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2007 Annual Report




Building a Sustainable International Digital Government Research Community

North American Working Group
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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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].
  3. 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 through 2009.

iGov 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, and India.

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 investigation, and
  • 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

iGov Institute
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 agency programs.

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

UN Brindisi
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

UN Brindisi
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 information sharing.

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.


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 following areas:
  • 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 and backlog,
  • 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 deployment.

Exploring Regional Telecommunications Incident Response Coordination

UN Brindisi
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 coordination.

A Growing International Portfolio

China Agreement
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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