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e-Profile Management as a Basic Horizontal Service for the Creation of Specialized e-Services

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e-Profile Management as a Basic Horizontal Service for the Creation of Specialized e-Services
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  e-Profile Management as a Basic Horizontal Service forthe Creation of Specialized e-Services Maria Chiara Pettenati, Franco Pirri, Dino Giuli Electronics and Telecommunications Department, University of Florence[mariachiara.pettenati, franco.pirri, dino.giuli]@unifi.itIntegrating raw data with the Web, i.e. making a Web of Data, has the intrinsicpower to create maximum utility for the Netizens. However current technicalapproaches in this direction fail in handling properties such as data provenanceand licensing, thus increasing the chasm between the trend to “open data formaximum reuse” and the security and privacy needs related to users’ personaldata (e-Profile) treatment. In such a context a specific challenge is thedevelopment of innovative and alternative approaches for e-Profiles creationand management. The InterDataNet architecture is herewith considered asinfrastructural solution aiming at providing a Web-based trust-enablingmanagement of e-Profiles to third party generic e-Service Providers to supportaccess and delivery of trusted and personalized e-Services. This paper presentssome flashes of a more detailed analysis in progress on this problem, madeaccording to the multiplicity of the Service Science, Management andEngineering perspectives, to highlight the prospected advantages and theviability involved by the proposed approach. 1. Introduction Information guides our behavior and decisions. We live in an age in which theessential raw material is information; i.e. data with a context. Handling distributedgranular information and its context via the Web, in such a way that it can ground thedevelopment of e-Services is a cornerstone in the development of science fieldsrelated to the Web Science (webscience.org/home.html). The pervasive fruition of e-Services in several domains of human’s life, ranging from informationcommunication and culture, citizenship, social relations, finance, commerce, mobility,education, working, entertainment, assistance, emergency, etc. inevitably involves asignificant management of   personal digital information, also referred to as user  profiles or e-Profiles . In this paper we address the creation and management of e-Profiles as basic global – i.e. Web-wide - e-Service. The e-Profile basic service isconceived as a horizontal service handled by a network of e-Profile Service Providers(e-PSP), which can be made commonly shareable and accessible by heterogeneous e-Services delivered by third party Service Providers supporting the effective and trust-enabling management of users-digital identities, while guaranteeing consistence and  availability of user personal information across several application domains. GenericService Providers could thus focus on the delivery of specialized, trusted and addedvalue services, relying on an e-profile basic Service provided by a third, trusted party.We advocate the feasibility of such an e-Service System thanks to the use of InterDataNet infrastructure as a trust-enabling middleware framework for managinge-profiles data in a distributed Web-based way. The Web-based management of users’profiles involves nowadays subtle and complex processes of creation, collection,management and exploitation of users’ data which are at the centre of manycontroversies and studies.Specific, yet often domain-dependent analysis, of e-profile management comes fromdomains such as:-   E-commerce, customer relationship management, service personalization, etc.-   Management of public sector information-   e-government back-office and front-office service provision, etc.-   Human-computer interaction, usability, accessibility, etc.-   Law, regulation, policies-   Security and privacy-   Identity management, federated identities, personal data portability-   Network protocolsIn order to approach the “Web of Trust” functions [1] the development of evolutionary e-Service architectures is needed. Such architecture should deal, amongothers – with the following user-related requirements: privacy, security, usability andaccessibility, self-management, role-based access/functions, transparency, IPR,reliability, availability, personalization, service level agreement etc. [2] [3].At present, proposed solutions to meet these requirements, often aim to address alimited set of users needs and/or they represent vertical, domain-dependent and,largely, proprietary solutions. Moreover, current approaches to e-profiles creation andmanagement are not suitable for being extended as Service Systems for providing thebasic services needed for the proper development of further specialized e-Services(such as e-government, e-business, etc.) because they do not provide the requiredscalability and flexibility to allow a profile based on many different and changingparameters to be exploited in different contexts, because they are either based onapplications-specific, centralized architecture or require adoption of common(technological and organizational) standards. 2. e-Profile Service System At a general level, the e-Profile Service System (e-PSS) mediates the relationshipbetween a Client (the user) and the Server (the generic Service Provider) – see Figure1 - in order to allow access and delivery of trusted and personalized Services. To thisend, the Service System is required to provide to the user the needed authenticationand access capabilities to the System. The e-PSS is entitled to the e-ProfilesProduction, i.e. the aggregation of (open and private) data from different users’ data  sources, or e-Profile Service Providers (e.g. Content Providers, Social Networks,Context-information Providers, Public Administrations, etc.). Under the user’spermission, the e-PSS provides the user’s e-Profile views to third party ServiceProviders (S in Figure 1) for the creation of personalized services.Figure 1: Main functions of the e-Profile Service System (e-PSS)As it is illustrated in Figure 1, the Client (i.e. the User) defines and manages its owne-Profile together with one or more “trusted eProfile Service Providers” (e-PSP-C inFigure 1). The generic e-Service Provider (S in Figure 1) defines and manages the e-Profile templates it needs to build specialized e-Services together with one or more“trusted eProfile Service Providers” (ePSP-S in Figure 1). The “e-Profile ServiceProvider Network” (e-PSP Network in Figure 1) puts together the Client’s e-Profileaccording to the specified Service Provider’s template and can anonymize sensibledata if needed. The communication paradigm of the e-PSP Network is not specified atthis stage, but the simplest case is when ePSP-C and ePSP-S directly communicatethrough a secure private channel. 3. A Middleware Infrastructure Managing the e-Profile as a Web-based Basic e-Service The approach proposed in this paper introduces a significant innovation along oneof the Service Science areas [4, Table 11-4], the Information and CommunicationEngineering area, since it leverages on a transitional development of the Webinfrastructure in which personal digital information is managed. This view builds onthe idea that the current Web of document is unsuitable for providing the requiredSystem properties of a global basic e-Profile management services because of threemain issues: 1) the lack of granularity in the access and management of the single data  element composing the e-Profile 2) the lack of control on attributes such asprovenance and authorship of the granular data, 3) the lack of infrastructural supportto 1) and 2). Indeed, granular data management is addressed by the current Web of Data approach [5] aimed at providing machine-readable data, given explicit semanticsand published online, coupled with the ability to link data in distributed data sets.If this approach could seem to satisfy the property 1) above, improvements aresought in order to satisfy also property 2). However, the heart of the matter is thatcurrent state of the art Web of Data approaches lead us back to a complex systemsolution in which property 3) in not at all addressed let aside satisfied. This introducesa higher level of complexity of the system on managing e-Profiles at a global levelthan the one verified in the Web of Documents. To the extent of lowering systemcomplexity and increase the manageability of the problem, we propose theintroduction of a common infrastructure which can provide e-Services Providers withtransparent access to e-Profiles management services at a Web-wide scale (see Figure2). Our approach innovates on the Web of Documents because it introduces granularaddressability of data and offers a uniform Web-based read-write interface todistributed heterogeneous profile data management in a cooperation-enablingenvironment. This approach is sustained by the InterDataNet (IDN) [6] [7]middleware conceptual infrastructural solution (see Figure 2). IDN architecturesustains global addressability of resources and is designed to infrastructurally handlebasic cooperation-oriented capabilities (licensing, provenance, consistency, security,privacy, availability and history). IDN framework is described through the ensembleof concepts, models and technologies pertaining to the following two views: 1) IDN-IM (InterDataNet Information Model) . It is the shared information modelrepresenting a generic document model which is independent from specific contextsand technologies. It defines the requirements, desirable properties, principles andstructure of the document to be managed by IDN; 2) IDN-SA (InterDataNet ServiceArchitecture) . It is the architectural layered model (see Figure 2) handling IDN-IMdocuments (it manages the IDN-IM concrete instances allowing the users to “act” onpieces of information and documents). The IDN-SA exposes an IDN-API(Application Programming Interface) on top of which IDN-compliant Applicationscan be developed.The e-Profile is an IDN standard document modelled according to the IDNInformation Model. Each node of the e-Profile document is a complex assertionimplicitly declared true by the User. It can thus be formalized as an aggregation of data units handled by the different e-PSP (see Figure 1). The e-Profile is a graph andeach data of the graph can be handled using its global identifier and according to itsspecific properties – i.e. metadata. The IDN-Service Architecture handles such datastructure through its layers (see Figure 2) to guarantee their properties and provide –atan Application Level – the e-Profile template document filled with users’ dataaggregated from trusted sources.We have introduced an overview of the ongoing work related to the concept of e-Profile basic service aimed a supporting access and personalization of e-Services.  Specific highlight is provided on the InterDataNet solution for its capabilities inenabling the development of such a e-Profile Service System (Figure 1).Figure 2: InterDataNet Middleware [6] [7] grounding the e-Profiles Basic Service References 1.   Artz, D., & Gil, Y. (2007). A survey of trust in computer science and the SemanticWeb. Web Semant., 5(2), 58-71.2.   Giuli, D., Pettenati, M. C., & Parlanti, D. (2006). Individual and social needsmotivating trust-enabling intermediation services. In Proceedings of the 13thEuropean conference on Cognitive ergonomics: trust and control in complex socio-technical systems (pagg. 111-112). Zurich, Switzerland: ACM.3.   Hoffman, L. J., Lawson-Jenkins, K., & Blum, J. (2006). Trust beyond security: anexpanded trust model. Commun. ACM, 49(7), 94-101.4.   Targowski, Andrew. (2009). Information Society and Societal Development.Hershey, New York: Information Science Reference. pp. 254-276.5.   Bizer, C., Heath, T. & Berners Lee, S.T., (2009). Linked Data - The Story So Far.International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems, Special Issue onLinked Data Vol.5, No.36.   Pirri, F., Pettenati M.C., Innocenti, S., Chini D, Parlanti D. and Ciofi L. Proceedingsof WebSci'09: Society On-Line, InterDataNet: an Infrastructural Approach for theWeb of Data Athens, Greece 18th–20th March, 20097.   Pettenati, M.C., Innocenti, S., Chini, D., Parlanti D. & Pirri, F., 2008. Interdatanet: AData Web Foundation For The Semantic Web Vision, Iadis International Journal OnWww/Internet Vol.6 Issue 2.
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