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About document exchange centre

The document exchange centre (DEC) is an information system providing a common central document exchange service for various document management systems (DMS) as well as other information systems that handle documents.

DEC is an infrastructure for the transmission of documents (i.e. a mediation layer for document exchange services of information systems) relying on the X-Road as a transport-level infrastructure. The treatment of the term “document and document exchange systems” should go beyond the correspondence between institutions and their document management systems. Documents are messages with described semantics and structure. These can be letters, draft legislations, financial documents (including e-invoices and payment orders), electronic forms, documents related to public procurement procedures etc. Systems exchange documents can be, in addition to document management systems, accounting information systems or information systems specific to an organisation’s main activities.

The objectives of DEC

  • The interfacing of dispersed information systems through the secure data exchange layer X-Road.
  • Short-term preservation of documents.
  • In the future, provision of services that support the proceeding of documents, long-term preservation and backup of documents.

Development perspectives of DEC

Once the planned developments of DEC – support for business processes and possibility long-term document preservation – are implemented, organisations and information systems without a local document register (irrespective of the nature of documents) will also be able to use the centre in their business processes. This is one of the reasons why DEC has also been called a document repository and a document storage. In the longer term, there are plans to add an end-user web interface to DEC for the administration of documents in DEC itself.

When using DEC:

  • The document reaches the recipient – generally, when forwarding a document, we do not know whether the receiving information system is ready to accept the data at this very moment. In DEC, the document sent remains on hold until the receiving information system is in operating order and requests a new document from DEC.
  • The recipient of the document is verified – the recipient will be authenticated by a registry code or a personal identification code. The recipient is authorised and the recipient's right to accept the document is verified.
  • Less manual labour – in DEC, the document sent always includes machine-readable data that characterises the document, the so-called metadata (sender’s name, type of document, etc.). The receiving information system can automatically read this data. If the document itself is sent in a machine-readable form, the receiving information system can also automatically read the content of the document. For instance, an invoice in the XML format allows the receiving information systems to read information about the seller, purchased goods, price, payment date, etc.
  • Enables to exchange documents with a large group of users – DEC includes the DMSs of all ministries and agencies as well as the information systems and DMSs of all other public sector institutions (local governments, child care institutions, schools, etc.). Additionally, DEC is connected with the official forms and the “My documents” service of the state portal. The latter enables private persons and companies to easily exchange documents directly with the information systems of state and public sector institutions.
  • Data exchange is secure and free of viruses and spam – DEC uses the safe X-Road channel to exchange data.
  • The document arrival notice is sent automatically – when a document is delivered, the status of the document in DEC changes, which enables the sending information system to make an enquiry from DEC and to automatically connect it with the document. Users can follow the documents sent by and to their institution.
  • Exchanged documents can be in any format and size – the document will be put in a so-called DEC envelope, to which the data of the sender and the receiver will be attached. DEC does not read the content of the file, only forwards it to the receiving information system. This enables to send files both in machine-readable formats (e.g. XML) and in all other formats (PDF, DOC, etc.).
  • The volume and number of sent documents is not limited.

Background information

The DEC project was initiated at the end of 2004 and at the beginning of 2005 in cooperation between the Government Office and the Information System Authority.

The DEC interface was first implemented in the Ministry of Social Affairs, followed by the Ministry of Agriculture.

By November 2011, approximately 560 public bodies, most of them local governments and education institutions, had joined the environment.

The development of DEC was financed from the EU structural funds.


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Added 02.04.2007
Updated 02.10.2014

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DEC – good practice

Good Practice Label 2009