Social navigation and user contributions within the sphere of public digital services
Author(s): Borchorst, N.G.
Place of publication: IRIS 2009
Abstract: In this paper I discuss the potential of social navigation and user contributions within the sphere of public digital services. In doing so I propose a conceptual categorization for understanding web based user contributions within an e-Governance context. Establishing two basic forms of user contributions, passive and active, the paper discusses the potential and not least challenges of introducing such contributions to digital public services. The paper touches upon central concepts to the problem area, namely user empowerment, user involvement, social navigation and participatory citizenship. Moreover the paper discusses issues of service quality and the control and validity of data. The above challenges are discussed with an outset in a research project with a focus on innovating digital public services via Web 2.0 style technologies; the eGov+ project. Here citizens, municipalities and private companies interact in a research process seeking to improve public, digital services. In our contact with municipal staff and parental leave takers we experienced a number of concerns regarding both the quality of service and control of information as well as issues of data ownership. I discuss how these concerns pose challenges to the facilitation of social navigation and user-to-user contact when the setting is not private online communities but public websites.