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3. Government needs for the 21st century

 Government needs for the 21st century


Government managers have critical needs for models and tools to shape, manage, and evaluate 21st century services. These needs present research opportunties for both information and social scientists, and can provide a venue for more active and useful interaction among research disciplines and between researchers and practitioners.

The October 1998 workshop discussions reflected the dimensions of government and the changing technological and organizational landscape. Working in small groups organized by level of government and research discipline, the government participants discussed the challenges they see in the years ahead and researchers debated the strengths and weaknesses of their current approaches. As a result, the participants produced a list of eight critical governmental needs which can be translated directly into research themes. These needs collectively comprise key questions of understanding, development, testing, evaluation, and dissemination of new knowledge about how government might operate in the digital age. The participants also reviewed the historical ways in which research and practice interact and discussed potential changes that would make this relationship more valuable than it is today. The results are discussed below and are illustrated in Table 2 by some of the potential research projects that were generated in a "marketplace of ideas" conducted at the end of the workshop.