What is E-Government?

E-government is “the use of technology, particularly the Internet, as a means to deliver government services and to facilitate the interaction of the public with government entities.” 

-American Library Association

In many cases, e-government access now stands as the primary means of getting government information and interacting with the government – everything from visiting government agency websites to emailing government officials to applying for government benefits. 

Many of the activities that we engage in during our everyday lives involve e-government, even if we don’t think about it in those exact terms.  Here are but a few examples of the ways that e-government now routinely touches our lives:

    • Filing of tax returns.
    • Applying for social security benefits.
    • Voter registration.
    • School enrollment.
    • Renewing a driver's license.
    • Setting up an appointment to meet with a case worker.
    • Following government agencies on Twitter or Facebook.

From the completion of a basic form online to more interactive forms of interacting with government, more and more government is online.


E-Government Basics Resources

ALA’s e-government toolkit: Check out their training programs and resources, guidance for drafting e-government service policies, and potential sources for funding of e-government service projects at your library.

The Office of E-Government & Information Policy (Office of Management and Budget): Links to e-government laws and policies and brief descriptions of current federal e-government initiatives, including the Digital Government Strategy.

The White House:  Policy documents pertaining to online government information include the following:

Open Government Directive (released on December 8, 2009)

Executive Order Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information (issued May 9, 2013)

Second Open Government National Action Plan for the United States (released on December 5, 2013)



E-Government & Libraries Readings

As government information, services, and resources increasingly move to online formats, public libraries are a bridge between the communities they serve and government agencies at all levels (local, state, federal).  If you’re interested in learning more about how libraries have stepped into various e-government roles, check out the following articles:


Bertot, J.C., Jaeger, P.T., Langa, L.A., & McClure, C. R. (2006). Drafted: I Want You to Deliver E-government. Library Journal (August 15). Available at http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2006/08/academic-libraries/drafted-i-want-you-to-deliver-e-government/#_

Bishop, B., McClure, C. R., & Mandel, L. H. (2011). E-Government Service Roles for Public Libraries. Public Libraries, 50(2), 32-37.
Jaeger, P. T., & Bertot, J.C. (2011). Responsibility Rolls Down: Public Libraries and the Social and Policy Obligations of Ensuring Access to E-government and Government Information. Public Library Quarterly, 30(2), 91-116.
Jaeger, P. T., & Bertot, J.C. (2009). E-government Education in Public Libraries: New Service Roles and Expanding Social Responsibilities. Journal Of Education For Library & Information Science, 50(1), 39-49.