What is E-Government?
E-government is “the use of technology, particularly the Internet, as a means to deliver government services and to facilitate the interaction of the public with government entities.”
-American Library Association
In many cases, e-government access now stands as the primary means of getting government information and interacting with the government – everything from visiting government agency websites to emailing government officials to applying for government benefits.
Many of the activities that we engage in during our everyday lives involve e-government, even if we don’t think about it in those exact terms. Here are but a few examples of the ways that e-government now routinely touches our lives:
- Filing of tax returns.
- Applying for social security benefits.
- Voter registration.
- School enrollment.
- Renewing a driver's license.
- Setting up an appointment to meet with a case worker.
- Following government agencies on Twitter or Facebook.
From the completion of a basic form online to more interactive forms of interacting with government, more and more government is online.
E-Government Basics Resources
ALA’s e-government toolkit: Check out their training programs and resources, guidance for drafting e-government service policies, and potential sources for funding of e-government service projects at your library.
The Office of E-Government & Information Policy (Office of Management and Budget): Links to e-government laws and policies and brief descriptions of current federal e-government initiatives, including the Digital Government Strategy.
The White House: Policy documents pertaining to online government information include the following:
Open Government Directive (released on December 8, 2009)
Second Open Government National Action Plan for the United States (released on December 5, 2013)
E-Government & Libraries Readings
As government information, services, and resources increasingly move to online formats, public libraries are a bridge between the communities they serve and government agencies at all levels (local, state, federal). If you’re interested in learning more about how libraries have stepped into various e-government roles, check out the following articles:
Bertot, J.C., Jaeger, P.T., Langa, L.A., & McClure, C. R. (2006). Drafted: I Want You to Deliver E-government. Library Journal (August 15). Available at http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2006/08/academic-libraries/drafted-i-want-you-to-deliver-e-government/#_
Bishop, B., McClure, C. R., & Mandel, L. H. (2011). E-Government Service Roles for Public Libraries. Public Libraries, 50(2), 32-37.
Jaeger, P. T., & Bertot, J.C. (2011). Responsibility Rolls Down: Public Libraries and the Social and Policy Obligations of Ensuring Access to E-government and Government Information. Public Library Quarterly, 30(2), 91-116.
Jaeger, P. T., & Bertot, J.C. (2009). E-government Education in Public Libraries: New Service Roles and Expanding Social Responsibilities. Journal Of Education For Library & Information Science, 50(1), 39-49.