The iSchool’s online eGovernment student cohort visited campus October 22-24, 2014. The 17 students in the cohort are part of a program funded through a Laura Bush 21st Century scholarship grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Directed by Dr. John Bertot, the goals of the eGovernment specialization are to prepare students to understand the:
- Range of information, services, and activities that comprise eGovernment;
- Opportunities and challenges of open data, data management, and big data in informing policy- and decision-making practices of governments;
- Policy and legal issues framing eGovernment initiatives;
- Relationship of eGovernment to other government activities;
- Social, political, and technological factors driving the development and current state of eGovernment;
- Identification of best practices and lessons learned from the national and international community;
- Methods of ensuring the availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation of information systems;
- Issues and challenges in providing universal access to eGovernment;
- The ethical responsibilities and challenges of providing eGovernment services;
- Social and political implications of eGovernment;
- Techniques for analyzing eGovernment within the larger policy environment and political context; and
- Process of evaluating e-government information and engagement platforms for eGovernment service and information delivery.
As part of the program, students engage in a range of course and fieldwork, including their visit to Washington, DC in late October.
While here, students had the opportunity to:
- Interact with representatives from various government agencies that champion and lead diversity and inclusion information initiatives at their organizations, through a world-cafe style discussion at the iSchool. Information professionals that attended and spoke included Ann Abercrombie, Program Manager for girlshealth.gov and womenshealth.gov at the US Department of Health and Human Services ; Gale Dutcher, Deputy Associate Director for Specialized Information Services at the National Library of Medicine; Dennis Linders, CountyStat Analyst in the Office of the Montgomery County Executive; Gina Rappaport, Archivist for Photograph Collections and Head Archivist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Anthropological Archives; and two librarians (Janice Rosen and Patrick Timony) from the Center for Accessibility at the District of Columbia Public Library.
- Tour Archives II, and learn about the range of research that Archives II supports and the challenges and opportunities that digitization brings regarding the public record and preservation.
- Tour Archives, and hear from the Federal Register leaders and designers. Of particular note were the advances that the Federal Register 2.0 (https://www.federalregister.gov/) brings to the Federal regulatory process.
- Tour the Government Printing Office (GPO) facility and learn about GPO’s history and role in the production, dissemination, and access of government information.
- Participate in discussions with GPO staff regarding the next generation FDSys (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/) design and implementation.
Though intensive, students learned first hand about how the government information landscape is changing, what it means to serve as government information professionals in a digital age, how to design inclusive information services, and how information and communications technologies create opportunities for citizen engagement and participation — while at the same time introducing challenges embedded within legal and regulatory requirements for information access and dissemination.
The eGovernment program will migrate to the Community Analytics & Policy specialization (see http://mls.umd.edu/2014/10/re-envisioning-mls-local-big-data/) beginning in Fall 2015.