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A note on infrastructure for information society

Pieter Wisse
Information Dynamics, The Netherlands


Abstract
Governance of electronic government is entangled within itself. With his dialogue Charmides, Plato already warned against self-absorbed entities and how they impair wider development. Projects and programmes, despite obvious rhetoric to the contrary, still largely produce separate resources. Lacking so-called interoperability, they fail to facilitate information flows even at the limited scope of citizen- and business-to-government interactions, let alone at the appropriate scope of society as a whole. Accordingly, such resources are essentially useless. Electronic government doesn’t deliver benefits. A vicious cycle has become established. It starts with a misdirected project as it isn’t guided by a productive vision on the information, or network, society including its irreducible infrastructure for information flows or traffic. It remains unclear what the particular project should contribute to such an infrastructure. When a project’s failure finally must be admitted, it is evaluated on more or less the single premise of shortcomings in governance. Next, evaluators with an overriding background in governance are recruited exclusively, rather than including at least some persons with in-depth interdisciplinary expertise. It simply follows that only changes in governance are recommended, in fact complying with the evaluation brief and thus solidifying myopia. Actual shortcomings are completely neglected, as evaluators, too, are incapable to recognize proper goals, means, dependencies etcetera. Additional governance measures cause the resumed or follow-up project to fail even stronger. Everything is set up for the cycle to repeat itself. It takes the wider perspective of infrastructure to challenge the deadlock.

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Reference:Wisse, P. (2010). "A note on infrastructure for information society," University of Amsterdam, Netherlands . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 10(28). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/10-28
Keywords:Civil information management, civil information engineering, information society, network society, infrastructure, electronic government, governance of infratructure.
Item Type:Article - Volume 10 Article 28 (2010)
Language:Dutch
Email: Pieter Wisse (pieter@wisse.cc)
Additional Information:Dutch title: Infrastructuur op een briefje. Originally published in: PrimaVera, working paper # 2010-04, University of Amsterdam, 2010.

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