Governing from the Centre? Comparing the Nodality of Digital Governments

Type: 
Paper
Date: 
Sep 2006
Citation: 

Escher, T., Margetts, H., Petricek, V., & Cox, I. (2006) Governing from the Centre? Comparing the Nodality of Digital Governments. 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, 31 Aug - 4 Sept.

by Tobias Escher (UCL School of Public Policy), Helen Margetts (UCL and Oxford Internet Institute),
Ingemar J. Cox (UCL Computer Science) and Vaclav Petricek (UCL Computer Science)

This paper has been presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in Philadelphia (31. August - 4. September 2006).

What difference does e-government make to the capacity of governments to interact with citizens? How does it affect government’s place in social and informational networks - the ‘nodality’ of contemporary government? What is the structure of ‘government on the web’ and how do citizens experience government on-line?
This paper uses methods from computer science (particularly webmetrics) and political science (a ‘tools of government’ approach) to go further than previous work in developing a methodology to quantitatively analyse the structure of government on the web, building on Petricek et al (2006). It applies structural metrics (via webcrawling) and user metrics (via user experiments) to the web sites of comparable ministries concerned with foreign affairs in three countries (Australia, the US and the UK).
The results are used to assess the on-line presence of the three foreign offices along five dimensions: visibility, accessibility, extroversion, navigability and competitiveness. These dimensions might be developed further as indicators for use by both researchers (to assess e-government initiatives) and by governments (to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their on-line presence). Governments which are successful in developing their web sites in this way are likely to have greater visibility to citizens, businesses and other governments, strengthening nodality as a policy tool.

This publication is part of the Participation in Internet-mediated Interactions project.

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