Citizens around the globe are demanding better services and more responsiveness from their local, state, and national governments. Governments are responding to this challenge by implementing a vast range of information technologies (IT) that crosses departmental and organizational boundaries. Integration and information sharing among government agencies have the potential to increase the productivity and performance of government operations, improve policy-making, and provide better services to citizens (Akbulut, 2003; Dawes, 1996; Landsbergen & Wolken, 2001). For example, September 11, 2001 terrorist-related events have shown the importance of integration and information sharing among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in order to protect the safety of citizens by combating crime and terrorism. As Whiting and Chabrow (2001) pointed out, “The intelligence gaps among law enforcement agencies became obvious in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Two of the suspected hijackers, for example, reportedly were on an INS watch list. But that information never found its way to the Federal Aviation Administration…” (p. 2). As the investigation into these attacks continues, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Customs Service, the INS, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, as well as other law enforcement and intelligence agencies are trying to share information on an extraordinary scale.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Web-Portal: A Web-portal, also known as a gateway, refers to a World Wide Web site that serves as a major starting point for a particular set of users when they interact with the Web for a particular reason. A portal usually provides a wide variety of services and resources such as forums, search engines, links to other related Web sites, and the like. For example, the U.S. government’s official Web-portal (http://www.firstgov.gov) contains extensive information on government resources, services, and forms for citizens, businesses, and agencies.
Information sharing: Information sharing can be defined as the voluntary act of making information possessed by one entity available to another entity.
Electronic Information Sharing: In the context of this study, information sharing is used to refer to electronic information sharing. Electronic information sharing can be described as sharing information through the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, EDI, Internet, intranets/extranets, networks, shared databases, and so forth.
Data Warehouse: A data warehouse can be defined as a central repository of data, typically gathered from different operational databases. A data warehouse allows the users to make queries and perform detailed business analysis for decision-making purposes.
E-Government Integration: E-government integration can be defined as forming a temporary or permanent unit of government entity to merge processes and information systems.
E-Government: E-government or electronic government can be defined as the government’s use of IT to exchange information and services with citizens, businesses, and other government agencies.
Middleware: Middleware refers to a software program written to connect otherwise separate applications. Middleware serves as a bridge or interface between applications so that they can exchange data and resources.