Update July 2010: Check my notes on the FORM API from the IT and Telecom Agency.

December 2009

The Danish Government Business Reference Model – FORM (in Danish) – is an overview of what government does, which services it provides, and which legislation that regulates these services.

FORM is available as a, let’s face it, rather unimpressive website, but is also available in XML. Not a very beautiful XML, but it’s there (XML-files and XSDs can be downloaded). This way, FORM is itself ‘open government data’, but what is perhaps more important is, that FORM can be a very useful ingredient in opening up the Danish government’s data, and giving that some common structure (metadata). The list of FORM users is already quite long. But it can be much longer.

To demonstrate alternative use of FORM data, I have created a basic proof-of-concept using less than 10 lines of code and the XML-source. That is enough to give a few examples, such as the complete list of government services. And, just to use that for something, I went ahead and had Wordle make the word cloud image shown here (click on it to see Wordles’ larger version). That should do it as an illustration of one – yes, I know, not very original – way of using FORM.

But surely, there must be more interesting ways to use it !?! Stuff like FORM is essential for realising the ideas of ‘coherency management’ and ‘government 2.0 and onwards’, as explored in my two recent books, see below.

As such, on its own, FORM is of course ‘only’ reference information, and as such only really becomes interesting when used in a given context. When we, for example, can see how much government spends on each of the 12 service areas, etc. We can of course sit down and wait for government itself to come up with creative and innovative ways to use FORM, but I’d much rather see government focusing on getting its data “in FORM”, i.e., to use the FORM taxonomy in its (meta)data provision of source data. So that they and we can connect the data more accurately.

I named my project NemFORM. Putting “Nem-” (“easy”) in front of products and services is a custom the Danish government has adapted over the past years (NemLøn; NemLogin; etc). So I run the risk of getting the government after me, but what the heck … I actually came up with another Nem-service: NemDigitaliser, which screenscapes information about standards at; I provide some futher details, in Danish, here).

Read more about my experience with FORM XML, and also see the demo of a JQuery-empowered FORM usage.

My book, State of the eUnion: Government 2.0 and Onwards, edited with Christian Bering, is a compilation of chapters about government 2.0, written by international experts. Together with Doucet, Saha and Bernard, I co-edited Coherency Management: Architecting the Enterprise for Alignment, Agility and Assurance, about the future of enterprise architecture.