Building a Sustainable International Digital Government Research Community
Members of the North American Digital Working group gathered
in front of the main entrance of the Villas Arqueologicas Hotel in Cholula, Mexico.
Today, most digital government research addresses
challenges within the context of a single country; few
investigations have compared results across national
boundaries or tackled problems that are transnational in scope.
This National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project begins
to fill that gap by providing a set of opportunities for doctoral
students and established scholars to expand their research
interests and methods to international dimensions. These
opportunities include a reconnaissance study describing the
current status of international digital government research,
an annual research institute for doctoral students, and a
framework for supporting several international working groups.
- The Reconnaissance Study was completed in 2007
and provides a broad overview of the current state of
international digital government research, identifying its main
contours and current directions. The report establishes a
baseline against which to measure the future development
of internationally-oriented digital government research.
- The first Annual International Digital Government Research
Institute, the iGov Research Institute, was held in July 2007
in New York City with sixteen students from eleven different
countries [see sidebox for more details].
- The three international working groups selected by peer
review in 2006 began their work and met in various
locations around the globe during 2007. The groups
chosen are addressing transnational and comparative
issues of governmental processes, organization, decision
making, and citizen participation. These first meetings
focused on group formation, formulation of work plans
and research agendas, and identification of potential
collaborative products. The groups will continue to meet
2007 iGOV RESEARCH INSTITUTE
iGov Institute faculty member, Alan Borning, Professor
of Computer Science at the University of Washington,
mentoring a small working group of students.
iGov 2007 was held in New York City with sixteen students
from Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, The
Netherlands, South Korea, Togo, and the United States.
The students are from multiple academic disciplines and
are studying at 14 different universities in the U.S., Europe,
The program was organized around the theme of “the
city” as a coherent unit of government that operates within
a larger world. Through both academic activities and field
visits, the program addressed such topics as:
pressing digital government (DG) problems and research
questions and ways to study them,
comparisons of the philosophies, questions, and methods
among the disciplines that make up DG research,
how to apply multi-method and multi-disciplinary
approaches to DG research,
how to design and participate in an international
how to manage an international project.
Internationally known researchers from a variety of
academic institutions shared their expertise and experiences
and led discussion groups on such topics as cross-cultural
research, urban regeneration and simulation, interorganizational
information sharing and integration, and digital government
research frameworks. Senior government officials from the
City of New York served as guest faculty and hosted site
visits to the City Health Department, 311 citizen call center,
and the Port Authority—agencies that use information
and communication technology, along with innovative
public management approaches, to provide services to
citizens and to manage the ongoing business, regulatory,
and policy processes of city government. Site visits and
discussions with these government leaders provided the
essential link to government needs that characterizes
digital government research.
“Attending the 2007 Institute was one of the most valuable experiences of my
graduate student education. The summer provided a multifaceted academic
occasion which granted me an opportunity to view international digital government
research and practice through a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural lens.”
— Kayenda Johnson, 2007 Institute Student, Virginia Tech
Turkish Ministry of Finance Performance Management in the Public Sector
Representatives from Turkey and staff from CTG gather for a
group picture in front of the White House.
Governments around the world are looking to
performance management to help them achieve their
strategic goals. This project was designed to build
the capability of the Turkish Ministry of Finance to improve
their performance planning and assessment model prior
to implementation in the Turkish government. To do this,
the Turkish Ministry of Finance sought CTG’s expertise to
help them learn about existing U.S. government strategies
and models for assessing the performance of government
CTG coordinated two sets of activities over a two-week
period in fall of 2007 with the first week in Albany, NY and
the second in Washington D.C. The activities included two
workshops with the CTG team and a variety of guest speakers,
as well as site visits and meetings with experts in government
financial management, budgeting, and performance
management from several New York State agencies, two
federal agencies, and the IBM Center for the Business of
Government. Throughout the visit, CTG worked closely with
the Turkish officials to develop strategies and action plans
in support of their performance-based budgeting strategy.
The Turkish delegation included eleven individuals
representing the Turkish Ministry of Finance, the Turkish
Institute for Industrial Management (TUSSIDE), and Stratek
Strategic Technologies R&D.
Creating an Action Plan for Preserving the Record
of the International Criminal Tribunal of the Former
Yugoslavia, United Nations
Records management staff from the International Criminal
Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) break out into small
groups during the workshop to identify their goals for the records
of the tribunal.
The International Criminal Tribunal of the Former
Yugoslavia (ICTY) is committed to providing a permanent
record of the work of the Tribunal for use by victims,
future international courts, scholars, and the public. To assist
ICTY in developing a roadmap for this effort, CTG held a
four-day workshop with senior management and records
management staff of the Tribunal. The resulting collaborative
roadmap is being used to guide decision making as the
Tribunal moves toward closure in 2010.
The workshop included a series of large and small group
planning sessions designed by CTG in collaboration with
the archivist of the tribunal as well as other senior staff. The
workshop sessions focused on two areas 1) outlining the policy,
management, and technology capabilities required for success
in preserving the record of the Tribunal, and 2) identifying the
actions necessary to leverage existing preservation capability
and to lay out a plan for the creation of new capability. In
addition to generating a set of recommendations for internal
capability development, the senior management team drafted
a strategic vision to use in reaching out to key stakeholders in
the interest of forming the strategic preservation partnerships
identified as critical to success during the workshop.
Building Mission-level Records Management Capability—
United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations
The Archives and Records Management Section of the United
Nations worked together with the Department of Peacekeeping
Operations of the United Nations and CTG to design and deliver
a four-day workshop held at the United Nations Logistics Base
in Brindisi, Italy.
One of the many tasks of the Department of
Peacekeeping Operations’ (DPKO) mission is
assisting in the implementation of comprehensive
peace agreements and leading states or territories through
the transition to a stable democratic government. Records
management capability in this context is critically important
both to support day-to-day operations of the missions
as well as to ensure the creation of an accurate historical
record of events. However, the specific conditions under
which records management procedures are carried out
varies greatly across missions as do the capabilities available
to meet these responsibilities.
To begin to address this challenge, the Archives and
Records Management Section of the UN worked together
with DPKO and CTG to design and deliver a workshop
focused on building a new community of practitioners with
expert knowledge in records management within the context
of peacekeeping missions. The four-day workshop, held at
the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy, brought
together for the first time records managers deployed to
the UN’s peacekeeping operations. The workshop included
a set of lectures and exercises focused on best practices
in recordkeeping, standards, and principles for managing
records in peacekeeping operations of the United Nations. In
addition, activities were designed to foster a new community
among records managers from the various missions.
As their first activity as a new community of practice,
participants created a shared vision of an effective records
management operation in a peacekeeping mission and spent
time discussing how efforts to achieve this vision would be
influenced by the variety of conditions found in the missions.
They brainstormed an agenda for an annual meeting, as well
as strategies for obtaining UN support for such an event.
Modeling Interorganizational Information Integration
Integrating and sharing information across the boundaries
of government organizations and with other partners
involves complex social and technological interactions.
These dynamic processes and their implications for better
government are at the heart of CTG’s research agenda.
This NSF-funded project is in its fifth year and continues to
contribute globally to both practitioner decision making and
research dialogue on this issue.
The project began with a study of information integration
initiatives in the policy areas of criminal justice and public health.
Based on findings from two New York State case studies
and projects in six other states, CTG researchers completed
the development of a theoretical model of social and
technical interactions in cross-boundary information sharing
initiatives and crafted a first-ever definition of cross-boundary
The model is currently being tested through a national
survey of over 700 government professionals from criminal
justice and public health agencies at the local and state levels
from across the 50 states. These individuals were identified
either by their involvement in past or current cross-boundary
information sharing related projects in these areas or by their
positions in government agencies responsible for providing
criminal justice or public health services.
NEW YORK STATE
Assessing Mobile Technologies in Child Protective Services
In early 2006, the NYS Legislature and the NYS Office
of Children and Family Services (OCFS) initiated a pilot
program to explore how portable information technology
could be used in child protective services (CPS) casework. In
parallel to this exploration of use, CTG was asked to conduct
a series of assessments aimed at learning more about the
conditions and efforts needed to deploy mobile technologies
statewide, as well as to investigate the impacts on CPS work
and work processes. The results are presented in findings
about caseworker productivity, mobility, and satisfaction.
The first assessment, the NYS Portable Information
Technology Pilot, focused on small-scale pilots carried out
during the summer and fall of 2006 in three local social services
districts. The second assessment, concluded in December
2007, was based on the findings from the first, and involved
assessing the impact of the deployment of laptops with
wireless connectivity to over 135 caseworkers in Manhattan
and Staten Island for the Extended Pilot in New York City’s
Administration for Children Services.
The third assessment, the Portable Technology
Demonstration Project in 23 NYS Local Social Service Districts,
began in late 2007 with a focus on over 400 laptops and
tablets deployed to 23 Local Social Service Districts in NYS.
This assessment concluded in March 2008.
Each assessment produced a report to the Governor, the
New York State Legislature, OCFS and the Local Districts.
Overall these assessments are providing insights in the
technologies that provide the most functionality for CPS
work while in the field,
common locations where CPS caseworkers do work,
effects on productivity through changes in timeliness
change in mobility and satisfaction with more flexibility
and opportunities to work,
common obstacles to field-based work such as
connectivity, physical environment, and nature of work,
policies and management practices needed for
maximizing mobile technology use, and
implications and recommendations for statewide IT
Exploring Regional Telecommunications Incident
The New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) partnered
with CTG to organize a workshop with key stakeholders from the
regional telecommunications community, pictured here prioritizing
recommendations that were ultimately refined for the final report.
In an increasingly interconnected world, neither the public
nor the private sector can claim sole stewardship of the
critical infrastructure; they are now interdependent. These
interdependencies require new kinds of coordination in a
variety of areas, particularly in response to incidents that
threaten the stability of the infrastructure. Events such as
the World Trade Center attacks and Hurricane Katrina have
generated new discussions among stakeholders about the
coordination necessary to ensure continuity of operations
across the critical infrastructure.
In 2006, the New York State Department of Public
Service (DPS), as a key actor in the national and regional
telecommunications community, began to engage in
discussions with other key actors about regional coordination
of telecommunications incident response. Encouraged by
interest from stakeholders, DPS partnered with CTG to
organize a preliminary discussion among members of the
regional telecommunications community.
CTG brought together individuals from telecommunications
providers, state emergency management agencies, federal
communications agencies, state regulatory authorities, state
departments of homeland security, state cybersecurity, and
the financial sector in March 2007 for a day-long workshop.
The workshop participants engaged in discussions about the value proposition of coordinated response capability,
explored varying perspectives on the current state of affairs,
brainstormed strategies for increasing regional response
capability, and concluded the session by producing a set of
five recommendations for next steps in exploring regional
coordination efforts. The workshop report, prepared by
CTG, was designed to trigger new and more broad-based
discussions about the stability of the critical infrastructure, in
particular, about focusing discussions on regional response
A Growing International Portfolio
CTG interim director, Anthony M. Cresswell, shaking hands with
Bu Deying, director of Informatization Research Institute, China
State Information Center, after signing a partnership agreement.
Governments around the world are increasingly looking
to information and communications technology as
levers for innovation as well as social and economic
development. In response, CTG began to work in an
international context in the mid-1990s and over the past ten
years has earned a reputation as a global leader in the field.
We regularly receive inquiries from international organizations,
foreign governments, and international scholars and
practitioners seeking a relationship. This year alone, we
signed collaboration agreements with organizations in
China, Taiwan, and Mexico. In addition, we’ve worked with
government and academic colleagues in Portugal, the UK,
Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Lebanon, Germany, Canada,
Brazil, and Turkey. This work has included such international
organizations as the United Nations Department of Peace
Keeping Operations, the International Criminal Tribunal of the
Former Yugoslavia, and the European Commission.
In the fall, we signed an agreement with the Chinese
National School of Administration to collaborate on research
and to offer executive development programs for Chinese
government officials. Research topics that are expected to
generate comparative work revolve around the concepts,
strategies, and implications of information sharing across
agencies and levels of government. Two areas where
collaboration is likely are public health and product safety.
The United Nations (UN) continues to be an important
partner for CTG, with current projects involving a number of
different UN programs. Recent projects have been carried
out in partnership with the UN University Institute for
Software Technology in Macao (UNU-IIST), the Department
of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the Department of
Peace Keeping Operations (UNDPKO), and the Archives and
Records Management Services (UNARMS).
CTG is also working in partnership with UNDESA and
Microsoft Corporation to revise the United Nations METER
tool. The objective of METER is to assist policy makers in
selecting where to direct investment efforts designed to
facilitate e-government development. CTG is working closely
with UNDESA to revise the framework and content of the tool
to more generally reflect new understanding about capabilities
and digital government. We will focus on integrating our
expertise in information sharing and interoperability into METER,
particularly in terms of capability assessment, public value
assessment, and technology investment decision making.
For more information on current and past projects, click here
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