What's in a name?

Welcome to Government E-Business.

After four-and-a-half years, we've changed civic.com to reflect the

changes we've seen in the state and local government community. It should

come as no surprise that e-government is at the heart of this change.

Civic.com, of course, had always been about e-government, even before

that phrase had currency. From its first issue in November 1996, civic.com

showed how information technology in particular the Internet could change

how government does business. We put the ".com" in civic.com for that reason.

Those were heady times for covering state and local IT. Every week,

it seemed an agency somewhere discovered a new way to take advantage of

the Internet. Motor vehicle departments were in the lead, followed closely

by agencies responsible for licensing business or recreational activities.

Others followed suit, as their budgets and imaginations allowed.

Four years later, the excitement seems a thing of the past. New applications

still crop up every now and then, but not as before. And the Internet market

has gone boom and bust, leaving many people to wonder if it was all just

a fad.

Think about the name civic.com. In November 1996, many people did not

understand the significance of the ".com." It made a lot more sense once

the Internet market exploded, but once the market imploded, the name sounded

out of vogue.

But if the buzz is over, e-government is here to stay. If anything,

government agencies are dedicating more resources than ever to moving their

operations online. They are less concerned with breaking new ground and

impressing their constituents than they are with dealing with the challenge

of making this stuff work.

The business of e-government is what Government E-Business is all about.

We'll still report on the latest ideas in the state and local community.

But more than ever, we'll focus on the technology, policies and management

strategies that turn good ideas into good government.

This month's cover story, "Government at the grass roots," shows e-government

at its most mundane and most exciting. It's the story of how leaders in

Rochester, N.Y., are using technology to involve more residents in city

planning. It sounds prosaic, but it's not.

This is a case of government changing how it governs. Rochester officials

did not set out to develop an e-government application. They just wanted

to give people a stronger voice in city government; the technology itself

was a secondary concern. That is e-government at its best, which is why

we thought it was appropriate for this first issue.

Please let us know how you like the new magazine.

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