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Effective electronic governance relies upon the transmission of meaningful metadata: information about intents and purposes, provenance and form. Mechanisms for the definition and communication of this metadata, and for its automatic incorporation in software interfaces and artifacts, already exist. However, there is as yet no well-understood mechanism the establishment and maintenance of an agreed collection of metadata for a specific, common purpose. Semantic interoperability - the ability of systems to work together, using common interpretations of data and services - can thus be difficult to achieve. This paper explains how collections of metadata, describing data usage and data standards, can be established and maintained, and examines their application to semantic interoperability in two domains: in clinical informatics, and in public sector coordination. A number of recommendations are made regarding the use of metadata and models for interoperability. © 2010 IEEE.

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