Government has entered a period of deep transformation heralded by rapid developments in information technologies. The promise of digital government lies in the potential of the Internet to connect government actors and the public in entirely new ways. The outcomes of fundamentally new modes of coordination, control, and communication in government offer great benefits and equally great peril. Public servants, technical specialists, and researchers have a deep obligation to examine, articulate and communicate the range of possible effects of ubiquitous computing in government and to influence its development through research, dialogue, and practical activities.
The National Science Foundation, recognizing the importance of sound research capacity to support the development of digital and electronic government, has provided generous support to enable development of the central elements of a national center for digital government research and practice We envision the center to have the following attributes: a clearinghouse for digital government research, practice, and innovation; a convener of technical and social science researchers, government practitioners and related private sector actors; a means to advance human development through workshops for cross-sectoral groups, education for graduate and executive students, and development of teaching tools and resources; and the advancement of knowledge through all of these attributes as well as longitudinal, cross-disciplinary, problem-oriented research. The current research program of the National Center extends and refines theoretical frameworks to encompass fundamental changes in information processing and communication. In so doing, it is meant to advance the social sciences as well as an understanding of digital government.