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EU - eRepresentative : A virtual desktop to support the mobile elected representative

Sixth Framework Programme: Information Society Technologies IST

eRepresentative is a STREP project funded under the European Commission's sixth framework programme: Information Society Technologies IST (Number: 026985). The project started February 2006 and is funded for 2 years.

A summary of this project is also available as a PowerPoint file

The primary research focus of the project is to investigate the potential impact of a virtual elected representative's desktop - the "eRepresentative" to support the work of elected representatives at national, regional and local level by making legislative and local assembly services more effective and tailored to meet their individual requirements. It aims to bring social and technological innovation to the work of national, regional and local elected representatives with the objective of enhancing their working environment by enabling them to work anytime and from anywhere with secure access to relevant and appropriate information.

"eRepresentative" explores the extent to which a novel combination of information management, mobile technologies and security systems can be designed to enable information sharing and access to large-scale information repositories to provide elected representatives with a mobile, personalised working environment. In order to scope the research, the application focus is on the legislative process through legislative committees. The research challenge is ensuring that information and working knowledge can be shared and used by elected representatives both within their normal secure committee/chamber environment and other locations (their homes, constituency offices and when travelling).

Specific scientific and technical objectives:

Key innovations:

  1. Personalised Information exchange on a pan European scale to foster an enlarged Europe.
  2. System integration with assembly voting systems
  3. Secure remote access to information supporting multi-channel access modes in collaborative environments:
    • Application level cryptography to grant end-to-end protection to sensitive political information through the development of new and innovative advanced cryptographic protocols to address the specific security requirements of elected representatives
  4. Extension of DSpace to enable the robust operation of the repository and agent interaction supporting:
    • Document authenticity verification
    • "Trusted" federation of content.
    • Content organisation, metadata for eGov publications
    • Dynamic/customised views of data/search results.
  5. Intelligent agents delivering real-time assembly information
    • Information selected and customised.
  6. Legislative Document Mark-up Language (LDML)
    • supporting the evolution of an extensible European Standard document definition which will allow the exchange of legislative documents between heterogeneous systems

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Work Packages:

eRepresentative has nine workpackages, which will run in parallel over the proposed 24-month duration of the project:

WP 1 "Legislative Modelling" aims to capture and model the legislative document production process including all significant events, inputs, resources and outputs associated with legislative proceedings. It will then map the existing legacy systems to determine data sources and system interface requirements. This WP will run from M1 - M4 and the expected results are a legislative process diagram; a collection and evaluation of existing data sources; a clear understanding of system development interfaces and standardization requirements.

WP2 "User requirements & Best Practice" aims to define the "eRepresentative" requirements in terms of the principle electronic legislative activities that they need to support in both the participating elected assemblies and in a cross-section of other elected assemblies across Europe, so as to ensure that the results are as generic as possible and can be exploited as widely as possible. This will enable all partners to fully appreciate the current state of mobile working environments within elected assemblies in Europe.

WP3 "Security & Mobility" aims to assess the security and mobility solutions that are currently being used by the European legislative assemblies, and to propose alternative security and mobility solutions for the new "eRepresentative" virtual desktop. The proposed security and mobility solutions will have to meet certain technical, legal and usability standards and be compatible with legacy systems.

WP4 "Integration & Intelligent Agent development" aims to develop the architecture design for the eRepresentative platform; select the development tools and design the intelligent agent architecture; design the interface between DSpace and the intelligent agents and the development interface between DSpace and the assemblies' legacy systems; implement an initial alpha secure system for deployment in the pilot elected assemblies and implement ßeta version the of legislative working environment which supports inter and intra-assembly communications as proof of concept.

WP5 "Mobile Working Strategy for eRepresentative" aims to ensure that the elected assemblies have sufficient knowledge and reference material to understand how to progress from an "in-house" working environment to a "virtual mobile" working environment. Previous studies have highlighted a number of issues surrounding the deployment and use of the mobile working environments. One of the main challenges is to ensure that all levels of users have the ability and confidence to move to a new way of working. Therefore it is important for the eRepresentative consortium to understand how to move both elected representatives and legislative ICT staff from their current in-house work practices to the virtual eRepresentative desktop.

WP6 "Pilot the "eRepresentative" virtual desktop" aims to deploy and test the alpha version within the participating elected assemblies in the Netherlands, Spain, Lithuania, Hungary and Ireland. The alpha system will focus on supporting inter-legislative activities. Following initial feedback, a beta version will be deployed and tested, which will focus on supporting both inter and intra-legislative communications. Additional elected assemblies may participate in this phase at their own expense.

WP7 "Validation & Impact Assessment" evaluates the "eRepresentative" deliverables from a socio-technical perspective. In other words, does the environment perform as it should and does it deliver an environment that effectively supports the mobile work of elected representatives and associated legislative processes?

WP8 "Dissemination & Exploitation" aims to promote the results of the project among all the potential users (elected assemblies) and democratic institutions at all levels (local, regional, national and supranational). Demonstrations will be arranged with elected assemblies beyond the Consortium members and promotional activities will be organised.

WP9 is Project Management.

Contact Information:

The eRepresentative project website

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