The Semantic Web and Networked Governance: Promise and Challenges
The virtual state is a metaphor meant to draw attention to the structures and processes of the state that are becoming increasingly aligned with the structures and processes of the semantic web. Semantic Web researchers understand the potential for information sharing, enhanced search, improved collaboration, innovation, and other direct implications of contemporary informatics. Yet many of the broader democratic and governmental implications of increasingly networked governance remain elusive, even in the world of public policy and politics.
Governments, not businesses, remain the major information processing entities in the world. But where do they stand as knowledge managers, bridge builders and creators? As they strive to become not simply information-based but also knowledge-creating organizations, public agencies and institutions face a set of striking challenges. These include threats to privacy, to intellectual property, to identity, and to traditional processes of review and accountability. From the perspective of the organization of government, what are some of the key challenges faced by governments as they seek to become networked? What best practices are emerging globally? And in the networked world that is rapidly emerging and becoming institutionalized, how can public, private and nonprofit sectors learn from one another?