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Software Applications

 Activity no. 3: Develop, deploy and support software applications and open standards

Activity 3.1 Deploy and support Bungeni1 - Parliamentary Information System (PIS)
3.1.1 Customise Bungeni to the requirements and specifications of individual Parliaments.
3.1.2 Install and commission Bungeni in national parliaments.
3.1.3 Development of additional software module for Bungeni, maintenance and management of evolution of the core functionalities

 

The regional pilot project "Strengthening Parliaments' Information System in Africa" developed Bungeni – an end-to-end suite of applications that provides a world-leading solution for drafting, managing, consolidating and publishing legislative and other parliamentary documents. Bungeni wants to address the growing and challenging demands of increasing the efficiency of parliamentary activities and at the same time making Parliaments more open and accessible to citizens, virtually allowing them “inside the Parliament” or Bungeni (the Kiswahili word for “inside the Parliament”).

Bungeni is built upon key pillars of open source, multi-platform, open standards, and multilingualism, which makes it applicable in the very different African contexts. It uses a unique approach that gives legislative drafters a familiar word-processing experience using the familiar Open-Office word-processing package for document creation, but ultimately stores the documentary information as platform independent structured XML files (for more information on Bungeni please see www.bungeni.org).

Some of the tasks which will be undertaken for deployment of the Bungeni Parliamentary Information System include:

  • Customise the system to the specific requirements of each Parliament. The Bungeni solution offers a variety of features and functionalities. However, a certain degree of customization may be required in order to meet the specific requirements of each parliament.
  • Manage the updating and evolution of Bungeni system.
  • Users requirements may change and evolve as they use the system, and as the system comes more into contact with other systems used by parliament. In view of foreseeing these requirements, and making the system more adaptable over time, the system must be kept up to with current technologies and security requirements. Additionally when more users starting using the system scalability and performance issues may come up which might also require modification of the system. In some of these instances modules outside of the core Parliamentary Information System may need to be deployed e.g. an Integrated Library System and Digital Repository System, or the Bungeni core itself modified to meet these requirements.
  • Supporting the system – As with any software application, software bugs may come up in the different software components, and these reports from the users will need to be recorded, analysed and fixed on an ongoing basis.
Activity 3.2 Support adoption and evolution of the “AKOMA NTOSO2 (Architecture for Knowledge-Oriented Management of African Normative Texts using Open Standards and Ontologies)
3.2.1 Develop technical guidelines of AKOMA NTOSO and traditions/country specific documentation
3.2.2 Support the adoption AKOMA NTOSO through the localisation of the document specific XML schemas tailored to the individual country, customisation of editor for the mark-up and parliaments specific training activities.
3.2.3 Support the development of Africa Parliamentary Topic Map to address the twin problems of finding information and sharing knowledge in the parliamentary domain.
3.2.4 Operating costs of the Pan-African AKOMA NTOSO Working Group in charge of management of the evolution of standard and drafting Guidelines.

 

Open access” requires that the information and the search and retrieval of data is structured in a way that allows users (MPs, the Executive, citizens, public administration and enterprises) to access and manipulate the information in the form that is most convenient to them.

The AKOMA NTOSO framework, developed by the regional pilot project “Strengthening Parliaments' Information Systems in Africa” is an enabling framework for the effective access to and exchange of machine readable parliamentary, legislative and judiciary documents such as legislation, debate record, judgments etc. AKOMA NTOSO aims standardize simple, technology-neutral representations of parliamentary documents (more information can be found on www.akomantoso.org

In order to promote the adoption and management of AKOMA NTOSO the Project will:

  • Develop the technical implementation guidelines for the AKOMA NTOSO framework for open access.
  • Provide support to the Parliaments and other national relevant institutions (e.g. Attorney General offices and Judiciaries) for the adoption of AKOMA NTOSO
  • Establish the AKOMA NTOSO Working Group, under the aegis of the Pan African Parliament based in South Africa.

The Project will also support the development of Africa Parliamentary Topic Map to address the twin problems of finding information and sharing knowledge in the parliamentary domain. The aim is to develop a common and multilingual topic map that aims at enhancing the efficiency of searching for information across languages. The Topic Map will be building on the experience of Eurovoc  - a multilingual thesaurus based on the European Parliament’s Eurovoc, thesaurus in use in more than 25 parliaments for more than 20 years.