Integrating Semantics, Social Software and Serious Games into eParticipation

The VoiceS Project updates and complements the existing VoicE internet platforms with the objective to promote the dialogue between citizens from European regions and “their” regional policy makers from the European Parliament or the Committee of the Regions.

The three S…
VoiceS is a project that integrates Semantics, Social Software and Serious Games into eParticipation.

In the framework of VoiceS, the existing VoicE platform will be complemented by a semantic ontology. This enables
• intelligent search instead of keyword based search
• query answering instead of information retrieval
• exchange of documents between different domains with ontology mapping, and
• definition or personalized views to the documents.

…Serious games
If citizens have limited knowledge or understanding of the complex system of EU decision-making and its mechanisms, they can broaden their knowledge by playing the serious game on the VoiceS platform. This game lets citizens explore the realms of EU legislation in a playful, interactive and entertaining manner. By switching into the position of an MEP, a lobbyist or a Council member, the player will go through the whole legislative process (e.g. of the Telecommunications directive (2007/0248 COD)) and be constantly confronted with political challenges. Depending on which character he is in the game, he will have to take decisions and bear the consequences in the game. This way, not only the EU legislative process, but also the legislative issue at hand and the difficulties decision-makers are facing, become transparent and comprehensible for the citizens.

…Social networks
For the VoicE project, accounts on various social networks (facebook, myspace, linkedin) will be created. Thus the awareness and usage of the platform will be increased among the general public.

Apart from new functions, VoiceS will also deliver services to help other regions setting up similar initiatives of their own. This will happen via a Toolkit for Regional eParticipation initiatives which will be delivered at the end of the project runtime (i.e. end 2010). The toolkit will comprise the results of the eParticipation projects VoicE and voiceS as well as a “lessons learned” section and other tools which are supposed to help other regions in implementing similar eParticipation initiatives. Thus, a sustainable impact of the eParticipation projects VoicE and VoiceS is ensured and an added value is generated

Target Group
• Citizens from Baden-Württemberg and Valencia
• Members of the European Parliament/Committee of the Regions linked to Baden-Württemberg and the Valencia Region
• Representatives from regional administrative bodies
• Representatives from Brussels-based organisations with links to region
• Citizens from other European regions are of course also welcome to join the platform