What Is An eGovernment Website?
A. What Is A Website?
In general terms, a website is a communication tool, its primary function being to enable individuals and organisations to share and exchange information over the internet.
Through a website, it is possible to make a certain amount of information available to the public in electronic format, to gather information from the public itself, and to provide electronic services to the public. For these reasons, websites can be useful tools to support the work of governmental agencies for which contact with the public and/or with other government agencies and organisations is important.
1. The Internet
The internet is a global communication system designed to network computers with other computers based in other locations, using telephone, satellite or wireless radio connections.
By networking computers, it is possible to transfer data between them - and data transfer on the internet can take place in different ways, or protocols . The most common protocols currently in use on the internet are:
- E-Mail (or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, SMTP), enabling users to send and receive personal messages in electronic format.
- HTTP (Hyper Textual Transfer Protocol): designed to enable users to access and make use of hypertexts , a type of electronic document that can contain automatic references, or links , to other files or documents - making it easy for users to move from one document to another, or to trigger actions on remote computers.
2. The World Wide Web
The World Wide Web (WWW, or simply "web") is a metaphor used to describe the vast collection of hypertext documents available through the HTTP protocol around the world. This choice of terms is due to the fact that hypertext documents stored in different locations around the world can be linked together electronically, forming a logical structure similar to a spider's web that extends over the globe.
By following the links, or connections, contained in hypertexts, users can move from document to document relatively easily: this makes accessing complex sets of information quicker than with other internet-based methods, and is the reason why - since its implementation in the early Nineties - the web has rapidly become the most widely used information system on the internet.
Hypertext makes it possible to combine text, graphics, audio and video into a single document: the web is therefore a multimedia information source , capable of conveying rich and complex information at the click of a mouse.
A website is a collection of electronic documents linked together logically in order to provide consistent information. These documents are stored on a computer that is connected to the internet, and made available via the World Wide Web.
By virtue of the HTTP protocol on which the WWW is based, it is possible to assign a unique identifier, or address, to every collection of documents, which distinguishes it from other sets of documents available on the web, and makes it possible for users to precisely locate the computer in which it is stored, and access it.
Hence, a website is called a web site because it represents one of many possible distinct locations (or sites ) where information is available within the World Wide Web.
An eGovernment website is a tool designed to support the activities of governmental bodies by giving them the possibility to exchange information with other parties (in particular the public) over the internet. The typical users of eGovernment websites are citizens, firms, other governmental agencies, civil society organisations/NGOs, or the press, i.e. all the parts of society that entertain relations with public agencies (and have access to the internet). (See also: Functions Of An eGovernment Website)