Vendors urge feds to use UDDI

MAY 21—Agencies that want to publicize their electronic-government services soon might be able to take advantage of the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration directory project.

By Patricia Daukantas

GCN Staff


MAY 21—Agencies that want to publicize their electronic-government services soon might be able to take advantage of the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration directory project.

The fledgling effort, which has enlisted more than 200 vendors, is building platform-independent, targeted directories of Web services—programs and applications that run over the Web. At a meeting last week sponsored by the General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy, representatives of two key UDDI players told federal officials that UDDI listings could help citizens find services such as passport issuance or government benefits.

Today's search engines are geared to finding text strings, not applications and services, said Christopher M. Kurt, Microsoft Corp.'s group program manager for UDDI and Web services and the general program manager for UDDI's central Web site, at www.uddi.org.

The first version of the UDDI directory went live in early May, but it contains few entries. So far, IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp. are hosting mirrors of the directory, and Hewlett-Packard Co. has signed up to host a third copy.

The host companies of the public registry sites must agree to provide the information for free, Kurt said. Information entered into one site will be mirrored across all the registries.

'Every single major technology provider I can think of is part of' the UDDI project, Kurt said. Even Microsoft and Sun Microsystems Inc., who compete fiercely in other sectors, work together on UDDI, because 'this is too much of a core piece of what the Internet's going to look like in the future,' he said.

The www.uddi.org site is a convenient place to discuss the project, but it doesn't act as a governing body, Kurt said. Several public discussions and mailing lists related to UDDI are available through www.yahoogroups.com.

Access to the registry is free, and that won't change. 'That's something that we think is too critical to do anything else,' Kurt said.

Steve Holbrook, which the IBM's emerging technologies software group calls its technology evangelist, said the growth of UDDI will change the Web from a conduit for people-to-people communication to a means of application-to-application interaction. Holbrook added that the directory would make it easier for governments to automate service delivery.

Margery M. Reynolds, Microsoft's e-government programs manager, said UDDI would let government agencies offer services in a standard way.

The Chief Information Officers Council's XML Working Group has not committed to government use of UDDI but is interested in exploring the technology, said Eliot Christian, a data and information systems manager at the Geological Survey.

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