Value Added Services on the InternetP2 by kasun12345

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									                                                                           6.3 eGovernment



6.3 eGovernment
eGovernment is the common name by which state sector computerization is now known.
It can be said very broadly the application of information and communication technology
(ICT) to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government services including but
not limited to the legislature, judiciary and administration. Since the primary recipients
are either citizens, other government agencies or businesses, eGovernment services have
typically   been    divided       into   Government-to-Consumer   (G2C),    Government-to-
Government (G2G) and Government-to-Business (G2B) (figure 6.5).
        eGovernment ICT infrastructure varies widely from country to country. The
following classification by the nature of the services provided is largely determined by
the maturity of the initiative:


Informational Services

The most basic of eGovernment services is the provision of information in static forms
such as circulars, newsletters, application forms and notices.


Interactive Services

At this next level of maturity, some level of interactivity is provided through email or the
filling of web forms. However, owing to the lack of access in many areas of the country,
this service cannot be truly said to constitute transactions with the government.


Transactional Services

This is a fairly mature level of eGovernment where real transactions between the
government and its citizens, suppliers and other state agencies take place via the ICT
infrastructure, usually the Web. In order to support this, state institutions would usually
require their own IT divisions.




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                           Figure 6.5: eCommerce to eBusiness


Integrated Services

At this level, the government information technology infrastructure is mature, stable and
pervasive. At this level also, internal systems of the government are seemlessly integrated
with the external services made available to the consumer - be it citizen, business or other
state agencies.
       A Network Readiness Index (NRI), e-Readiness Ranking, and other rating
schemes have been proposed as a means to rate the potential for countries to exploit the
opportunities offered by information and communications technology.




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                                                                   6.4 eEntertainment


Useful URLs

      •    UN (UNPAN) eGovernment Portal:
           http://www.unpan.org/egovernment.asp

      •    European Union’s eGovernment Good Practice Framework:
           http://www.egov-goodpractice.org/

      •    Singapore’s eCitizen Gateway:
           http://www.ecitizen.gov.sg/

      •    Canada’s eGovernment Services Portal:
           http://canada.gc.ca/main_e.html

      •    ICT Agency and the e-Sri Lanka Programme:
           http://www.icta.lk/DefaultEnglish.asp

      •    Forbes’ Network Readiness Index:
           http://www.forbes.com/technology/2005/03/09/cx_0309wefranking.html

      •    The Economists’ e-Readiness Rankings:
           http://globaltechforum.eiu.com/index.asp?layout=rich_story\&doc_id=6427



6.4 eEntertainment
Entertainment has become one of the largest industries in the global online landscape.
The kinds of entertainment available through the Internet cannot be completely
enumerated since new and innovative strategies to provide such services emerge on a
virtually daily basis.
          Some of the more common kinds of entertainment online include, listening to
music, watching video, playing games, following radio and television schedules, and
following entertainment news.




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Computer Games

Forms a major portion of the online entertainment spectrum (figure 6.6). Several forms of
gaming are available online. These range from information about games, expert reviews,
and cheat sheets which provide undocumented details about how to beat the computer.
Online communities of gamers also form an important component of this ‘eco-system’.
       More importantly however, the Internet provides an effective medium for the
distribution of game software, ranging from online payments for game CDs or DVDs,
downloading of free or shareware games, and downloading of trial versions of
commercial games which are ‘unlocked’ upon payment.




                             Figure 6.6: A Computer Game

       The most important development in the gaming arena more recently is the advent
of the online gaming phenomenon. Here, players play games not just with the computer
but with other players who are online. The most popular services enable multiplayer
games where a whole set of players distributed across the globe may play together.




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                                                                   6.4 eEntertainment



Radio, TV and Movie Listings

Online listings of radio, television and movie schedules are one of the more basic
entertainment services provided on the web. Some websites and portals provide
personalization so that the listings relevant to your area are automatically pushed to you
via email or an RSS1 feed. In cities with more sophisticated online information sources,
local entertainment news is also notified to you through the web or SMS on your mobile
phone.
         Several of these radio and television stations now provide opportunities for real
time or subsequent retrieval of programmes via audio and video streaming. A more
recent development is to chunk them into pieces and channel them to users via RSS
feeds.


Personal Networking

Several services have sought to find effective ways of networking people with
likeminded others or those with similar interests as you. Ranging from professional
networking systems such as LinkedIn to keeping in touch with one’s graduating batch of
students, some services often also offer value-addition by providing match-making and
dating options.


Online Magazines

Most real world magazines today have an online version for purchase as well (figure 6.7).
Often the online version has more flexible purchase options with back issues being
searchable. Some magazines exist only in cyber space and lists of these can be found in
magazine portals or the Internet Public Library.




         1
             Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication




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                           Figure 6.7: An Online News Website


Online News

News constituted one of the most widely accessed kinds of information on the web.
Covering most areas of life from politics, business and education to sports, news sites
have many value-added functions compared to their physical world counterparts with
full-text indexing based search facilities. Many of these sites (see for example BBC) have
specialized news and activities for different kinds of needs (e.g. for kids).


6.5 The Web as a Library
The entire web can be regarded as a massive library of information. Its catalog consists of
the large web directories and search engines. The web also supplies a user friendly
interface to some of the best libraries in the world.
       One of the most comprehensive physical libraries to have a web interface is the
Library of Congress. Apart from containing the largest single collection of books,
journals and periodicals in the world, its web interface also provides links to many other
library websites.


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          The Internet Public Library on the other hand is a completely virtual library
which provides an easily accessible interface to books around the world. Another
valuable source of information is the Encyclopedia. While Encyclopedia Britanica was
the most comprehensive ‘hard copy’ example, others such as Microsoft’s Encarta have
provided richer multimedia resources as part of their offering. These encyclopedias have
to be either purchased outright or paid for by subscription online.
          Arguably the most dramatic phenomenon in this sphere is the emergence of the
global free encyclopedia, Wikipedia, which leverages the voluntary human effort of tens
of thousands of people around the world and a community quality control model to
produce volumes of high quality, up to date encyclopedic content, completely free of
charge.
          Other common library resources on the web include access to dictionaries in
various languages, idiom and slang dictionaries, and thesauri. In addition to this, country
and political information can be freely obtained from the online CIA World Fact Book.
Many newspapers in the world also archive their back issues and provide a searchable
interface for users to retrieve important information on past events.
          One final mention must be made of an early project which sought to provide free
access to the world’s best classical literature, Project Gutenberg. Most of Shakespeare’s
writings which have completed their period of copyright for instance are now available
completely free of charge to anyone who is interested.


Useful URLs

     •     The Yahoo! Internet Directory:
           http://www.yahoo.com

     •     The Open Directory:
           http://dmoz.org/

     •     The Google Internet Search Engine:
           http://www.google.com




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     •   Wikipedia - The Global Free Encyclopedia of Knowledge:
         http://wikipedia.org/

     •   How Stuff Works:
         http://www.howstuffworks.org/

     •   Project Gutenberg - Free eBooks on the Interent:
         http://www.gutenberg.org/



6.6 Platforms for Journaling and Collaboration
More recently a whole plethora of new personal and collaboration platforms have
evolved based on the basic protocols and services of the Internet. These include
phenomena such as journaling through blogs (short for web logs), collaborative work
using wikis, group content creation and editing via content management systems, and
tracking web content updates through RSS. One of the most powerful expressions of the
rich collaboration environment provided by the Internet is the advent and rapid spread of
Open Source Software.


Blogging

One of the most creative platforms for personal reflection and philosophical monologue
is the web log or blog (figure 6.8). Most blogging services provide space for journaling
with access control which allows the user to make all or some of the content publicly
accessible. This allows bloggers to open their private reflections to a wide audience and
often provides a mechanism for reader to comment on such reflections. People form
various walks of life from corporate bosses to sidewalk philosophers use blogs to release
their creativity and express their opinions.




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                                       6.6 Platforms for Journaling and Collaboration




                    Figure 6.8: Definition of Blog on a Wiki Website


Wikis

What blogging is to individual writing, wiki is for collaborative authoring (figure 6.8).
Without doubt the most powerful demonstration of what wiki-based collaborative
authoring is capable of achieving is seen in the global free encyclopedia, the Wikipedia.
This completely voluntary effort has resulted in the creation of the largest and
increasingly high quality encyclopedia in the world. There are however also many
thousands of other wikis enabling collaboration between employees in a company, a
global collection of individuals with similar interests and thousands of partners
collaborating on projects.


Content Management Systems

Just as Wikis allow collaborative authoring of documents and content, Content
Management Systems (CMSs) allow multiple parties to jointly create, edit and manage
website content. Some widely used CMSs underlying many well known websites include,
Drupal, Zope, Joomla (formerly Mambo) andWordPress. CMSs have made website
maintenance much easier to manage.


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Really Simple Syndication

Also called Rich Site Summary, RSS is a technology which enables users to tag website
content in order to get any updates or new content automatically ‘pushed’ to an RSS
aggregator program1 on the user’s computer.


The Open Source Software Phenomenon

Probably one of the greatest uses of the various Internet protocols and services has been
the creation and distribution of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). This global
collaboration of volunteers has been able to produce software ranging from the Linux
operating system and the Apache web server to Open Office and several thousands of
applications which provide serious competition to the best commercial equivalents. One
of the better known of thousands of such FOSS collaborations is the SourceForge
platform. Apart from providing a software versioning control system, SourceForge
provides a CMS and collaboration tools to aid in the process of software creation.


Useful URLs

     •      The Open Source Phenomenon:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source

     •      Sourceforge for collaborative software development:
            http://sourceforge.net/index.php

     •      PBWiki - Your own wiki:
            http://pbwiki.com/

     •      Comparison of Content Management Systems:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_content_management_systems
     1
         More recently email clients have also built in RSS aggregation




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                                   6.6 Platforms for Journaling and Collaboration




•   Blogger:
    http://www.blogger.com/start

•   MySpace:
    http://www.myspace.com




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