There was a lack of clarity around data within the previous portal system that accumulated many data feeds from unrelated and frequently outdated systems. Users could encounter conflicting information as the data could be received from different systems each time. As a result, a solution was needed to consolidate open information from all systems.
The system had to publish data from various information resources on the internal web portal of the State Duma. Before publication, the consolidation of objects from various data sources should be carried out.
Besides, the system had to provide a joint search for data on all information resources. Any type of content can be used as an information resource, including:
- data in the information systems database;
- information available in various published information system services (for example, web services);
- information in various file formats.
The system was developed for the Department of information resources of the State Duma of the Russian Federation. The Department is responsible for the State Duma electronic information resources Fund (EIRF), which contains all the databases and files collected during work.
In 2006, after an initial project specification development, the work began. In 2007, Digital Design specialists created a technical project for the future system, and in 2008-2009 they developed and implemented the first stage of the information resource integration system as part of the test operation.
The information resources integration system of the State Duma was implemented using several software platforms:
- DocsVision platform to implement the integrated data warehouse.
- Applications on the .NET platform with storage in the MS SQL database to implement the information objects meta description subsystem.
- DocsVision Process Management platform to implement the subsystem for batch loading the information about objects (object cards) to the central data warehouse.
- Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 platform to implement the portal publishing layer.
The most peculiar feature of the system was that any other platform can be used as a publication portal. This was possible because of the multitier architecture for building publication modules, which provided implementation of a data access layer in a separate library.
The information resources integration system operated with data stored in separate source subsystems ensured their consistency and clarity, and allowed one to publish the necessary information on the internal intranet portal.
The system was based on portal publication modules (portlets), designed for embedding in any random portal pages. The system used these three main modules:
- a universal module for publishing a list of objects with a filtering option,
- a universal portlet for publishing object cards,
- an object search portlet for all information resources.
With these universal modules, one could publish information about any object from any information resources of the State Duma, setting up the publication rules accordingly.
Given the variety of formats for storing information in the source information resources, all information had to be formatted to a single presentation template before being published on the portal.
This problem was solved within the framework of the integration layer of the system, with the following main functions:
- maintaining a common hierarchy of information objects;
- setting attributes of information objects;
- setting up links between information objects from different information resources;
- setting up rules for loading information about objects from information resources to the integration level storage automatically;
- batch loading of object information on a schedule with automatic generation of links between object instances;
- setting the composition of attributes and filtering criteria when publishing lists of objects on the portal;
- customization of web representations of object cards.
The Information resources integration system advantages:
- improving the quality of information support for the activities of the State Duma by providing users of the Intranet portal with complete, timely, and consistent information;
- reducing the complexity of information support processes by saving time for searching, preparing, and obtaining the necessary information.
The results of the development of the 1st stage of the integration system for the State Duma:
- consolidation and publishment of information from 10 information systems on the portal;
- reduction of time spent on preparing data for publication on the portal;
- implementation of a fundamentally new feature to perform a search across multiple consolidated resources;
- implementation of a new ability to navigate between objects from different information resources;
- for the decrease in the routine portal administration time by implementing business processes that automatically update information on a schedule.