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News - May 15, 2000 Horizontal Rule

NSF PR 00-31
Media contacts:  Tom Garritano, NSF  (703) 306-1070  
   Deborah Noble, USC Information
 Sciences Institute
 (310) 448-8246  
Program contacts:  Larry Brandt  (703) 306-1980  
 Valerie Gregg  (703) 306-1980  

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NSF Creates Partnership to Further Digital Government

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will announce a new partnership for the advancement of digital government at a national workshop that opens today in Los Angeles. The partnership, known as "dg.o," (DigitalGovernment.Org), brings together computer science researchers with federal, state and local agencies to improve the quality and scope of on-line government services.

The dg.o 2000 workshop, hosted by the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute (ISI), will showcase NSF-funded information technology (IT) designed to help agencies form strategic visions for improving efficiency and service to citizens.

Computer scientists from around the country will demonstrate technologies ranging from data mining and geospatial information sharing systems to intelligent agents for the web.

"NSF began to explore IT research partnerships with Federal mission agencies in 1994, when 12 agencies jointly contributed to development of the first popular web browser, Mosaic," said Larry Brandt, NSF program manager for digital government. "Now with dg.o, we are taking the next steps to build a multi-sector research-based community of many universities and government agencies."

Although going digital has made government interactions easier, it has also brought a new set of problems, explains ISI's Yigal Arens, chair of the conference and co-director of NSF's Digital Government Research Center, jointly operated by ISI and Columbia University.

"The NSF and DGRC are interested in finding ways for the government and citizens to interact more effectively via the Internet," Arens said. "It's no longer a question of whether each agency has a website or a database, but how to make all those different systems work together so that both agencies and the public can get the most out of the information in them."

NSF, through its Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering, established the Digital Government program. Investments have been $12.5 million in the past two years. The program makes research grants to universities ranging between $100,000 and $500,000 per year, in addition to smaller planning and workshop grants. The projects are augmented by $3.1 million from other agencies, which also provide in-kind contributions of staff, data and facilities.

NSF-funded digital government activities include:

  • improving citizen access to government statistical data;
  • managing information and knowledge for law enforcement;
  • implementing a testbed of high-speed communications for comprehensive emergency management; and
  • ensuring security for web-based statistical analysis of confidential data.

The dg.o consortium will support participating research institutions and the digital government community by giving academic researchers insight into federal agency needs, transferring emergent information technology from academia to member agencies, acting as an information source across agencies and helping to leverage resources through collaboration.


For more information about the NSF Digital Government Program and the dg.o consortium, see:

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