Information Technology Reference
information security and privacy is the precondition for developing e-governance.
That consideration is emphasized in the Rutgers E-Governance Survey. The
Security/Privacy category pays attention to whether a statement or policy is avail-
able to explain the collection of personal data, how governments use these data,
whether these data would be disclosed to third parties, how governments use “cook-
ies” or “Web Beacons” to track users, and so on. This grouping examines the extent
that municipalities protect website users' privacy and security.
Asiimwe and Lim (2010) believed that the benefits that government websites
offer to citizens and governments could not be realized if websites are unusable.
Along those lines, the Rutgers survey examines whether municipal websites are
convenient to use. The second component, usability, focuses on the performance
of a government website in enabling users to locate information or services con-
veniently, that is, whether municipalities' websites are user-friendly: whether the
homepage is concise and consistent, targeted audience links and sitemaps are avail-
able, online forms are well designed, search tools are advanced and easy to use, and
so on. Thus, this component of the survey tests the usability of municipal websites.
The third part is content, examining what kinds of information municipalities
are providing to citizens. Website content is examined “in five key areas: access to
contact information, public documents, disability access, multimedia materials, and
time-sensitive information” (Holzer & Manoharan, 2012). The survey diagnoses
whether municipal websites provide contact information for departments or public
officials; newsletters or community updates are available to citizens; codes, charts,
or policy priorities are supplied; public meeting minutes, budgets, and related doc-
uments are offered; and performance measurements and results are posted for citi-
zens. This section of the survey aims at examining the website's content and focuses
on what kinds of information municipalities are providing to citizens.
An important aspect of e-governance is providing services online. The Rutgers
survey “examines two different types of services: (1) those that enable citizens to
interact with the municipality and (2) those that allow users to register for events
or services online” (Holzer & Manoharan, 2012). Specifically, it indicates whether
governments enable citizens to pay utilities, taxes, fines, or tickets online; allow
users to apply for permits or licenses online; enable citizens to file complaints or
request services online; and allow users to report crimes, violations of administra-
tive laws and regulations, corruption, and so on.
The importance of citizen participation has been emphasized by many scholars;
it holds a sacrosanct role in U.S. political culture (Day, 1997; Irvin & Stansbury,
2004), serves as a vital component of democracy (Crow & Stevens, 2012), benefits
government performance improvement (Holzer & Mullins, 2012), and enables
citizens to learn more about the government, to gain skills for activist citizenship,
and to influence the policy process (Irvin & Stansbury, 2004). E-governance is
expected to use ICTs to improve citizen participation. Therefore, the last com-
ponent of the Rutgers E-Governance Survey, citizen and social engagement,
focuses on the online methods provided by the government for citizens to engage