Notes From the Field

Notes From the Field

by / July 31, 1997 0
TO THE EDITOR
I have been receiving Government Technology for a few months and feel the necessity to write to you at this time. I find your publication very interesting and useful to me as a mayor of a small city. The articles touch on many of the wide variety of issues that challenge us today, as we attempt to keep up with the changes in technology, legislation and the market.

We are struggling with the reality that the small cities no longer enjoy a monopoly of providing services to our citizens. We must update our processes, revise our philosophy to that of providing service and become the low-cost provider of services to our citizens in order to stay in business.

The articles in your publication encourage us to open our perspective, broaden our horizons and be better prepared to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. You are successful in your endeavor.

Thank you for an excellent publication. I wish you the best for your continued success in the future.

Leonard E. Sanderson
Mayor
City of Milton, Wash.


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RIFKIN
Jeremy Rifkin [Government Technology, May 1997] points out that we are moving into the Information Age, but in the very next breath he predicts the demise of the original information workers, librarians. I see many challenges and opportunities ahead for librarians. Technology has made more information than ever directly available, but the variety and complexity of the tools needed to search and access that information have also increased. I do not believe that these tools will ever become so perfect that they alone will meet the needs of all human researchers, nor do I believe that technology can replace the kind of assistance librarians offer.

Lynn E. Randall
State Law Librarian
Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library


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I am writing you in reference to the transcription of an interview with Jeremy Rifkin that ran in the May issue of Government Technology.

In the interview Mr. Rifkin commented that "if you are a bank teller or a librarian ... the chances are your job will not be here five years from now." I submit to Mr. Rifkin the traditional role of librarians has already disappeared.

Today, librarians in corporations, universities and government agencies all over the world are viewed as Information Professionals. They are individuals who understand information technologies and resources, and are able to translate information into strategic decisions. In fact, many of the most progressive organizations rely on their corporate librarians to take part in decision-making.

Technology may soon eliminate the need for humans to shelve books at the local library, but librarians will use the same technology to gather, manipulate and disseminate information for many years to come.

Jennifer Stowe
Director, Public Relations
Special Libraries Association


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DIGITAL SIGNATURES
This e-mail is in reference to the article entitled "Georgia Passes Digital Signature Law" in the June 1997 edition of Government Technology. The commonwealth of Virginia, in addition to the other states named in your article, passed a Digital Signature Law of its own -- Senate Bill 923. The bill was approved by the governor of Virginia on April 19 , 1997. It becomes effective July 1, 1997. SB 923 was modeled on the current Massachusetts Digital Signature Law and can be found in its full text by accessing the Virginia General Assembly home page at .

John Cunningham
Research Assistant
Virginia General Assembly
Division of Legislative Services


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An article in your June 1997 issue (Georgia Passes Digital Signature Law, p.10) reported that Georgia recently passed digital signature legislation, "joining states like Utah, California and Delaware" in such
efforts.

I note with some disappointment that your article did not list Washington among "the small but growing group of innovative states" developing legal structures and technical applications for digital signatures. In fact, in 1996, Washington became one of the first states to pass digital signature legislation, and just this year Gov. Gary Locke signed new legislation addressing further such matters as certification of key pairs and liability for loss, theft or fraud.

The Washington State Department of Information Services (DIS) is currently working with Secretary of State Ralph Munro and others to establish implementing regulations by January 1, 1998. Already, DIS has used digital signature technology to conduct a mock election pilot project, improve building and campus security, and develop electronic tax filing systems. We see digital signatures as a key to improving government service in many other areas, as well, and believe that our work so far in developing a legal framework for digital signatures effectively positions Washington to make such improvements a reality.

We are very proud of the work we have done, and hope that in the future you will recognize Washington state as a pioneer and leader in this important area.

Todd Sander
Deputy Director
Department of Information Services
Olympia, Wash.

Letters to the editor may be faxed to (916) 932-1470, or sent via e-mail to: mfusiler@govtech.net. Please list your telephone number for confirmation. Publication is solely at the discretion of the editors. Government Technology reserves the right to edit submissions for length.




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