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The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Digital Government Program supports experimentation and research to improve government's information-based services and operations. In late 1998, 67 researchers and government practitioners convened in a workshop, organized by CTG and funded by NSF, to discuss ways government practitioners and academic researchers can collaborate to produce innovative and effective information-based government services.

The workshop focused particularly on the environment in which government information services are developed. It recognized that government programs and service delivery mechanisms are developed in a complex multi-layered federal-state-local system in which many organizations play significant and different roles. It also emphasized that development efforts must deal with interactions among the political, organizational, technological, cultural, and human factors that shape the implementation environment.

The workshop report, Some Assembly Required: Designing a Digital Government for the 21st Century, emphasized how targeted research efforts could not only uncover new knowledge, but could also be of pragmatic use in government. The workshop recommended eight focus areas for applied research (including security, service delivery, networked organizational forms, and decision making). It further recommended ways to introduce these pressing government needs to the research agendas of both the social and information sciences.