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Journal Article

A new Usage for Semantic Technologies for eGovernment: Checking Official Documents Consistency  pp120-133

Fred Freitas, Zacharias Candeias Jr, Heiner Stuckenschmidt

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEG Conference Issue, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp83 - 235

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Abstract

Semantic technologies, and particularly the ones related to the Semantic Web and its ontologies, have proven useful for many government related applications and prototypes, such as service configuration, automatic service connection among many others. This is possible because the Semantic Web is based on ontologies, which, in practical words, stands for a detailed conceptualization of a domain and its concepts, relations, constraints and axioms, defined in an unambiguous manner using formal logic. On the other hand, official documents, and particularly legal ones like law codes, often contain semantic deficiencies that are not realized by their authors. The most common among them are ambiguities, inconsistencies and under specifications. These deficiencies are certainly a source of systems’ and databases’ integration problems and confusion during their usage, when the definitions’ intended meanings can differ depending upon the stakeholder. During the ontology development of a domain as simple as vehicles, we have witnessed such phenomena. The necessity of defining the different vehicle types in detail for classification and checking purposes shed light on some of these deficiencies present in two Brazilian legal codes. In this work, we present the building process of the ontology, the resulting ontology and show how these deficiencies were evidenced during its construction. This fact actually opens up new possibilities in the usage of semantic technologies, as guides to check whether official documents are ontologically and logically correct, by not containing ambiguities, under specification or inconsistencies.

 

Keywords: ontology-based analysis of texts, semantic deficiencies, vehicles, eGovernment, law, ontology engineering, law consistency, official documents consistency

 

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Journal Article

Government as Part of the Revolution: Using Social Media to Achieve Public Goals  pp134-146

David Landsbergen

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEG Conference Issue, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp83 - 235

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Abstract

Social media is growing rapidly because it supports some important social needs. Government will need to understand how social media support these social needs if government is to use social media well. Social media supports the increased reliance on human networks, the need for rapid interactive communications, the need to blur what is private and public, and the need for engaging multimedia. Whether government can use social media will depend upon how well government can see, understand, and attend to these needs. Can government move from hierarchical, controlled communications to where it is just an (important) node within a network? Social media is about fast, interactive communications. How will bureaucracies adapt to the increased pressures for timely responses? Social media, therefore, presents novel and challenging strategic, policy, and managerial issues for many US governments. This paper reports on an environmental scan of the important issues facing US governments and the creative ways in which they are adapting to the challenges. This is supplemented by an in‑depth participant‑observation study of the use of social media by several departments within the City of Columbus, State of Ohio, USA. Proponents of social media, like those of the early days of the Internet, are wildly enthusiastic about how much social media can do to improve government. Claims are made that this technology is paradigm‑shifting, like the printing press, which put knowledge into the hands of the ordinary person. Given the many policy and managerial issues yet to be resolved, it is clear that there is no technology imperative that will necessarily drive government to become more democratic. Early web government pages could have been made more interactive, yet they primarily took on the task of broadcasting a one way instead of a two way flow of information. There is no reason to believe that Twitter would not follow the same path. It could easily become an application whose only benefit is in more quickly broadcasting information to a mobile phone. A better way to think about social media is that it merely provides a small window of opportunity, which for a short period of time, allows government to comprehensively reexamine how it does things, and thereby, provides the opportunity to change policies and procedures in a way that improves government. Governments typically ask how can we adapt social media to the way in which we do business? A very different question is how can social media provide us a way to do things in way that we have not done before? The question that is asked will determine whether a revolution will actually place.

 

Keywords: social media, Gov 2.0, e-governance, eGovernment, social capital

 

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Journal Article

Towards a Framework for eGovernment Development in Nigeria  pp147-160

Darren Mundy, Bandi Musa

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEG Conference Issue, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp83 - 235

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Abstract

Globally eGovernment is associated with providing opportunities to increase the connection, availability and modes of interactivity between governance at multiple levels and the citizen. It is also associated with transforming current governmental services in ways to increase efficiencies, improve processes and automate tasks previously undertaken by governmental employees. Growing demands at national government level (often subsidised by public money) and amongst citizen groups across the world lead to a greater focus on the provision of eGovernment services. Often governmental demands for improvements to service clash with citizen requirements. Governments which want to remain relevant to their citizens must take an active role in the implementation of eGovernment. Citizens have witnessed the advances in personalisation of service, accessibility and greater use of technology in the private sector that has created an expansion of innovative ICT solutions and they are now demanding that their governments do the same. This creates an environment where the provision of eGovernment services must be approached with seriousness and with the consideration of the requirements of all stakeholder groups. The aim of this paper is to detail research undertaken to examine the path towards implementation of mature eGovernment services in the country of Nigeria. The research has included a comprehensive benchmarking activity in relation to the content analysis of state government websites in Nigeria and comparison to equivalent provision of council websites in the UK. Following this an eGovernment services requirements survey targeted at citizens was conducted to determine from a citizen perspective the present need for and evaluation of eGovernment services across Nigeria and the UK. In terms of findings, the content analysis demonstrated significant shortcomings with existing state government websites in Nigeria with only 30% of websites analysed providing basic mechanisms for citizens to interact with government services. The analysis of citizen requirements found that amongst those user groups targeted there was a high level of expectation in relation to the provision of eGovernment services and also found that the Nigerian citizens surveyed were more engaged with the benefits that eGovernment could bring to their nation.

 

Keywords: eGovernment framework, eGovernment analysis, citizen requirements, Nigerian eGovernment, e-Services, eGovernment development

 

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Journal Article

The Link between the Conceptualization of eGovernment and its Perceived Impacts: an Exploratory Empirical Study in Kenya  pp161-174

Nixon Ochara-Muganda, Jean-Paul Van Belle

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEG Conference Issue, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp83 - 235

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Abstract

This paper examines how eGovernment is conceptualized and the possible relationship with the expected impacts of eGovernment in a developing world context. The aim is to shed some light on why eGovernment initiatives often fail in developing world contexts. This research was based on an exhaustive survey among government agencies and consultants in Kenya. The dimension of eGovernment impacts was initially operationalized in terms of connectivity, openness, efficiency and effectiveness. Government conceptualizations could be classified under tool view, proxy view, ensemble view, computational view and nominal view. Interestingly, the empirical data yielded very different impact factors than originally envisaged, which were enhanced interactions and accessibility, enhanced cooperation and awareness, a better connected public administration and enhanced citizen opportunities. Canonical function analysis found a supply‑side focus which linked connected government to the conceptualization of eGovernment as an Evolving Artifact. The main contribution of this paper lies in highlighting the fact that the implementation of western information technologies in developing countries will be shaped by how their impacts are perceived. Thus both purveyors of the technologies and researchers can be made aware that, because of the very different expectations and contexts, these technologies may be conceptualized differently than in developed countries. In addition, the paper demonstrates a practical research approach to assist in uncovering these conceptualizations more explicitly.

 

Keywords: conceptualizing eGovernment, developing countries, impacts, Kenya

 

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Journal Article

Design Principles of Identity Management Architecture Development for Cross‑Border eGovernment Services  pp188-201

Kamelia Stefanova, Dorina Kabakchieva, Roumen Nikolov

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEG Conference Issue, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp83 - 235

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Abstract

Identity Management is a very important research challenge within the framework of the EU eGovernment development. This paper presents the main aspects of research, analysis and design of the Open Identity Management Architecture for European eGovernment development (GUIDE), a project financed by the 6FP of the EC. An innovative interdisciplinary approach is used, aimed at covering the whole range of technical, process, policy, legal and social Identity Management issues, and seeking to overcome the existing fragmentation of Identity Management initiatives. The primary purpose of GUIDE is to develop a consistent approach to identity management across the EU that will enable Member States to agree on the identity of an entity (a citizen or a business) in order to enable sectoral applications to conduct cross‑border transactions. The paper provides some important comments concerning the European aspects of Identity Management and presents the adopted Federation Identity Management model. The development of the Open Identity Management Architecture is driven by eight key political and functional axioms, regarding how these federations (Member State governments and commercial organisations) should be inter‑linked and what criteria each constituent federation will need to satisfy in order to join the identity grid. The architecting approach is based on an enterprise model adopted as a framework for the EU eGovernment development since the research revealed that frameworks for eGovernment are in an early state of evolution. The architecture is developed as a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), implemented through the Web Services model, thus satisfying the requirements for ‘loosely‑coupled’ systems, independence of implementation and location, etc. The conceptual data model describes the key data entities that have to be supported for cross‑border identity services ‑ the citizen and the organisation. The logical service model presents the different types of identity management services that are relevant for the developed Open Identity Management Architecture. The interoperability issues, including the interoperability services and the Identity management interoperability infrastructure, are also considered.

 

Keywords: Identity management, European eGovernment, cross-border services

 

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Journal Article

Public Sector eService Development in Bangladesh: Status, Prospects and Challenges  pp15-29

M. Shakhawat Hossain Bhuiyan

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 92

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Abstract

Rapid development of information and communication technology (ICT) creates extensive opportunities for efficient and cost effective public service delivery. Even though most developed countries have had established electronic services for several years, the vast majority of developing countries have started only recently. In 2007, Bangladesh has also started to prioritise eService development in the national agenda e.g. dissemination of service information through websites, availability of official forms online, utility bill payment through mobile phone SMS and so on. There is as yet a lack of studies capturing the overall picture of such initiatives and progress in this country. Hence, the aim of this study is to examine various public eService development initiatives in Bangladesh, assess eService maturity level, and thereby assist the government to expedite implementation of those services. The study is based on both survey and interview approaches. A survey of 44 public officials, working on eGovernment implementation in different ministries and central public authorities, was conducted using a structured questionnaire. In addition, nine top‑level officials involved in ICT related government policy intervention were interviewed. A literature review covers theoretical tools on measuring and implementing eGovernment applications such as stage models to categorise eService maturity level. The survey and interview results aligned with a well‑known stage model are used to provided an overall picture of public eService initiatives in Bangladesh. The study has identified existing major eServices and assessed the overall maturity level of the services. The study also contributes by identifying prospects for public eService delivery in Bangladesh, including growing use of mobile phones and public private partnerships (PPP); while inadequate legal regulations, scarcity of power supply, insufficient initiatives by top‑level managements, service integrity and interoperability etc. are identified as challenges for the growth of public eService development and sustainability. Finally, the study also puts forward some recommendations to deal with major challenges.

 

Keywords: eService, electronic service, public service delivery, eGovernment application, interoperability, integrated service, Bangladesh

 

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Journal Article

Evolving Structure in the Implementation of Healthcare Information Systems: An Actor‑Network Analysis  pp30-40

Hannu Larsson

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 92

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Abstract

Public sector ICT use is now moving towards integration of services and processes across departments, for instance in the healthcare sector. This is a challenging issue as it involves distributed decision making, often across both public and private organizations, which implies a multitude of issues. Enterprise Architectures (EA) aim at providing a common framework that includes data, resources and processes, through which all aspects of the enterprise can be directed towards a common goal in an efficient manner. It as been argued that architectures should be perceived as evolving (rather then as carefully planned roadmaps), although more research on how EA evolves is needed. This paper addresses the general question of, how does an EA evolve during implementation? A case study is used to illustrate how an EA evolves throughout the process of implementation. The case is the implementation of a national patient record system in the decentralized Swedish healthcare system. The project is part of a larger effort to implement an EA in the healthcare sector aimed at further integrating the whole sector. Data is collected by means of observations, interviews and document analysis. Using an Actor‑Network Theory perspective, this paper presents four episodes during which an EA evolves through interactions. In this way the paper contributes with a deepened understanding of how EA evolves by arguing that EA programs should be seen as something that needs to be planned with regard to that it will, and should, evolve in order to respond to needs discovered in the process. The contribution is a deepened understanding of how sub‑projects co‑evolve with a national EA project, thus mutually affecting each other. This should not be perceived as something unequivocally negative as this might also be strategic, and leads to evolution of other parts of the EA to suit each other.

 

Keywords: actor-network theory, eGovernment, eHealth, enterprise architecture, evolving structure, implementation

 

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Journal Article

The Changing Nature of Archives: Whose Responsibility?  pp68-78

Mari Runardotter, Christina Mortberg, Anita Mirijamdotter

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 1, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp1 - 92

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Abstract

The implementation of eGovernment and the increasing amount of e‑services leads to the production of huge amounts of digitally recorded information. In turn, this raises a demand for well‑functioning e‑archives, considering the laws and regulations of public and citizens’ rights and obligations. However, we find that there are difficulties in public organisations in dealing with the complex and challenging issue of digital preservation. Not only does eGovernment transformation change productivity, governance and governmental coordination and collaboration, it also transforms the everyday work practices of many public sector employees. A vivid example is archivists and archival work. The matter of e‑archives is often left to the archivists, who have limited power and influence to be able to deal with digital preservation to the extent needed. The research question we address is therefore: who should be held responsible for the changing nature of archives and digital preservation in an organization? Our aim in this paper is to analyse and discuss plans for, and layers of, responsibility for digital preservation as configured and reconfigured in archivists’ stories and Swedish national policy documents. We use a model that covers three arenas: political, organizational, and practical (or individual). Our findings suggest that to conduct good governance and create properly‑functioning e‑archives there is a need to spread the responsibility for these e‑archives and to plan for cooperation, coordination, and communication around digital preservation. This should happen in interplay between the various actors which hold the practical responsibility, technological responsibility and strategic responsibility. Additionally we note that the view of archivists as keepers of information is moving towards the role of facilitators, who support access to information rather than merely keeping it intact for future. Moreover, as a result of technological developments we find that issues to address in further studies are the present laws and regulations that govern archives, change of work practices and ways of dealing with digital preservation.

 

Keywords: digital preservation, eGovernment, digital archives, participatory design, actors, and agendas

 

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