Page stewards: Aldo de Moor, Larry Stillman

About the CIRN Commons

The wiki-based CIRN Commons is to be one of the main resources of the CIRN community, next to the annual Prato conference and the Journal of Community Informatics. It is the successor to the site, and should contain a dynamic knowledge repository necessary for Community Informatics research and practice to be done more effectively and efficiently. Basically, anything that any community member things relevant for somebody in the community is relevant. Check out the announcement about the launch for more background. As our community grows, its set of knowledge resources will grow as well. Using this wiki as its main tool, we can ensure that the workload and ownership of the commons is distributed fairly. Please do your bit and see how you can get involved.

About CIRN

The Community Informatics Research Network (CIRN) is an international network of researchers, practitioners and policy makers concerned with enabling communities through the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) and specifically with research and practice in Community Informatics and community networking or community technology practice.

About Community Informatics

Community Informatics lies at the intersection between multi-leveled two cross-roads: bringing together people concerned with electronically enabling communities: local, virtual and communities of practice; and structuring collaborations between researchers and practitioners, including industry, in these three domains. Of particular importance is the development of productive relationships with communities that engage their talents and interests in a way that does not involve technological determinism or colonialism by stealth. However, not all communities share the same interests, have the same skills, or are interested in the same outcomes, particularly in solving the disputed territory that is called the Digital Divide. A good overview of community informatics issues can be found at the Wikipediaentry to which many people have contributed over the years.

Gurstein speaks of 'effective use' of technologies in and for communities in Community Informatics, but this metaphor still requires clarification. What is meant by effective? What is meant by use? These are not just rhetorical questions but issues which cut to the core of how and what sense people with different interests make of the opportunities and constraints that are offered by different devices and network affordances, depending on different relationships structured by power, language norms, control of resources and technical capacities (including design) in particular situations. In everyday practice and in theoretical work, those who work with Community Informatics aspire to have a high level of awareness of such issues in order to bring about positive social change, as best determined by a community.