Telematics for community portal development.

Musgrave, Stephen J (2006). Telematics for community portal development. PhD thesis The Open University.



Community portals emanate from information and communication technology (ICT) applied to community networking, enabling citizens to access information and services on-line. These telematic portal systems are now deployed globally, facilitating information services to geographic and virtual communities.

The context of this research study is one of community portals deployed by UK government local authorities for citizen service interactions. To date there have been few studies that holistically and longitudinally examine the subject of community portals. The 5 year research exercise has been undertaken as a qualitative study using an interpretivist approach and methodology derived > from context-process analysis. The approach was influenced by Mumford’s writings on ‘people and technology' and Schuler’s early work on community network development in the USA.

Data collection was undertaken using a national survey questionnaire and qualitative techniques including interviews and mini-case studies. Findings of the research include a new categorisation of community portals into two distinctive types of Civic and Civil portal.

Theoretical outcomes include an improved understanding of the methodological, technical, and social dimensions of portal development and deployment. The implications for management include an exposition of the issues involved in community portal development and the important need for citizen engagement in the process.

A case study of Blackpool, (and mini case studies of five civic / civil portals), point to lack of collaboration between central and local government portal architects and developers.

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