Archive for May, 2009

Next generation tools for digital activists

31. May 2009 – 22:52 by Civil College


Activists in the digital arena has to face with many different challenges - security, mobile enviroments, advance tools in citizen journalism and others. 

The group called TacticalTechnologyCollective  does a great and unique job on delivering strategic thinking guides and useful out of the box solutions and their collections for the new generations of activists - who are focusing on mostly the less developed part of the world. 

It is defenately comes to our advantage, if we check their informaiton package on Information Visualization for Advocacy or the general Maps for Advocacy - regardless we work on government side, or as NGOs.

Beside these useful guides, a beautiful set of books and dvds are packed together (with the great support coming from the Open Society Institute Information Programme) and available in a creative commons licence also for download.

Security in a box is supported by UN

To mention one of the next generation tools that they support - Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, a platform that crowdsources crisis information. Allowing anyone to submit crisis information through text messaging using a mobile phone, email or web form. 

The tool has been used to monitor the elections in India recently, and now you can check the site, which has been created to visualize the cases of Swine Flu:

Hey, most of the work TacticalTech does, support and share is opensource!


Social Innovation Camp CEE

30. May 2009 – 22:13 by Madarász Csaba

Have you heard about Social Innovation Camp?

Not yet? It has been started by Dan McQuillan, an e-campaignin expert, previously working for Amnesty International, and with background in partialphysics on the topic of web-participation-development and social innovations. After the succesful camp in the UK, the Sicamp nano-Barcamp styled hybrid of development event is buzzing Scotland and the CEE region now.


What is Dan saying about this? 

We hope Social Innovation Camp shows that if you have a little faith in people, they can do amazing things for all sorts of different reasons - whether it’s to solve a problem; to do something that’s worth doing or because it’s simply really good fun.

We believe the incredible thing about the web and new technologies is that they make all of this possible by helping people to organise things better for themselves. And Social Innovation Camp is all about making that a practical reality by helping people create the next generation of social start-ups.

But our really grand vision is that the Social Innovation Camp might play a small part in creating a big change: a shift where people don’t just complain about stuff that needs fixing or rely on government/companies/charities to do it for them. Instead, we want to give people the confidence, connections and skills they need to start up their own thing and mend something that’s broken.

The focus now on the CEE region, with the help of the CEE Trust. The Social Innovation Camp (SIC), will be a part of the Civil Society Forum in Bratislava in September’09, which is bringing together talented software developers/designers and social innovators from the non-profit, commercial and public sector. Their task is for a couple of days, paired up in teams, to build effective web-based solutions to real social problems.

Based on the successful model pioneered in the United Kingdom, Social Innovation Camp CEE aims to jumpstart a “digital activist” movement across the Central European region, committed to using the Internet for social change.

Beside participation, following Dan on his website is a useful activity.

You Are the Budget Hero

29. May 2009 – 15:01 by Dan Jellinek

In the process of editing a US academic paper for publication in next week’s E-Government Bulletin, I’ve just come across an interesting project developed in the US in the run-up to last year’s Presidential elections, which is a fun variation on some of the e-Participatory budgeting projects I’ve seen.

It’s called Budget Hero

It was produced by American Public Media, the largest producer of US public radio stations, and jointly funded by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Like other online participatory budgeting tools I’ve seen, it lets you find out information about a public budget – in this case, the vast US federal budget – and make your own adjustments to it, letting you see how your own political priorities might translate to budget decisions, and the effects that different spending allocations can have on current and future services.

The different thing about this project is that it seems much more developed than others I’ve seen, due to the level of funding it had. The interfaces are fun and cartoon-style, too, while preserving the complexity of decision-making. The underlying structure is well-researched, and the system looks ahead 10 years to the potential follow-through of spending decisions far in the future.

There is also a discussion area which allows users to share and discuss their budgets with others who have taken part.

I’d love to see someone have a go at this for the EU budget! I would like to have a go at reallocating some of the agricultural subsidies, myself :-)

E-democracy on Internethajó (boat)? How to avoid it?

28. May 2009 – 21:34 by Civil College

There has been an event, called Internetboat in Hungary, which primary focus is shifting each year - 2009 theme has been the vast plan for the Hungarian “Digital Public Works”, and the communicational activities from the government behind.

It is widly known, that these kind of events although trying to push together some stakeholders of the fields around the “Digital Public Works”, but the success is mainly based on the organizers creativity.

One interesting thing beside the real reason, why I am typing this article, is a programme from the Hungarian Telecottage Association - called the Digital Solidarity Catalogue.

It is in an old fashioned e-book format from Flipviewer - for me I see no reason, why not to use the internet for these kind of publishing acts - which is a collection of IT programs from different areas with a social focus. It is a nice collection with strong focus on Hungary.

During the last year, it has become obvious for most of us, that the culture of e-democracy is widely embedded in different political cultures of each country - and Hungary is in the disadvantaged group right know.

A strong representation for this, is in a slide - and a speech - which has been held by dr. Akos Balint, the programme leader of the Hungarian National Development Agenency’s (responsible for the EU-money programs) Public Service Reform Directional Program.

As can be seen on this slide - the EKOP programme for public service reform has 5 levels. It has been said, that this is align with the EU (?) structure of CLBPS (Common list of basic public services).

No doubt for us, that E-democracy is not part of the CLBPS, although, it has some relation to all levels. We should have the question in our mind - what is the reason for putting the power and trust that e-democracy can offer to societies to such a place, that will not have and support? 

In my understanding, one solution, that mr.Bálint do not really know, what is e-democracy.

The other one is there is no real reason in the mind of the decision makers, to support e-democracy in Hungary from these programmes… I do not really want to choose.

e-democracy as CLBPS fifth

Power - Web 2.0 Participative Portals for Emilia-Romagna

27. May 2009 – 11:57 by Roberto Zarro

Logo of the Emilia-Romagna's Telematic Plan

The project is promoted by the Emilia-Romagna Region in the framework of its Telematic Plan, and realized by the Municipalities of Bologna, Ferrara, Modena, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia. The aim of the project is to understand, both with studies and analysis, both with tests, how much and in which ways institutions can integrate web 2.0 tools in their official websites and portals. Leda Guidi, manager of the Bologna’s institutional civic net Iperbole and Power’s project manager, highlights goals, plans and early results of the project. Read the rest of this entry »

What do you think about eParticipation?

26. May 2009 – 10:25 by Bengt Feil

At the eParticipation Day 2009 in Brussels the Regione Toscana did an instant poll among the attendees asking them what they think eParticipation should achieve and what its actual impact will be. Francesco Molinari wrote an article about this effort and its results on this blog earlier on. The persons surveyed at this event where a set of the most engaged and active proponents of eParticipation in Europe and it seemed useful to repeat this kind of short questionnaire here on the PEP-NET blog to see whether there are any significant differences between the answers. For the last few weeks two of the questions where posted in the right hand colon of the website and now I would like to present the results so far.

What is eParticipation expected to achieve?

How will eParticipation change the nature of public engagement and politics?

A large majority of persons asked on see the improvement of the quality of decision making and the reduction of the democratic deficit as the most important tasks of eParticipation. These two answers where also favoured by the persons asked at the eParticipation Day. Furthermore over 50% said that eParticipation will spread political power throughout society. This answered was given by 39% of persons questioned at the eParticipation Day making it the most frequented answer to this question there also. Keeping in mind the fairly small sets of data (28 answers on in both surveys the results are similar to each other. We will keep leave the survey on the PEP-NET side and revisited the results in a few weeks to see whether there have been any significant changes in the preferences voiced by the visitors of

Keep live events real?

26. May 2009 – 09:44 by Fraser Henderson - ICELE

Just as the web is improving the ability to self-organise it is also pushing down the cost of event management. For a start there is EventBrite, an event registration service which facilitates ticket sales and promotion.

Tools such as eNetworker manage delegates and exhibitors - both prior and post event. Couple this with a free video streaming service such as Ustream and you can also provide live video and real-time chat.

Finally, all good events have some sort of twitter tag: Twitterfall allows you to display and monitor on-line threads as they emerge.

Despite the benefits of digital participation in ‘normally’ controlled environments there is a downside –too often delegates are distracted by their mobile information devices and have less ‘real-world’ interaction with the event and people that they came to witness.

In creating an on-line conversation alongside an event are we distilling the quality of real debate? I am often surprised by the number of people who use laptops during meeting and events – would they revolt if there was no WiFi or mobile access?


25. May 2009 – 16:10 by ASAEL

ASAEL colaborará activamente en los debates de las II Jornadas de participación ciudadana que se celebrará el próximo 27 de mayo de 2009 en el centro Joaquín Roncal en Zaragoza. El objetivo de ASAEL es aportar la experiencia adquirida a través del Proyecto Pep-Net de Participación ciudadana, enmarcado en el Programa Europeo de Competitividad e Innovación.

Las II Jornadas sobre participación ciudadana en el ámbito local están dirigidas a cargos electos de la Administración Local, Ayuntamientos, Comarcas, Técnicos de estas administraciones vinculados con la participación ciudadana y representantes de entidades sociales que trabajen en el ámbito de lo local y al ciudadano en general.

Los Objetivos de la jornada son:

 • Reflexionar sobre los retos y oportunidades que conlleva la elaboración y aprobación de normas que fomenten la participación de la ciudadanía en la construcción de las políticas públicas.

• Analizar el régimen jurídico vigente en materia de participación ciudadana en el ámbito local.

• Establecer un marco de aprendizaje y análisis desde las experiencias de entidades locales

Las conclusiones derivadas de esta Jornada de Participación Ciudadana serán muy relevantes para la ciudadanía de la región aragonesa, sobre todo a nivel local, puesto que se tratarán temas tales como el marco normativo de la participación ciudadana en el ámbito local y el Reglamento de participación ciudadana. Es fundamental conocer los marcos que permitan promocionar la participación de los ciudadanos.

La elaboración de normas que regulen mecanismos de participación ciudadana requiere de un proceso previo de experimentación y de un alto grado de participación de todos los actores implicado. El resultado final será la clave para una gestión eficaz de los asuntos locales.

«Hoy no se puede gobernar sin contar con la colaboración, las voces y las complicidades de la ciudadanía y de sus organizaciones». Marcelino Iglesias. Presidente del Gobierno de Aragón.



25. May 2009 – 16:07 by ASAEL

ASAEL will actively collaborate in the debates of the II Conference of citizen participation which will be held on May 27th, 2009 in the Center Joaquin Roncal of Zaragoza. ASAEL’s goal is to provide the experience learned through Pep-Net Project for Citizen Participation, set in the European Program Competitiveness and Innovation.

The II Conference about citizen’s participation at local level are addressed to Local Governments, Municipalities, Counties, Technicians associated to these authorities and citizen participation representatives of social organizations working in the local level and the citizen in general. 

The objectives of the Conference are:

 • Reflecting on the challenges and opportunities associated with the approval and adoption of rules that promote public participation in the construction of public policies.

• Analyze the existing legal regime concerning citizen participation at local level.

• Establish a framework for analysis and learning from the experiences of local entities.

The conclusions from this seminar about Citizen Participation will be very relevant to the citizenship of the Aragon region, especially at the local level, since they cover topics such as the regulatory framework for public participation at local level and Regulations for Citizen Participation. It is essential to understand the frameworks that promote the participation of citizens.  

The development of governing mechanisms rules for citizen participation requires a prior process of experimentation and a high degree of participation of all actors involved. The end result will be the key to effective management of local affairs.  

“Today we can not govern without the cooperation, the voices and the complicity of citizens and their organizations.” By Marcelino Iglesias. Head President of the Government of Aragon.

Digital Government Society of North America: E-Government Master Library

25. May 2009 – 11:24 by Centre for E-Government

For any of you interested or working in the area of eGovernment, this may be of use to you -

The Digital Government Society of North America is making available to members and non-members the version 5.0 (May 2009) of the E-Government Master Library in EndNote TM (Version X2) XML format or a Package Version in ZIP format. An alphabetically sorted (by first author names) PDF printout of all references is also included in the downloadable ZIP file.

The library currently contains 3,090 references of predominantly English language, peer-reviewed work. The library has been cleaned, and some 300 references were removed, since they did not meet the inclusion criteria or were undetected duplicates. The library now contains 3,090 entries, a net increase of 21.79 % over version 3.2 (July 2008). We continued detecting older work, which has been added. Also, 345 entries (11.16 %) published in 2008 were included.

Check your own publications for inclusion and correctness.

The link can be found under