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A terminological dictionary of technical terms in the field of the national interoperability framework (NIO); it aims at a common understanding – the NIO concept – use and re-use of data – particular products in the NIO repository as well as – assets of a common meaning according to particular levels of interoperability.  
Most of the definitions below are summarised according to the glossary which is made as part of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) for European public services.
  • Accessibility To be understood as Web accessibility, which means that everyone including people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the internet, and have the opportunity to contribute to society.
    While accessibility is a broad concept, eAccessibility aims to ensure that people with disabilities and the elderly can access ICTs on the same basis as others.
    Administrative Burden The cost of administrative work that businesses conduct solely in order to comply with legal obligations (Enterprise and Industry).
    Aggregate Public Services A generic term used in the EIF conceptual model for public services to refer to a set of basic public services accessed in a secure and controlled way before being combined and then delivered as a whole to end users.
    ADMS - Asset Description Metadata Schema

    The Asset Description Metadata Schema (ADMS) specification was originally drafted to describe semantic interoperability solutions (previously referred to as semantic assets). This application profile of ADMS aims to extend the use of ADMS for the description of other types of interoperability solutions, meaning solutions covering the political, legal, organisational and technical interoperability layers defined by the European Interoperability Framework

    ADMS Application Profile
    ADMS-AP is a Common vocabulary for all interoperability solutions. Extends the ADMS -> enabled federation to other types of interoperability solutions, by including solutions which cover legal, organisational and technical interoperabilities.

    This extension implies:
    - Extension of ADMS taxonomies and controlled lists
    - Alignment of ADMS (used for semantic assets) and ADMS.SW (for software)
    - Ensuring backward compatibility to make sure that properties and classes introduced in former specifications can still be used.

    An ADMS application profile includes the set of metadata elements, policies, and guidelines defined for a particular application or implementation.

    The elements may be from one or more element sets, thus allowing a given application to meet its functional requirements by using metadata elements from several element sets including locally defined sets (DCMI 2005).

    The benefits of ADMS-AP:
    - Easier to federate interoperability solutions
    - Easier to search for and to find interoperability solutions
    - Increased reuse of interoperability solutions
    - Increased coordination across borders and sectors.
    Artificial Intelligence (AI) Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.
    Authentic Source An authentic source is information that is stored only once and which is believed to be correct, so can serve as a basis for reuse.
  • Basic data Base registries’ data is sometimes referred to as ‘basic data’.
    Basic Public Services Basic public services are the most fundamental service components from which European public services can be built. According to the EIF conceptual model, there are three fundamental types of basic public services: base registries, interoperability facilitators, and external services.
    Base Registries Trusted authentic sources of information under the control of an appointed public administration or organisation appointed by government.  According to the European Interoperability Framework, base registries are: “reliable sources of basic information on items such as persons, companies, vehicles, licences, buildings, locations and roads” and “are authentic and authoritative and form, separately or in combination, the cornerstone of public services”.
    Base registry owner Base registry owner refers to the organisation that is the appointed controller of the data in the base registry.
    Big Data according to the market analyst Gartner, is high volume, high velocity, and/or high variety information assets that require new forms of processing to enable enhanced decision-making, insight discovery and process  optimisation.
    Building Block 

    A Building Block is an open and reusable digital solution. It can take the shape of a framework, a standard, a software, or a software as a service (SaaS), or any combination thereof.

    Building Blocks are endorsed by the European Commission and ensure that your digital service will be fully compatible with others on the market. 

    "A Building Block is a package of functionality defined to meet business needs.  A good choice of building blocks can lead to improvements in legacy system integration, interoperability, and flexibility in the creation of new systems and applications." (http://www.opengroup.org/public/arch/p4/bbs/bbs_intro.htm)
    An approach to building information systems from architecture to implementation in which the information system is designed as an assembly or aggregation of components that encapsulate data and functionalities in groups that can also be reused as ‘building blocks’ to build other public services or information systems.
    Business Process A business process is a sequence of linked activities that creates value by turning inputs into a more valuable output. This can be performed by human participants or ICT systems, or both.
  • Cloud Computing according to the ISO/IEC 17788 and NIST definition, is a paradigm for convenient enabling network access to a scalable and elastic pool of sharable physical or virtual resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) with rapid self-service provisioning and administration on-demand and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. The Cloud Computing paradigm is composed of key characteristics, Cloud Computing roles and activities, Cloud capability types and Cloud service categories, Cloud deployment models and Cloud Computing crosscutting aspects.
    Collaborative Platform A set of specific services and facilities for the use of a specific community and their interactions, the goal being to facilitate cooperation to achieve shared objectives. Typically, the services are communication-related, and incorporate a repository for exchanged objects, information, materials, etc.
    A notable example is the ePractice.eu platform, designed to enable members of public administrations involved in providing public services to benefit from each other’s work, knowledge and experience. Other examples are OSOR.eu and SEMIC.eu.
    Common frameworks Strategies, specifications, methodologies, guidelines and similar approaches and documents (from the legal decision)
    Common services Operational applications and infrastructures of a generic nature which meet common user requirements across policy areas ( from the legal decision)
    Contact point This property contains contact information that can be used for sending comments about the Asset.
    Core vocabularies
    Simplified, re-usable and extensible data models that capture the fundamental characteristics of a data entity in a context-neutral fashion. The Core Vocabularies developed by the ISA programme are a set of commonly agreed Core Vocabularies supported by the EU Member States.
    Cross-border interoperability Cross-border interoperability refers to the ability of systems to be used in different Member States and institutions, bodies, and agencies of the EU to interact and work with each other.
    Custom-made software Specific software either developed internally within an organisation (for the EIF, a public administration) or developed for this organisation by a contractor to meet the specific requirements of that organisation. In most cases, the custom-made software is paid in full by the organisation which is consequently the owner of the software, holding all rights related to the further use of this software.
  • Data Repository Any collection of data meant for use (processing, storage, querying, etc.) by an information system. Typically, a data repository contains additional structural and semantic information about the data in question, designed to aid the use of the data (data model, relationships between data elements, metadata, etc.). It may provide specific functionalities closely tied to the data stored in the repository (searching, indexing, etc.).
    Data Representation The manner in which data are expressed symbolically by binary digits in a computer.
    Data spaces Data spaces refer to seamless digital area where data providers, users and intermediaries apply the same standards to the storage and sharing of data so as to make a large pool of data available, combined with the technical tools and infrastructure necessary to use and exchange data, as well as appropriate governance mechanisms.
    DCAT is an RDF vocabulary designed to facilitate interoperability between data catalogs published on the Web - 8 practical guidelines for implementing DCAT-AP .


    A policy (or legal act) is digital-ready if it enables smooth and digital-by-default policy implementation and is conducive to digital transformation through the best use of technologies and data (BLSI source).
    Document Recorded information or object that can be treated as a unit (see MOREQ specifications).
  • Editorial Board NIO
    (NIO = National Interoperability Framework = NIF)
    The editorial board is a intersectorial group of ICT experts
    eInclusion eInclusion (‘e’ standing for electronic) aims to prevent the risks of ‘digital exclusion’, i.e. to ensure that disadvantaged people are not left behind and to avoid new forms of exclusion due to lack of digital literacy or internet access.
    eGovernment eGovernment is about using the tools and systems made possible by information and communication technologies (ICTs) to provide better public services to citizens and businesses.
    Electronic Signature According to Directive 1999/93/EC, ‘electronic signature’ means data in electronic form which are attached to or logically associated with other electronic data and which serve as a method of authentication.
    Electronic Certification Electronic certification is the application of an electronic signature, by a specifically authorised person or entity, in a specific context for a specific purpose. It is mostly used to indicate that a certain validation process has been executed and that a given result is being attested by the signer. In the simplest case, it can merely represent the assertion of a given fact by an authorised person.
    Electronic Records A record in electronic form (see MOREQ specifications). Electronic record, a record which is in electronic form as a result of having been created by a software application or as a result of digitisation, e.g. by scanning.
    EPS establishment process The activities needed to establish a European public service (EPS), making it available for use.
    European Interoperability Framework - EIF The EIF provides guidance to public administrations on defining, designing and implementing European public services. It introduced a conceptual model for delivery of public services and a four-level model for interoperability based on 12 underlying principles. See: eif_brochure_final.pdf (europa.eu)
    European Interoperability Strategy - EIS The European Interoperability Strategy (EIS) provides the basis for defining the organisational, financial and operational framework (including governance) needed to ensure ongoing support for cross-border and cross-sector interoperability, as well as the exchange of information among European public administrations.
    European public service (EPS) A cross-border public sector service supplied by public administrations, either to one another or to European businesses and citizens.
  • Formalised Specifications Formalised specifications are either standards pursuant to EU Directive 98/34 or specifications established by ICT industry fora or consortia.
    Format The portal NIO allows attachment of the following image formats:  BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, jpg, tif, tiff and documents in the following formats:  The ASC, CSV, doc, docx, DOT DOCM dotm, dotx, gzip ODP, PDF, ODT, ODS, PPS, RAR, PPT, RTF, TXT, RDF xlsb, xls, xlsx, XML, xlsm, Zip XML.  Size limit is 5 MB per file.
    Strategies, specifications, methodologies, guidelines and similar approaches and documents (Article 2(c) from the ISA² legal decision - interoperability solutions for European public administrations - ISA²).
    GovTech GovTech refers to the use by government of emerging technologies, digital products and services provided by start-ups and SMEs to innovate and improve public services.
  • Information Information is semantically enriched data, i.e. collections of data that have been given relevance and purpose.
    Information steward The information steward is the body (or possibly individual) responsible and accountable for collecting, using, updating, maintaining and deleting information. This includes defining permissible information use, complying with privacy regulations and security policies, ensuring that information is current and ensuring the accessibility of data by authorised users. Source: eif_brochure_final.pdf (europa.eu)
    Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Technology, e.g. electronic computers, computer software and communications technology, used to convert, store, protect, process, transmit and retrieve information.
    Interface An interface is a conceptual or physical boundary where two (or more) independent legal systems, organisations, processes, communicators, IT systems, or any variation/combination thereof interact.


    Interoperability is a key factor in making a digital transformation possible. It allows administrative entities to electronically exchange meaningful information in ways that are understood by all parties. It addresses all layers that impact the delivery of digital public services in the EU, including: legal, organisational, semantic and technical aspects.

    Reference Doc: Revised EIF

    Interoperability Agreements Written interoperability agreements are concrete and binding documents which set out the precise obligations of two parties cooperating across an ‘interface’ to achieve interoperability.

    Interoperability by design

    ‘Interoperability by design’ means that for a European public services to be interoperable, they should be designed with certain interoperability and reusability requirements in mind. The conceptual model promotes reusability as a driver for interoperability, recognising that European public services should reuse information and services that already exist and may be available from various sources inside or beyond the organisational boundaries of public administrations.

    Reference Doc: Revised EIF

    Interoperability Framework An interoperability framework is an agreed approach to interoperability for organisations that wish to work together towards the joint delivery of public services. Within its scope of applicability, it specifies a set of common elements such as vocabulary, concepts, principles, policies, guidelines, recommendations, standards, specifications and practices.
    Interoperability Governance

    Upravljanje interoperabilnosti)


    Interoperability governance refers to decisions on interoperability frameworks, institutional arrangements, organisational structures, roles and responsibilities, policies, agreements and other aspects of ensuring and monitoring interoperability at national and EU levels.

    Reference Doc: Revised EIF

    (Interoperability governance covers the ownership, definition, development, maintenance, monitoring, promoting and implementing of interoperability frameworks in the context of multiple organisations working together to provide (public) services. It is a high-level function providing leadership, organisational structures and processes to ensure that the interoperability frameworks sustain and extend the organisations’ strategies and objectives.)
    Interoperability Levels The interoperability levels classify interoperability concerns according to who/what is concerned and cover, within a given political context, legal, organisational, semantic and technical interoperability.
    ISA² (Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations, Businesses and Citizens) ISA² (Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations, Businesses and Citizens) is an EU spending programme which supports the development of digital solutions that enable public administrations, businesses and citizens in Europe to benefit from interoperable cross-border and cross-sector public services. By identifying, creating and facilitating the reuse of interoperability solutions, ISA2 aims at promoting a holistic approach to interoperability1 in the European Union and thus – as a key enabler – it helps the implementation of various Union policies and activities. ISA2 is also the principal instrument to implement the revised European Interoperability Framework (EIF) and its annex, the Interoperability Action Plan.
  • Legacy System Generally refers to older systems that still perform essential functions or host/provide access to essential data, but which use older technology, pose difficulties for integrating with newer systems, and for which reimplementation is seen to be difficult or expensive. Strictly speaking, however, any IT system, of whatever vintage, including one that has recently been implemented, but which has not been designed with reuse or integration with other systems in mind, can also be classified as such.
    Licence This property refers to the licence under which the Assets can be used or reused.
    Loose coupling Loose coupling refers to communications between systems that operate more or less independently of one another (asynchronously) and whose internal states are not strongly interdependent. The coupling takes the form of messages passed between the systems in question, typically implemented using some type of middleware layer or queuing system, so that the target system deals with requests as and when it can. Thus, the target system may not even be available at the time of the request, which is simply queued for later action.
  • Memorandum of Understanding A bilateral or multilateral written agreement between two organisations which sets out a number of areas and means by which they will cooperate, collaborate or otherwise assist one another. The exact nature of these activities depends on the nature of the two organisations, the domain of activity in question, and the scope of the cooperation envisaged.
    Multichannel Delivery A channel is a means used by an administration to interact with and deliver services to its users, and for users to contact public administrations with the aim of acquiring public services. The term ‘user’ includes citizens, businesses and organisations as consumers of public services. The set of different possible ‘means’ for electronic delivery constantly changes, and currently includes the use of web-based technologies, telephony, paper media, face-to-face contacts and many others, applications of these technologies such as the internet, e-mail, SMS, call centres or service counters, and devices to access these applications such as personal computers, mobile phones, kiosks or digital TV. Multichannel delivery refers to the provision of public services simultaneously and independently via two or more such channels, selectable by the user according to needs.
  • National Interoperability Framework (NIF) NIFs are interoperability frameworks defined by individual Member States to govern national IT systems and infrastructure within their own countries.
    National Interoperability Framework Observatory (NIFO) NIFO  provides an objective, up-to-date picture of interoperability activities across Europe. It analyses the National Interoperability Frameworks of the EU Member States and associated countries and their alignment with the European Interoperability Framework.
  • Open government Open government is the governing doctrine which holds that citizens have the right to access the documents and proceedings of the government to allow for effective public oversight. The opening up of government processes, proceedings, documents and data for public scrutiny and involvement is  considered as a fundamental element of a democratic society. Transparency is considered the traditional hallmark of an open government, meaning that the public should have access to government-held information and be informed of government proceedings. In recent years, however, the definition of open government has expanded to include expectations for increased citizen participation & collaboration in government proceedings through the use of modern, open technologies. Greater transparency and public participation can lead to better policies and services, and strongly promote public sector integrity, which is essential to regaining the trust of citizens in the neutrality and reliability of public administrations.
    Open Source or Open Source Software (OSS) See the 10 criteria that define Open Source Software (OSS) at the Open Source Initiative web site.
    An alternative definition (of Free Software) can be found here.
    Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR) The Open Source Observatory and Repository for European public administrations (OSOR) is a platform for exchanging information, experiences and OSS-based code for use in public administrations (see migration on Joinup).
    Orchestration The aggregation and sequenced execution of sets of transactions involving use of other services and functionalities, according to business rules embodied in one or more documented business processes, with the ultimate goal of performing or providing some other value-added function or service. Orchestration is closely related to the concept of workflow. Usually orchestration involves executing a set of processes, described in a standard language, by an ‘orchestration engine’, which is configurable and capable of executing all the requisite service calls and routing the inputs and outputs of processes according to rules described in that language.
  • Point of Single Contact (PoSC) Single institutional interlocutor for a given service provider through which the latter can collect all relevant information and easily complete at a distance and by electronic means all procedures and formalities to access a service activity and to the exercise thereof (see Article 8 of the Services Directive — OJ L376 of 27.12.2006).
    Portal NIO  National contact point to share and consult documents on interoperability solutions for public administration.
    Proprietary Software Software that, generally for a fee, can be used on a limited number of computers and/or by a limited number of users. The internal working of the software (the source code) is not available for study and/or modification by the user.
    Proprietary Specifications Generally refers to specifications that are either partially or totally unpublished, or are only available from a single vendor for a substantial fee, and/or under restrictive terms, thus making the implementation and use by third parties of products that conform to the given specifications subject to control.
    Protocol A set of conventions that govern the interaction of processes, devices and other components within and across systems.
    Publisher This property refers to an entity (organisation) responsible for making the Assets available.
  • Record Document(s) produced or received by a person or organisation in the course of business, and retained by that person or organisation (see MOREQ specifications).
    Note: a record may incorporate one or several documents (e.g. when one document has attachments), and may be on any medium in any format. In addition to the content of the document(s), it should include contextual information and, if applicable, structural information (i.e. information which describes the components of the record). A key feature of a record is that it cannot be changed.
    Release date This property contains the date of formal issuance (e.g., publication) of the Asset.
    Reusability The degree to which a software module or other work product can be used in contexts other than its original, intended or main purpose.

    Reusability of solutions
    The reusability of solutions (e.g. software components, Application Programming Interfaces, standards) is an enabler of interoperability and improves services quality as it extends operational use, while saving money and time. It also includes the use of open source.
  • Secure Data Exchange This is a component of the conceptual model for European public services. Its aim is to ensure that all cross-border data exchanges are done in a secure and controlled way.
    Semantic Interoperability Centre Europe (SEMIC.EU) SEMIC.EU (Semantic Interoperability Centre Europe) is a collaborative platform and service offered by the European Commission to support the sharing of interoperability assets to be used in public administrations and eGovernment (see migration on Joinup).
    Semantic Interoperability Assets Semantic interoperability assets are a subset of interoperability assets and include any element of the semantic layer, such as nomenclatures, thesauri, multilingual dictionaries, ontologies, mapping-tables, mapping-rules, service descriptions, categories, and web services.
    Service Orientation Service orientation means creating and using business processes packaged as services.
    Service Level Agreement A formalised agreement between two cooperating entities; typically, a service provider and a user. The agreement is expressed in the form of a written, negotiated contract. Typically, such agreements define specific metrics (Key Performance Indicators — KPIs) for measuring the performance of the service provider (which in total define the ‘service level’), and document binding commitments defined as the attainment of specific targets for certain KPIs, plus associated actions such as corrective measures. SLAs can also cover commitments by the user, for example to meet certain notification deadlines, provide facilities or other resources needed by the service provider in the course of service provision, problem solving, or to process inputs given by the service provider to the user.
    Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) Service oriented architecture is a paradigm for organising and utilising distributed capabilities that may be under the control of different ownership domains. It provides a uniform means to offer, discover, interact with and use capabilities to produce desired effects consistent with measurable preconditions and expectations (from OASIS Reference Model for SOA: http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/19679/soa-rm-cs.pdf).
    Operational applications and infrastructures of a generic nature which meet common user requirements across policy areas ( from the legal decision).
    Smart data platforms
    (or Urban Data Platforms)
    Smart data platforms (or Urban Data Platforms) are IT infrastructures, which either capture fast-moving data produced by measurement equipment (i.e. sensors - IoT) or manage more slow-moving data like GIS data or data that is stored in various local databases of which the data does not change often.
     Most initiatives would be found at sub-national level.
    Standard As defined in European legislation (Article 1, paragraph 6, of Directive 98/34/EC), a standard is a technical specification approved by a recognised standardisation body for repeated or continuous application, with which compliance is not compulsory and which is one of the following:
    - international standard: a standard adopted by an international standardisation organisation and made available to the public,
    - European standard: a standard adopted by a European standardisation body and made available to the public,
    - national standard: a standard adopted by a national standardisation body and made available to the public.
    Standards developing organisation A chartered organisation tasked with producing standards and specifications, according to specific, strictly defined requirements, procedures and rules.
    Standards developing organisations include:
    - recognised standardisation bodies such as international standardisation committees such as the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the three European Standard Organisations: the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation(CENELEC) or the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI);
    - fora and consortia initiatives for standardisation such as the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) or the Internet Engineering Task Force(IETF).
  • Taxonomy A taxonomy represents a classification of the standardised terminology for all terms used within a knowledge domain. In a taxonomy, all elements are grouped and categorised in a strict hierarchical way, and are usually represented by a tree structure. In a taxonomy, the individual elements are required to reside in the same semantic scope, so all elements are semantically related with one another to one degree or another.
    Title This property contains a name given to the Asset. This property can be repeated for parallel language versions of the name.
  • Vocabulary A vocabulary is a set of terms (words or phrases) that describe information in a particular domain.
  • Workflow The organisation of a process into a sequence of tasks that are performed by duly designated sets of actors fulfilling given roles in order to complete the process.