Imagine a community that is totally connected—a Digital Community—that fundamentally transforms the way we live, work, and play.
Instead of being tied to offices, homes, or individual hotspots, people have fast, convenient access to information—and each other—from virtually any corner of their community.
Government agencies operate more efficiently by sharing information and making better use of information computing technology resources. Emergency workers are better informed and can respond more quickly. Businesses become more productive, increasing their competitive advantage in a global economy. And citizens are more satisfied with their government and the quality of life in their communities.
From any corner of the community, your wireless laptop or personal digital assistant (PDA) accesses high-speed online services previously available only from your home or business. Community employees connect to applications and databases while on the move, allowing them to be more efficient and effective. First responders have real-time data in the field that saves lives and property and increases response time. Communities are geographical and geospatial entities.
Imagine government employees and citizens using a geographical user interface (GUI) to access their applications. Instead of scrolling through lines of text, users see a map-oriented GUI. From this map, a user accesses a document. From a document, a user accesses a map or additional content. Linking data to geospatial representation makes computing easier and more enjoyable for most community-related applications.
Imagine also that the community's information technology (IT) departments can cost effectively integrate applications and databases. New composite applications arise by combining the capabilities of several disparate systems. Instead of silos of technology, the IT framework becomes an integrated platform supporting all of its e-Services, eliminating wasted duplication of infrastructure.
Local government or community computing resources communicate with businesses and with other governments to enable improved supply-chain management and cross-agency coordination. Citizens enjoy the faster and richer access experience to public information, events, and recreational information using the Digital Community fabric to enrich their families' lives.
This is the vision of the Digital Community. And that vision is fast becoming a reality in communities around. Computing will become available anytime/anywhere and on virtually any device. And as a result, the way that governments operate is changing. It is through this new power of connectivity that these technologies are transforming the way we live, work, and play.
As part of the Digital Communities initiative, this web site is designed to keep you informed about these developments. Additionally, it serves as a "community of communities," helping to connect those working on this new frontier of technological evolution.
Director, Digital Communities
Todd Sander is Director of Digital Communities, the eRepublic local government program.
Sander has worked extensively with federal, state and local government since the early 1990s to improve public service through the use of information technology. He has served as Chief Information Officer/Assistant City Manager for the City of Tucson, Deputy CIO for the State of Washington and worked as a consultant in support of the Department of Defense, national intelligence communities and multi-state law enforcement agencies. He has received several national honors including the 2003 National Public Technologist of the Year by Public Technology Incorporated.
We are interested in hearing about the developments in your community that forward the Digital Communities vision. News releases and tips can be sent to the web site editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Feature articles are generally created or written specifically for the site and are completely editorial in nature. They provide compelling, insightful and useful information about Digital Community initiatives and innovations occurring around the world.
The primary focus of the Digital Communities web site is on the ways that information technology is transforming the way we work, live and play. It is designed to inform and involve communities (and the organizations supporting them) as they move toward an increasingly digital existence.
Throughout history, government has been to some extent a service oriented delivery business. Yet it is in recent times that public leaders have fully recognized the potential for technology to transform government and NGO operations serving communities.
New tools, opportunities and innovations are emerging to keep our communities safe and secure, to raise citizen satisfaction and participation with government and community organizations, to bridge the digital divide, and to greatly enhance community economic and social development.
We are interested in publishing quality, factual and well-written original features that fall within the parameters described above. This will include articles from community leaders, industry experts, academia, journalists, web site members and other vendors. Feature articles will usually be 1000-1500 words in length with supporting pictures and/or graphics. They may be longer if the subject matter warrants the coverage.
Send submissions electronically to email@example.com
The editorial staff of Digital Communities is always happy to consider ideas, leads and completed stories that serve the general purpose of the site. We cannot, of course, guarantee that we will publish everything submitted and we reserve the right to edit any story submitted for our use.
Any feature article which only focuses on the product or service of one particular vendor is likely to be rejected unless the main focus is on the community served and if much of the information in the story is from independent community leaders or organizations.
Any story idea may be queried before submitting the actual article if you prefer. Send such queries to the web site editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.