Virtual machines in transnational digital government: a case study

TitleVirtual machines in transnational digital government: a case study
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsMatsunaga, A, Tsugawa, M, Fortes, JAB
Conference NameProceedings of the 2005 national conference on Digital government research (poster)
PublisherDigital Government Society of North America
Conference LocationAtlanta, Georgia
AbstractGovernments of different countries are increasingly expected to work together to address regional and global problems, provide disaster relief, satisfy international agreements, enable trade and movement of people across borders, and, in general, collaborate in achieving mutually-agreed goals. Information technology plays a key role in these transnational collaborations, particularly when country-specific information and IT resources are needed for each and every involved country to play their role in the collaborative efforts. In general, heterogeneity across IT systems is inevitable as it results from differences in economical and technical capabilities across countries, as well as from conceptual differences due to differences in agency missions and their regulatory context (which may, for example, specify what kind of software must be used) and differences in human IT resources. Integration may require use of new and/or existing hardware and/or software at different locations, processing and accessing data located in distinct agencies, and communication among many IT entities. In this context, heterogeneity can lead to several forms of incompatibilities among infrastructures, namely: (1) Hardware incompatibility: when machines do not have the expected architecture or capabilities to run machine-dependent software; (2) Software incompatibility: when needed software components require additional software that is either unavailable or conflicts with software used for local government functions; (3) Communication incompatibility: when multiple software components miss (a) interfaces for communication and (b) commonly understood protocols for communication; (4) Data incompatibility: when data maintained by software components use different organization, structure, semantic and natural language; and (5) Security and accessibility incompatibility: when integrating components with distinct or absent mechanisms for network security and access control.