Alumni Short

A Global Summer for CeRI

Ithaca, NEW YORK, July 23, 2012


This summer the researchers of CeRI (the Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative) presented work, exchanged ideas, and received honors in a host of fora, both stateside and abroad. The variety of engagements filling CeRI’s dance card reflects the global significance of the initiative’s work to connect citizens and their governments through new technologies.

At the 13th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research, held at the University of Maryland in June, CeRI Executive Director Mary Newhart and Cornell Computer Science PhD candidate Joonsuk Park presented early findings on automating online moderation, and e-Government Fellows Josiah Heidt’11 and Jackeline Solivan’12 presented CeRI’s Regulation Room through a poster session. Conference attendees voted Regulation Room to be the best ongoing project.

Later that month, Heidt and the University of Barcelona’s Joan-Josep Vallbé, a former visiting scholar at Cornell Law’s Legal Information Institute (LII), presented on Regulation Room at the European Conference on e-Government, in Barcelona. And in early July, at the 7th International Conference on Interpretive Policy Analysis in Tillberg, the Netherlands, CeRI post-doctoral researcher Dima Epstein presented a paper on new Regulation Room-based research into how lay commentators aid policy experts by contributing “situated knowledge.”

“E-government work is truly a global research community,” says Cynthia R. Farina, faculty director of the Regulation Room project. Farina, one of 100 researchers from a dozen countries invited to the prestigious Google Faculty Summit in Palo Alto later this month, continues: “Discovering how to use new technologies to create effective two-way information flows between government policymakers and citizens has become a priority for developed and developing nations alike. It’s an exciting time to be working on interesting research problems that have immediate real-world applications.”

CeRI, which brings together faculty and students from the Law School, the Computing and Information Science departments, and the Scheinmann Institute for Conflict Resolution, as well as the legal informatics professionals at LII, seeks to improve citizen participation in government rulemaking using a pilot online platform called Regulation Room. The site enables visitors to learn about, discuss, and react to selected regulations proposed by federal agencies.

-- Owen Lubozynski