Understanding and supporting information integration is a multidisciplinary undertaking. The project therefore combines perspectives from organizational behavior, computer and information science, and political science. The multi-year research program has concentrated on integration activities in two critical policy areas: justice and public health since they include a full range of functions across all three levels of government. These also are areas in which significant integration initiatives are underway and available for study. Federal, state, and local government agencies are collaborating in the research, as are organizations of government professionals concerned with information technology.
With the completion of the final data collection phase of the MIII project, CTG is currently analyzing the results from our national survey and continuing to develop various results-oriented academic and practitioner publications. These publications are drawing from this analysis along with the rest of the extensive research data collected throughout this project. Please see Results & Publications below to view existing papers, articles, and other publications and check back periodically for future products.
Integrating and sharing information in multi-organizational government settings involves complex interactions within social and technological contexts. It also involves new work processes and significant organizational change. Initiatives to improve the integration and sharing of information in these settings are embedded in larger political and institutional environments that shape their goals and circumscribe their choices. The purpose of this research is to develop and test dynamic models of information integration in these settings.
The research set out to address three basic questions:
The multi-year research program has concentrated on integration activities in two critical policy areas: justice and public health since they include a full range of functions across all three levels of government. These also are areas in which significant integration initiatives are underway and available for study. Federal, state, and local government agencies are collaborating in the research, as are organizations of government professionals concerned with information technology.
Understanding and supporting information integration is a multidisciplinary undertaking. The project therefore combines perspectives from organizational behavior, computer and information science, and political science. Two forms of modeling are being used: system dynamics modeling that emphasizes the temporal and feedback aspects of the process, and social process modeling that emphasizes the way collaboration and shared meanings are developed. These methods build on prior work of the investigators in interorganizational knowledge sharing, collaboration, and government technology innovation. The result will be new models of interorganizational information integration processes that can support system development, and lead to further research and education in the related disciplines.
The research was conducted in three overlapping phases:
The first organizing meeting brought together the CTG MIII research team with doctoral students from the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Administration and Policy and College of Computing and Information.
The first organizing meeting brought together the CTG MIII research team with doctoral students from the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Administration and Policy and College of Computing and Information. The International Information Sharing Research Network (IISRN), launched in 2007 at the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany, State University of New York, is focused on building knowledge about information sharing in an international context and making that new knowledge available to researchers and practitioners around the world. This innovative program brings together doctoral students and faculty in a coordinated research network dedicated to examining key questions of information sharing theory and practice within the domain of government. This innovative network is leveraging present research findings from three U.S. National Science Foundation grants to the Center for Technology in Government by supporting comparative studies of these findings in the form of doctoral research on information sharing conducted in US and non-US contexts. Future plans for IISRN include: creating a repository of culturally sensitive data collection instruments; creating a secure, accessible, and usable data repository; creating a set of resources to inform comparative information sharing research designs, and building a sustainable international research network focused on information sharing in a governmental context.
Dissertation studies are underway in China, Jordan, and Taiwan, with additional studies being planned in Mexico and Saudi Arabia. In their dissertation research, students are drawing on findings from CTG’s Modeling Interorganizational Information Integration (MIII) and Knowledge Networking in the Public Sector (KDI) research studies and working to contribute to the development of new theory in cross-boundary information integration and sharing through testing these findings in an international context. In addition to meeting regularly with IISRN, each student works with his or her dissertation committee at the University at Albany and with academic and practitioner partners in the host country.
IISRN currently involves faculty mentors from the University at Albany, staff from the Center for Technology in Government, and five doctoral students from China, Jordan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan who are part of the Public Administration and Policy and Information Science programs at the University as well as one student from the U.S. located at the University of California at Santa Barbara. IISRN meets once a month to discuss network goals, key challenges in comparative information sharing studies, dissertation progress to date, and future opportunities; as well as to share knowledge about relevant topics such as comparative research design and issues related to human subjects.
An overview of key activities of the Network to-date are provided below:
Guest speakers have provided IISRN with a series of presentations on design issues in comparative studies and information sharing theory and practice issues. Speakers have included:
Members of the Network have created a wiki to support the sharing of documents such as human subjects applications for studies conducted in a non-US context as well as the related attachments to these applications such as letters of support from academics or practitioners in the country of interest, as well as relevant papers and presentations written by group members.
IISRN was invited to present at the Third Annual Informatics Spring Research Conference (NTIR) held by the College of Computing and Information at the University at Albany. The Network was also invited to present its most recent efforts in an invited session at the Second International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV) in Cairo, Egypt in December of 2008.
Mulki, F., Zheng, L., Yang, T., & Pardo, T. A. (2008). International Research Program in Cross-Boundary Information Sharing. In Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Digital Government Research (pp. 409-410). Montreal, Canada: Digital Government Society of North America.
The project is funded in part through a grant from the National Science Foundation, grant number ITR-0205152.