The European Commission (EC) has launched a one month public consultation into the problem of incompatible vocabularies used by developers of public administration IT systems.

"Core vocabularies" are used to make sharing and reusing data easier, and the EC hopes that if they are defined properly, it will be able to quickly and effectively launch e-Government cross-border services.

The EC has divided the consultation into three separate core vocabularies; person, business and location.

For example, the Core Person Vocabulary will offer a model of the specific features that can be used to catalogue and describe a person, including their place of birth, gender, age etc.

Business Vocabulary will relate to companies based in the EU, whilst Location Vocabulary will refer to am addresses or geographic locations.

Working Groups have been developing a first draft of the core vocabularies over the past three months, and the EC now wants citizens to provide feedback on the results.

The working groups are being headed up by Phil Archer, a semantic web and e-government specialist that works for the World Wide Web Consortium.

Once the public consultation is over, the working groups will seek endorsement from EU Member States. This means that the vocabularies will not become a legal obligation, but will give them further exposure for wider use.