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Introduction  Foreword
 Understanding interoperability


Database of papers and projects

John Baptista, Paolo Spagnoletti, Andrew Wallwork, Stephan Freh, LSE 


A major component of this deliverable is the development of a database of papers and projects which support the writing of this deliverable. We started by collecting up to date literature on the topics of “interoperability” and “identity”. We have selected the key 100 papers for these topics and have created a tool to help the FIDIS community in accessing important papers in this field. 


In the first stage we selected keywords that we considered relevant. The following key terms were used “Interoperability”, “interoperable/operate”, “e-Government”, “e-governance”, “Identity”, “Identity Management Systems” and “Semantics”. We also used combinations of key words: e.g. “Interoperability” and “eGovernment”. We then employed words with more broad scope combined with those above, including: “culture”, “social”, “society”, “formal”, “informal”, “community”, “collaboration”, “cooperation”, “compatibility”, “legal”, “framework” and “trust”.


We used the main academic search engines such as SwetsWise, EBSCO, ingenta, IEEE, Synergy, SpringerLink, GoogleScholar, ScienceDirect, Emerald, ACM digital library. 


We collected over 200 articles addressing issues of interoperability and identity. We then built an Excel database with all articles including authors, date, journal and abstract. In order to find the most relevant papers for the review of current literature we ranked each paper according to its relevance for “interoperability” and “identity”. 


Because there were three researchers involved in the ranking, each with different approaches, criteria for standardising the allocation of rates had to be developed. The researchers met in the first instance to mark papers and cross-check their choices. They then marked groups of papers and exchanged results for fine-tuning the standardisation process. In the last stage, all papers were double-marked to improve overall coherence of classifications. 


Each paper was rated according to the following criteria: 

  1. Relevance for interoperability: the degree to which the paper discusses the topic of interoperability regardless of the application domain; 

  2. Relevance for identity: the degree to which the paper addresses important issues of IMS; 

  3. The extent to which the paper focuses on each of the following dimensions of interoperability: 

    1. Technical: relates to the ability to interchange data, protocols, technical standardisation 

    2. Formal: relates to agreement at the policy level, existence of common rules and regulation 

    3. Informal: relates to socio-cultural understanding, ability to exchange meaning between domains  


We then decided to focus on the most relevant 100 papers, discarding those which ranked lower on our scales. The final database includes the most relevant 100 papers on the topics of “interoperability” and “identity” that we found. presents a snapshot of this database.




Figure : Database of papers and projects


We used this database as a basis for writing this document and as a starting point for WP4. We believe that this will offer a solid base to build up, over time, our work on this Workpackage. This database is in constant development and we encourage contributions. Please send any comments or articles to be included to


In the next section, we present a brief summary of the papers we found most relevant according to the criteria described above. 



Review of papers 

We now present the top 10 papers scoring high on relevance in identity and interoperability, giving a brief summary of each. 








Kinder 2003 







Hayat, 2004 



IDABC 2005 

Table : Top 10 papers in the database


Kinder 2003

“Mrs Miller Moves House: the interoperability of Local Public Services in Europe”  

Journal of European and Social Policy 13:2 


In this article, Tony Kinder analyses the various dimensions of interoperability in public services in local administration. He uses a normal everyday life event as an example to discuss the various levels of interoperability. He presents the case of when Mrs Miller moved house and how seven local councils dealt with this situation. He concludes that the technical dimension of interoperability is only one dimension of the interoperability phenomenon and that other dimensions should be considered. 



Semantic Interoperability in Global Information Systems 

SIGMOD Record: 28:1 


Aris Ouksel and Amit Sheth present a framework for analysing interoperability which looks at the various dimensions of this phenomenon: Semantic, Structural, Syntactic and Systems Interoperability. They discuss the need for interoperability in the light of increased complexity and need to interlink systems. 



“An ontological and semantical approach to source-receiver Interoperability” 

Decision Support Systems 18 145-158 


Jacob Lee Michael D. Siegel present a strongly technical solution for interoperability, based on semantics and ontology approaches. 



“European initiatives to develop interoperability of enterprise applications—basic concepts, framework and roadmap” 

Annual Reviews in Control 27 


David Chen and Guy Doumeingts discuss FP6 EU projects on interoperability, such as IDEAS, INTEROP and ATHENA. They discuss interoperability at three levels: Business, Knowledge and ICT Systems. State-of-the-art and user requirements are presented. 





“Realising the promise: Government Information Systems and the fourth generation of Information Technology” 

Public Administration Review 61, 2 page 206 - 220 


David Landsbergen and George Wolken argue that “Interoperability is more than digital plumbing”. They argue that interoperability is about people talking and sharing information. They discuss the political, organisational and economical dimensions of interoperability. They discuss the willingness to share information and the need to establish proper dialogue prior to engaging in data interchange. 



“Top Down or Bottom Up?  How to establish a common ground for semantic interoperability within e-government communities”

Working paper, Copenhagen Business School, Informatics Department 


Ralph Klischewski thoroughly discusses the relationship between ontology and interoperability. Are semantic agreement and common worldviews required for the establishment of interoperability? He uses semantic web research on e-government research to discuss semantic interoperability. 


Hayat, 2004

A-SIT 2004: Survey on EU’s Electronic – ID Solutions 


This document presents a survey on e-ID projects in EU countries. The authors discuss the need for identity systems in e-government and e-commerce. 


eAuthentication, 2004

Towards an electronic ID for the European Citizen, a strategic vision 


This is an EU document reporting the views from the participants of the Workshop on eAuthentication. It presents the state-of-the-art on electronic ID in Europe. 



Electronic Identity White Paper "eEurope smart cards / Trailblazer 1 ‘Public Identity’" 

Information Society IST, European Community 


This is an EU document discussing the interoperability of electronic IDs in Europe, providing a good review of smart cards and other technological advancements in electronic ID. 


IDABC 2005

European Interoperability Framework 


The IDABC is a key source of information on interoperability in Europe. The authors have developed the European Interoperability Framework which has the following mission statement: “The European Interoperability Framework defines a set of recommendations and guidelines for eGovernment services so that public administrations, enterprises and citizens can interact across borders, in a pan-European context.” 


Review of projects  

Paolo Spagnoletti LSE 


We have also researched projects that focus on interoperability. To date, we have focused on the European context only, but we plan to extend this research to other countries. 


Several research projects on interoperability and identity have been financed through the EU’s 5th and 6th Framework Programme in the context of Information Society Technologies (IST) actions. IST is a single, integrated research programme building on the convergence of information processing, communications and media technologies. IST has an approximate budget of 3.6 billion euro and is managed by the Information Society DG of the European Commission. IST Project Fact Sheets are stored in the RTD Projects database of CORDIS ( and projects can be browsed or searched using various criteria.


eTEN is another EU programme designed to help the deployment of telecommunication network-based services (e-services) with a trans-European dimension. This programme aims to accelerate the take-up of services in order to sustain the European social model of an inclusive, cohesive society. Its objectives lie at the very heart of the eEurope mission of "an information society for all". It promotes public interest services that give every citizen, enterprise and administration full opportunity to gain from the e-Society. The eTEN projects can be found in the eTEN database  




Database overview 

We now present some results obtained performing queries on the Cordis and the eTen databases using keywords related to interoperability and identity concepts. shows the number of projects for both topics in these databases:

Figure : distribution of projects (1st March 2005)


As a first result, we can see that the number of projects related to “interoperability” is 285 from a total of 2915 projects in both databases. Therefore 10% of the overall number of projects in both databases is related to interoperability matters.  


Second, grouping the Cordis database projects around the different strategic objectives in FP5 and FP6, we observe a shift in the area that includes the majority of interoperability-related projects. In FP5, more than 50% (75 projects from a total of 147) of financed projects are classified in the area of “Essential technologies and infrastructure”, while in FP6 interoperability-related projects are less concentrated on a single strategic objective and 23% of the projects (9 out of 40) are in the “Networked businesses and governments” area. 


This shift can be related to a change in the definition of the term “interoperability” as evidenced in the literature. During the life of FP5, the term interoperability was used to indicate the ability of systems to exchange data and the perspectives were more focused on technology and infrastructures, whereas in FP6 the holistic view of interoperability makes this concept horizontal and the focus is more on services than infrastructures.  



Figure : Data chart of interoperability projects for strategic objectives


Key EU interoperability projects 

To complete this overview of the state of the art in EU research projects on the interoperability of identity, we briefly describe some of the projects that we chose from the Cordis and the eTen database. To find the latest information, we suggest that readers refer to the web pages of each project in the specific area. In this section, we present some of the projects, giving a brief introduction and then reporting the Fact Sheets information available on the database. 


Issues relating to the interoperability of identity arise when the interoperability of technological systems, systems, processes and people have been addressed. Therefore we start this section by introducing two of the main EU projects related to interoperability: the ATHENA Integrated Project and the INTEROP NoE. 


The ATHENA project aims to remove the barriers to interoperability between “networked organizations” and to transfer and apply research results in industrial sectors using a holistic perspective and a multi-disciplinary approach to address interoperability in respect of all layers of an enterprise (including ICT Systems, Knowledge, Business and Semantics). ATHENA will be a source of technical inventions for interoperability and will also lead to prototypes, technical specifications, guidelines and best practices. 


Another important EU project addressing interoperability is INTEROP NoE. This project aims to develop industrially significant new knowledge in order to interlink systems (information, production, decision support) of European Enterprises, including SMEs. It also aims to have strong interaction with Integrated Projects, such as ATHENA, in the same domain of interest. 


When interoperability of services is achieved, new issues on identity management will need to be addressed. The PRIME Integrated Project aims to research, develop and evaluate solutions for privacy-enhancing identity management that focus on end-users, in order to reduce the risks to citizens’ privacy in critical domains, such as mobility, health care and the exercise of democracy. Furthermore, the GUIDE Integrated Project is focused on creating a European conceptual framework for electronic identity management for eGovernment. Here the issue is to examine the growth of identity theft and the related massive security and economic consequences. GUIDE has a long-term vision to make Europe the global leader of eGovernment services by creating an open architecture for eGovernment authentication. 


Two small projects are also mentioned in this section, the PISA FP5 project and the eTEN RISER project. The former is examining privacy-enhancing technologies that remove all unnecessary linkages to users’ personally identifying information. Such agent-based technology can enable users, as consumers or citizens in e-commerce and e-government transactions and communications, to protect themselves against loss of information privacy. The latter is an example of a service that will improve the interoperability of secure cross-border exchange of sensitive personal data within Europe, offering the verification of address information as a seamless eGovernment service. 


We now present a brief synopsis of the most relevant EU projects on interoperability: 


ATHENA (Integrated Project IST FP6) 

Advanced Technologies for interoperability of Heterogeneous Enterprise Networks and their Applications 

26.51 million euro  



Interoperability Research for Networked Enterprises Applications and Software

18.19 million euro


PRIME (Integrated Project IST FP6) 

Privacy and Identity Management for Europe 

13.14 million euro  


GUIDE (Integrated Project IST FP6)

Creating a European Identity Management Architecture for eGovernment 

Project Cost: 12.47 million euro


PISA (IST FP5, completed)  

Privacy Incorporated Software Agent: Building a privacy guardian for the electronic age. 

3.26 million euro  


RISER (eTen 2003) 

Registry Information Service on European Residents  

1.8 million euro 



In the next section we discuss the concept of interoperability by reviewing the existing literature. We also present a framework to support the analysis of projects and the development of requirements for achieving interoperability. 



Introduction  fidis-wp4-del4.1.account_interoperability_02.sxw  Understanding interoperability
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