxonomy The taxonomy determines the classification of concepts, the division of ordered groups or categories. It is a science which defines a set of principles in order to classify concepts. In this case the definition of the controlled vocabularies could be seen as the taxonomy.
Ontology Ontology is the science of describing the relationship between concepts. This can be used to gain insight into a particular domain by modelling the concepts and ideas (conceptualization). The reasoning behind the federated catalog can be defined by describing the relationships between the multiple concepts (catalogs).
Semantic data model A semantic data model is a conceptual data model that represents data objects together with their properties and relationships and includes the capability to express information that enables parties to the information exchange to interpret meaning (semantics) from the instances, without the need to know the meta-model.
Interoperability Interoperability, for public service delivery, is the ability of disparate and diverse organisations to interact towards mutually beneficial and agreed common goals, involving the sharing of information and knowledge between the organisations, through the business processes they support, by means of the exchange of data between their respective Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems.

 

Government Service – Schema.org

Overview

A vocabulary for describing Government Service was included in Schema.org  version 1.0d (November 2013). Also see Vocabulary for describing Civic Services – draft, Civic Services – draft 01, Civic Services – draft 02, and Civic Services – RDFS – draft.

Government Service is a more specific type of Service.

In fact, the vocabulary for Government Service adds only one property to the vocabulary for Service:

serviceOperator – typeof Organization

The serviceOperator property enables the representation of a service that is provided by an organization, but operated by another organization, like a subcontractor.

Also note that Schema.org includes GovernmentOrganization, which is a more specific type of Organization, having no additional properties.

Thing > Intangible > Service > GovernmentService

A service provided by a government organization, e.g. food stamps, veterans benefits, etc.
Property Expected Type Description
Properties from GovernmentService
serviceOperator Organization The operating organization, if different from the provider. This enables the representation of services that are provided by an organization, but operated by another organization like a subcontractor.
Properties from Service
availableChannel ServiceChannel A means of accessing the service (e.g. a phone bank, a web site, a location, etc.)
produces Thing The tangible thing generated by the service, e.g. a passport, permit, etc.
provider Person
or Organization
The organization or agency that is providing the service.
serviceArea AdministrativeArea The geographic area where the service is provided.
serviceAudience Audience The audience eligible for this service.
serviceType Text The type of service being offered, e.g. veterans’ benefits, emergency relief, etc.
Properties from Thing
additionalType URL An additional type for the item, typically used for adding more specific types from external vocabularies in microdata syntax. This is a relationship between something and a class that the thing is in. In RDFa syntax, it is better to use the native RDFa syntax – the ‘typeof’ attribute – for multiple types. Schema.org tools may have only weaker understanding of extra types, in particular those defined externally.
alternateName Text An alias for the item.
description Text A short description of the item.
image URL URL of an image of the item.
name Text The name of the item.
potentialAction Action Indicates a potential Action, which describes an idealized action in which this thing would play an ‘object’ role.
sameAs URL URL of a reference Web page that unambiguously indicates the item’s identity. E.g. the URL of the item’s Wikipedia page, Freebase page, or official website.
url URL URL of the item.

Example 1

Without markup

<div>NYC Food Service Establishment Permit, issued by Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
(issued through NYC Food Service Establishment Permit Service; valid in New York for 1 year).</div>

Microdata

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/GovernmentPermit">
 <span itemprop="name">NYC Food Service Establishment Permit</span>
 <div itemprop="issuedBy" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/GovernmentOrganization">
 <span itemprop="name">Department of Health and Mental Hygiene"</span>
 </div>
 <div itemprop="issuedThrough" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/GovernmentService">
 <span itemprop="name">NYC Food Service Establishment Permit Service</span>
 </div>
 <div itemprop="validIn" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/AdministrativeArea">
 <span itemprop="name">New York</span>
 </div>
 <time itemprop="validFor" content="P1Y">1 year</time>
</div>

RDFa

<div vocab="http://schema.org/" typeof="GovernmentPermit">
 <span property="name">NYC Food Service Establishment Permit</span>
 <div property="issuedBy" typeof="GovernmentOrganization">
 <span property="name">Department of Health and Mental Hygiene"</span>
 </div>
 <div property="issuedThrough" typeof="GovernmentService">
 <span property="name">NYC Food Service Establishment Permit Service</span>
 </div>
 <div property="validIn" typeof="AdministrativeArea">
 <span property="name">New York</span>
 </div>
 <time property="validFor" content="P1Y">1 year</time>
</div>

JSON-LD

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
 "@context": "http://schema.org",
 "@type": "GovernmentPermit",
 "issuedBy": {
 "@type": "GovernmentOrganization",
 "name": "Department of Health and Mental Hygiene\""
 },
 "issuedThrough": {
 "@type": "GovernmentService",
 "name": "NYC Food Service Establishment Permit Service"
 },
 "name": "NYC Food Service Establishment Permit",
 "validFor": "",
 "validIn": {
 "@type": "AdministrativeArea",
 "name": "New York"
 }
}
</script>

Example 2

Without Markup

This example shows a JSON-LD description of services that do not necessarily have a direct
human-oriented HTML description. It describes a GovernmentService named "Veterans Affairs Emergency Mental Health" its operator, service area and service details, such as its Veterans Crisis Line (including phone contact line
hours of operation, language and other details).

JSON-LD

<script type='application/ld+json'>
{
 "@context": "schema.org",
 "@type": "GovernmentService",
 "name": "Veterans Affairs Emergency Mental Health",
 "serviceType": "Psychiatric Emergency Services",
 "operator": {
 "@type": "GovernmentOrganization",
 "name": "US Department of Veterans Affairs"
 },
 "serviceArea": {
 "@type": "AdministrativeArea",
 "name": "Massachusetts"
 },
 "serviceAudience": {
 "@type": "CivicAudience",
 "name": "Veterans"
 },
 "availableChannel": {
 "@type": "ServiceChannel",
 "name": "Urgent Care Clinic",
 "availableLanguage": {
 "@type": "Language",
 "name": "Spanish"
 },
 "serviceLocation": {
 "@type": "Hospital",
 "name": "VA Boston -- West Roxbury",
 "address": {
 "@type": "PostalAddress",
 "streetAddress": "1400 VFW Parkway",
 "addressLocality": "West Roxbury",
 "addressRegion": "MA",
 "postalCode": "02132"
 }
 }
 }
}
</script>

Related additions in Schema.org version 1.0d

ContactPoint – e. g. now provides a mechanism for describing contact points for services which support users with hearing impairments.

Organization – a small but useful improvement, adding department and subOrganization properties that relate organizations to each other. This can be used when describing common situations,  when details such as opening hours or contact information vary by department.

Collaboration: co-production and the co-creation of value

Derivative Proposition 3

The continued ascendance of information technology with associated decrease in communication and computation costs, provides firms opportunities for increased competitive advantage through innovative collaboration.

The concept that the customer is always a collaborator is both a foundational premise (FP6) of S-D logic and a popular focus in the contemporary marketing literature (e.g., Bendapudi and Leone 2003; Prahalad and Ramaswamy 2004). However, it is often not recognized that there are two components of collaboration. The most encompassing of these components is the co-creation of value. The concept of co-creation of value represents a rather drastic departure from G-D logic, which views value as something that is added to products in the production process. S-D logic, however, argues that value can only be determined by the user in the “consumption” process. Thus, it occurs at the intersection of the offerer, the customer – either in direct interaction or mediated by a good as indicated in FP3 – and other value-creation partners. Therefore, the idea of co-creation of value is closely tied to “value-in-use” and is inherently relational. It is also highly related to the concept of customer experience (Pine and Gilmore 1999; Smith and Wheeler 2002) and also incorporated as a key element of perceived value in Parasuraman and Grewal’s (2000) model of the quality–value–loyalty chain.

The second component of co-production involves the participation in the creation of the core offering itself, and therefore, probably more appropriately (than value-co-creation) referred to as “co-production.” It can occur through shared inventiveness, co-design, or shared production and can occur with customers and any other partners in the value network. Common examples can be a person assembling Ikea furniture, a person advising their hairstylists during the hair styling process, and a retailer and a manufacturer co-producing a retail marketing program. Co-production, like co-creation, is also related to the emerging concept of customer experience.

Because both the “co-creation of value” and “coproduction” treat the consumer as endogenous, they are different from the production concepts associated with G-D logic. Clearly, they are also nested concepts with the former superordinate to the latter in the same way, and with similar implications, as the relationship between service and goods in S-D logic. Traditionally, most marketers and consumer researchers have focused upon buyer behavior related to the product and the transaction, and thus focused on only a subset of co-production (for a good review of relevant literature on customer participation see Bendapudi and Leone 2003). However, if, as S-D logic suggests, value is co-created, it is necessary to shift the focus to relationship formation and consumption behavior. It also implies that co-creation and co-production occur not only between the firm and the customer but also involves other parties (value-network partners), and implies that resource integration is a primary function of the firm (Vargo and Lusch 2006).

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