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On the New Books Shelf

Public Administration Bibliographer Richard Irving recommends a new book about collaborative government: Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful. The title may be somewhat misleading; this is not a book that describes how to make a publicly editable wiki page (like Wikipedia) for government. Instead, Noveck uses the term “wiki��? in a more general sense of using Web 2.0 technologies to bring the public into government decision-making processes.

Noveck, the Director of the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York University, spearheaded an effort to bring such collaboration into the patent approval process. Instead of having a single reviewer approve and grant a patent, Noveck suggested that the US Patent and Trade Office ask the public to review and provide information about patent applications. The result is the successful Peer to Patent program, which encourages volunteers from the public to join collaborative teams who put together research and information on pending applications.

Noveck then uses the example of the successful patent evaluation program to demonstrate how public involvement and collaborative strategies can be used to enhance citizen participation and democratic involvement in a wider array of government dealings. As Noveck states in her preface, using these collaborative techniques can “strengthen and deepen democracy by creating government by the people, of the people and with the people (xvi).��?

Wiki Government can be found on the Dewey Library New Books Shelf, located behind the slide show monitor and next to the color printer. Check it out today!

Noveck, Beth Simone (2009) Wiki government: how technology can make government better, democracy stronger, and citizens more powerful. Washington, DC: Beth Simone Noveck. [Dewey Library: JK 1764 N68 2009].