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CIRN Prato Community Informatics Conference 2012

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Non-refereed paper/practitioner report

ADRIA, Marco (University of Alberta, Canada); MITCHELL, David (University of Calgary, Canada)

Public deliberation for policy development using the community-informatics paradigm



Public participation in decision-making is becoming an important area of research and practice. Citizens have expressed frustration that they lack the ability to influence policies, legislation, and practices that affect their lives directly. Decision-makers in public and private institutions and organizations have responded in measured and effective ways – measured in that public involvement opportunities must be well-researched and tested; effective in that people must perceive that they are heard and that their views have been taken into account, and ultimately effective in that decision-making is facilitated and enhanced. Pioneers in the use of public-deliberation methods in communities include Porto Alegre in Brazil and the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform in British Columbia, Canada. This paper assesses a public-involvement process designed to support the development and approval of an urban food policy in a major Canadian city. Public deliberation in small citizen groups combined with social media tools were used to support the development of policy recommendations. The five characteristics of public deliberation in comparison with other public consultations and discourses will be considered in the paper. First, unlike other forms of public participation, public deliberation is characterized by an intentional articulation with change in public policy. Second, in contrast with many forms of public consultation, public deliberation requires a systematic selection of participants to achieve a reliable representation of society. Third, public deliberation calls for a formal distribution of speaking opportunities, which is in contrast with the practices associated with public forums. Fourth, processes of public deliberation emphasize mutual respect among participants and between the citizenry and legislators, which can be difficult to achieve in less systematic modes of public consultation. Finally, private or public broadcasters, combined with social media, are commonly engaged in a long-term, collaborative relationship with organizers of public-deliberation events to broadcast proceedings and disseminate information about outcomes, in order to assist citizens in learning about and contributing to public policy. The requirements for a legitimate and effective public-deliberation process will be assessed in the context of the project. Lessons learned will be identified for extending public-deliberation methods in communities in Canada and internationally, using the paradigm and network of community informatics theory, methods, and practices.

PhD Paper

ANWAR, Misita (Monash University, Australia)

‘We Can Do Preaching [Dakwah] Over the Phone’: the impact of mobile phones on women micro-entrepreneurs in an Indonesian religious community



This paper will discuss the impact of mobile phones on the lives of women micro-entrepreneurs within a religious community in Indonesia. It is part of a larger study about the impact of mobile phones on the well-being of micro-entrepreneurs in Indonesia. Using the Capability Approach as an evaluation framework, the paper will work from first identifying what are the most important achievements as perceived by participants in this study, then reflecting back on how mobile phones can help them to achieve these valuable capabilities. It will explore the use of mobile phones in facilitating and enabling religious activities and supporting women in running their businesses, while at the same time adhering to their religious way of life.

Refereed Papers

ARNOLD, Patricia (University of Applied Sciences Munich, Germany)

Open Educational Resources: the Way to Go or “Mission Impossible” in (German) Higher Education?



The concept of “Open Educational Resources (OER)“ provides a powerful idea and a strong ideal for innovation in education with particular appeal to higher education. OER, simply stated, refer to all educational materials, like learning resources, technologies and structures that are easily accessible, with low or no barriers in terms of costs, technology or license fees and royalties. Moreover, the concept of OER entails the idea that a worldwide community can share, re-mix, advance and build upon existing learning and teaching material. Thus learners all over the world can select their learning resources from a broad variety of materials and access to education is enhanced. For teachers, the burden of designing a “101” course in any discipline over and over again is reduced. Released “energy” can be put into contextualizing and adapting already available materials for one’s own special context and adding one’s own expertise, thus advancing the materials in scope and quality.

Of course, looking at OER in more detail will reveal competing definitions and less-clearly-circumscribed understandings of what belongs to OER and what does not. But if we leave these rather “technical questions” aside, a much more relevant question appears: why is so little of the potential of OER in fact realized? There are a few successful operating initiatives, such as MIT’s OpenCourseWare, the Open University’s Learning Spaces, or OER Africa by the South African Institute for Distance Education, but the great promise of OER to make access to higher education more equitable and to especially enhance higher education in developing countries is far from realized on a larger scale. Quite the contrary, OER seems to be a strong ideal which somehow loses its strengths when it comes to actual implementation. Suddenly, barriers and obstacles appear nearly insurmountable: from the “not invented here”-syndrome to incompatible systems of copyright regulations and missing, viable business models – more often than not the ideal of OER seems to clash with academic cultures and reward systems.

This paper will start by taking stock of OER initiatives worldwide and review their successes as well as current obstacles and hurdles to overcome, according to recent research findings.

In a second step, it will investigate the particular situation of German higher education as regards OER. German higher education, taking part in the Bologna process, thus striving for a unified higher education area, could be an ideal arena for OER initiatives, at least at a European level. But successful OER repositories in Germany are scarce – the whole “opening process” of higher education seems tedious and appears not to be very successful. Which factors make the “reality check” for OER in Germany so difficult? What are the impediments; where are the “gremlins” at work? And which solutions have been developed successfully so far? This paper will tackle these questions in detail and unpack the complex situation German higher education institutions operate in: rhetorically, they endorse openness, yet governance structures and academic cultures seem to not be conducive for the “opening up” process and even generate resistance to it.

In the third part, a case study of the difficulties of only sharing learning resources and virtual courses within a network of Bavarian higher education institutes (Bavarian Virtual University) will provide some valuable insights to the hidden forces at work at a fine-grained level.

PhD Paper

BAYO, Ivette (University of Washington, United States of America); ANGOTTI, Robin (University of Washington, United States of America)

Making Kinections: Using video game technology to teach math



News reports and educational critics describe out-of-date teaching practices as a significant reason for educational malaise and call for significant reforms in education. Drawing from Community Informatics literature, technology can be a vehicle to empower and engage students. This paper presents a participatory approach to curriculum design, involving teachers to explore creative ways to integrate video games in math teaching. Researchers worked alongside high school teacher in WA state (USA), in an attempt to determine different ways in which technology could be used to empower and engage both students and teachers alike. By utilizing teachers’ skills and improvisation in developing, testing and refining curriculum, this study describes how Kinect gaming system and off-the-shelf video games might be used to enhance mathematics education. Data sources included teacher feedback from focus groups, teacher beliefs regarding classroom engagement, and issues faced with implementation. This paper presents a novel approach to technology adoption through games for math education.

Refereed Papers

BESSER, Kelly (UCLA Library, United States of America)

Building a Transgender Living Community Archives in Los Angeles, California



Between 1959 and 1969, transgender women of color fought for their lives against police abuse during riots in Los Angeles at Cooper’s Donuts, in San Francisco at Compton’s Cafeteria and in New York at The Stonewall Inn. Despite evidence that Stonewall was not the first moment of transgender resistance against police abuse, the Stonewall riots are what are remembered today, and are enshrined as the point when gay pride began, the birthplace of America’s modern gay liberation movement. This historical revisionism found within LGBT archives demonstrates how records and memory interact to displace and depoliticize transgendered bodies.

Over the last two years we have been creating the foundation for a transgender living archives to build documentation of the experiences of transgendered stories and struggles. Our project engages the transformative educational potential of the archives to record, remember and reinvent the worlds we dream possible in memory of our collective histories of resistance. This presentation will discuss the ethical imperative for the creation of the archives, report on the stewardship of holdings within a physical and virtual distributed network model and also address the challenges of marginalized communities working within non-traditional archives.

Refereed Papers

BYTHEWAY, Andrew J (Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa); BLADERGROEN, Moira (University of Capetown, South Africa)

Managing Information Technology in Education: Planning or Improvisation?



Recent analysis of the management of educational technologies in South African education suggests strongly that there is only limited strategic thinking that might guide policy makers, school principals, teachers, learners, and suppliers of educational technologies. It is clear that here, as elsewhere, the practice of technology-mediated education is driven more by the available technologies than by actual learner needs and the wider national imperative.

It is generally agreed that the implementation of educational technologies in South Africa lags behind other international practice and that there are still lessons to be learned from more successful experiences elsewhere. With more than ten years' experience of educational technology in South Africa, it can therefore be argued that it is now high time to take careful stock of the strategic opportunities that are evident, and to focus the investment of time, money and effort that will finally bring significant benefits to learners and to other key stakeholders by understanding and adopting international best practice.

This paper reports on and analyses conversations with eight international education professionals in Europe, Canada, the USA, New Zealand and Australia. All are managing the impact of technology in different ways (reactive and pro-active), at different levels (pre-primary through to senior-citizen), in different roles (teachers, administrators and senior managers), and in different contexts (schools and universities).

A critical analysis of the conversational content reveals that success is not derived from the technology, but by a full and proper understanding of the needs and aspirations of those who are directly involved in educational processes, and by means of a managerial focus that properly recognises the need to _improvise_ at the same time that _plans_ are used to communicate with all who are involved. Whilst this result might be expected, the detailed analysis of the findings further reveals the need to manage investments in educational technologies at several different levels and in different ways, so as to take much more careful account of the particular needs of South Africa.

The results from this study are providing foundations for a critical, systemic meta-study of the management of information and communications technology in South African education.

PhD Paper


·         Best PhD Presentation

CACHOLA, Ellen-Rae (University of California Los Angeles, United States of America)

Fashion Shows as Community Archives: Generating Peace and Security from the Ground Up



The wider society may not realize that community organizations have archival records. Records creation, preservation, management and access are also parts of community organizational activity that fulfil their long and short term goals. Although they may not have the resources to create climate controlled, high security archives, such as academic archives, government archives or established heritage institutions, communities find ways to get their message across to the wider public. Archivists working with activist communities should understand the issues that they are grappling with, and identify the records creation systems and structures through which communities research, produce and disseminate their knowledge to solve problems.

My presentation will draw from a chapter in my dissertation about the archival practices of the International Women's Network Against Militarism (IWNAM), a network of women from organizations in S. Korea, Okinawa, Philippines, Guam, Australia, Marshall Islands, Hawai'i, West Coast U.S., Puerto Rico and Vieques. I will discuss how fashion shows serve as an archival memory system for U.S. and Hawai'i based partners of the IWNAM. First, I will discuss the IWNAM's long term visions. Second, I will trace the administrative information of the fashion shows to understand the genealogies of organizations that have contributed to articulating, preserving and passing on the history and philosophy of genuine security of the IWNAM, and how this philosophy is articulated within U.S. and Hawaii based contexts. Third, I will trace the types of records that can be found in and through the productions of the fashion shows. Fourth, I will analyze the content of particular records, to articulate how militarism is contextualized and resisted in U.S. and Hawaii based contexts. Lastly, I will explain how these fashion shows are “complex adaptive archival systems” because their production process brings together the stories of people who live in and resist their militarized contexts. Fashion shows facilitate group learning, development and co-evolution of strategy building for communities who organize locally and internationally for genuine peace and security. My research is significant because it describes an alternative organizational model for community archiving that is dynamic and mobile, and facilitates continuity and emergence of knowledge.

Works in progress and more speculative pieces

COPELAND, Sarah (Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom)

Daffodil terrorism: The dangers of homogenised storytelling





In communities of place, the relative strength of ties between residents can enable the homogenous views of those who fit the mould to smother alternative voices. This dominance of voice of the few and subsequent perception of the many allows certain undesirable behaviours to be validated; in this dystopian narrative the dark side of communities of place can be observed. One villager's tedium-fuelled frustration is another villager's terrorism. This paper examines an intervention that has set out to address such a scenario where inter-generational neighbours do not share an equal voice at a local level. A case study was established to investigate technology-led participatory techniques in a defined rural region in the UK as a community informatics intervention. In seeking a technology-mediated process where the everyday narrative is afforded equal platform across a mixed group, the technique of digital storytelling was identified as an appropriate method in this bottom-up community informatics approach. An analysis of the Community Digital Storytelling method employed recommends a matrix approach where other intervention techniques can be appended to maximise potential for social justice. Through community storytelling, these shared perspectives will, perhaps, allow future petty misdemeanours to be better understood in the context of unequal lived experiences, particularly in the case of a few destroyed daffodils.


CRAIG, Barbara (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

The journey-- Challenging the one-size fits all approach: responding to community needs and interests

Refereed Papers

CRAIG, Barbara (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand;
UNESCO NZ Communications Sub-Commission;
National 2020 Communications Trust)

Digital literacy and digital inclusion: flexible, open learning opportunities

This paper will examine two digital literacy projects (Computers in Homes and Stepping Up) in New Zealand that work with adult learners in remote and/or low socio-economic communities. Digital inclusion goes beyond access to computers and broadband: all citizens require the skills and confidence to be digitally literate participatory citizens. Discussion will focus on the philosophical stance and values underlying the curriculum approach of these digital literacy initiatives tailored to fit community needs. These communities often have a different philosophical base from that of formal education providers or social policy providers. Teaching and learning in these projects is best characterised as community-based, learner-centered, flexible, with no formal assessment or requirements beyond attendance. The approach has been informed by the key themes derived from participant stories of previous education journeys and adapted or “made-up” over time as different situations emerged in new communities. As such this kind of approach flies in the face of formal education that values competition, individual assessment and certification. It is a fact that those learners who engage and succeed in these two digital literacy initiatives are the very learners who ‘failed’ in their early years struggling in this formal, standardised, sorting and accrediting curriculum approach. This paper argues that those involved in creating this alternative approach are not taking an “anti-theoretical ” position against the now very considerable research literature on learning theory. If all citizens are to be digitally included in New Zealand’s cultural and economic future then those who are currently ‘excluded’ (from employment and other advantages and who failed in formal schooling) need to learn in in an environment that understands their needs and situations.

This paper will analyse the curriculum approach of these digital literacy projects within the framework of an early New Zealand education pioneer, Sylvia Ashton Warner, who developed a reading scheme for Maori children who were failing in schools in the 1960s in the very same communities that Computers in Homes and Stepping Up operate in today. It also considers Russell Bishop’s concept of whanaungatanga learning with the concept of a group working together and through shared experiences develop a sense of belonging in a community. This framework is key given that two-thirds of the learners in these digital literacy projects are Maori. The paper will argue that even the bricoleur will find that others have gone before us with the same motivations and ideals. Other theory will be brought in as an analytical framework.

The paper is based on video interviews between March and May, 2012, with current students and past graduates from these programmes in four diverse communities and with their trainers and community coordinators. The stories told in these interviews focus on their experiences of the digital literacy training and the pathways followed. These digitally produced narratives become community resources for digital inclusion.

Refereed Papers

DE MOOR, Aldo (CommunitySense, The Netherlands)

Towards Sheltered Communication Systems Design: A Socio-Technical Perspective



Social media are powerful conversation technologies. However, exactly how social media afford and constrain complex social requirements in collaborative communities is still ill-understood. One of these requirements concerns the need for sheltered communication systems: systems that support and interlink spheres of stakeholder communication with different required degrees of opacity. We introduce our Socio-Technical Conversation Context Framework as a way to analyze and design such complex socio-technical communication systems. We use collaboration patterns grounded in this framework as conceptual building blocks to capture design lessons learnt about matching community requirements with enabling tool functionalities. We illustrate the approach with the “sheltered communications” lessons learnt in a Dutch case of developing an e-learning tool system for students with physical and mental limitations.

Refereed Papers

DENISON, Tom (Monash University, Australia); MCKEMMISH, Sue (Monash University, Australia); WAUGH, Andrew (Public Record Office of Victoria); EADES, Jason (tbc)

The Koorie Archival System: Reconciling the official record with community knowledge



Within Victoria, archival sources of Koorie knowledge and information, essential for identity, memory, family link-ups, community regeneration and land claims, are fragmented and dispersed. Building on the foundation of prior collaborations and the relationships built with Koorie communities over many years, the Koorie Heritage Trust, the Public Records Office of Victoria and Monash University, collaborated to develop the Koorie Archival System (KAS).

KAS was designed as a demonstrator of a socially inclusive approach to archiving, which could:

• source, bring together, integrate, preserve, and make accessible existing records relating to Koorie communities, families and individuals from government, community and personal sources.

• cater for content in many different forms and media, including official written records, oral testimony, records of Koorie organizations, family and personal records, photographs, audio and video recordings, and so on.

• enable controls and protocols to be negotiated and established that respect Koorie community, family and individual rights in records, and requirements relating to the preservation, storage, accessibility and use of the content of the cloud archive, including requirements relating to differentiated access.

• provide a mechanism for annotations that interpret, correct, or provide context for information content sourced from official records, involving a fundamental rethinking of how government archives present the information they contain to communities.

KAS was also intended to illustrate how collaborative technologies could support creative and innovative partnerships between archival institutions and communities, to build and manage richer archival resources that reflect multiple perspectives of history.

This paper reflects on the experience of developing KAS, and the issues raised, with a view to guiding future development.

Refereed Papers

FARINOSI, Manuela (Department of Human Sciences, University of Udine - Italy); FORTUNATI, Leopoldina (Department of Human Sciences, University of Udine - Italy)

The role of the Internet and the urban knitting movement



The aim of this paper is to analyze the fundamental role that blogs and the social network Facebook have played inside the urban knitting movement. This movement represents a worldwide phenomenon that tries to put together a domestic activity, the street or folk art, the reshaping of do-it-yourself culture art with peaceful forms of feminine urban guerrilla protest. The urban knitting activists employ colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth to enhance, beautify, personalize and gentrify abandoned public places. The urban knitting movement, as many others, uses the Internet to share knowledge on techniques and experiences, to organize collective actions, to record and document their creations, and to upload and spread them. This contribution is focused on a urban knitting project, an action - called “Mettiamoci una pezza” (“Let’s patch it”) and realized in L’Aquila (Italy) three years after the earthquake in order to “dress up” the main square, covering the gray metal barricades that still block the entrance of the citizens to some areas of the city center and add a sprinkle of color and warmth to the devastated city. We studied this movement in an ethnographic way by applying a qualitative content analysis of the online materials produced by the activists and non participative observation of this event in L’Aquila in order to investigate the role of the Net in this original and creative kind of collective action. Our research shows how through an intense use of the Internet this movement has been able to promote very complex and meaningful political initiatives.

Non-refereed paper/practitioner report

GAMAGE, Premila (Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka)

Reflective Practice in Digital Story-telling: Two case studies from Sri Lanka



We all like to hear stories as well as tell stories. This perceived human need to tell stories has been used throughout history and by all cultures to share experiences. Storytelling has played a powerful role throughout the ages both as a means for transmitting knowledge and experience and creating it. With the advent of new digital technologies, this old tradition combined with new skills emerged as ‘digital storytelling’ (DST).

This paper explores the perceived usefulness of DSTs by communities as a means of social commentary and self-expression. DST technique was used as a tool to provide opportunities for the communities to express themselves on a range of issues identified as important by them. Two workshops were held in two rural locations in Sri Lanka to introduce the DST concept and the ‘Reflective Practice of DST’ method was used to conduct the workshops. Paper reports that communities viewed DSTs as an effective tool that could be used to demonstrate their self-expression as well as issues and events in the community. Further, communities saw DST as a medium that had the potential to empower communities by making their unheard voices heard by policy makers and local authorities. Paper also identifies the critical issues relating to the potential future use of DST.

Refereed Papers

GOMEZ, Ricardo (University of Washington, United States of America); BAYO, Ivette (University of Washington, United States of America); BARBA, Monica (University of Washington, United States of America)

Better Learning Opportunities through Public Access Computing



This paper discusses how users of Public Access Computing (PAC) in developing countries gain new opportunities for education and lifelong learning. Through a study of libraries, telecenters and cybercafés in Colombia, South America, we discuss users’ perceptions of better learning opportunities in formal and informal learning, their perception of “being modern” and not being left behind in the world, as well as the new opportunities for acquisition of basic technology skills. The study is based on results of surveys, interviews and focus groups, combining qualitative and quantitative data gathered in five regions of the South American country during 2010. In addition, a content analysis of the published papers and conference proceedings with the theme of education in the ICTD field from 2000 through 2010 is used to corroborate and contrast the empirical findings in Colombia. This paper contributes novel understanding of the contribution of public access computing to education and learning in developing countries.

Refereed Papers

HORELLI, Liisa (Aalto University, School of Engineering, Finland); SAAD-SULONEN, Joanna (Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Finland); WALLIN, Sirkku (Aalto University, School of Engineering, Finland)

Community Informatics and Participatory E-Planning in the Glocal Context




Our research group “Participatory local community” (Palco) presented three years ago, at the Prato conference, our first paper on CI and urban planning. Since then, we have continued to conduct research on, with and by communities in which CI is being applied.

As our research has produced a set of varying results and concepts around the use of CI, we wished to conduct a meta-analysis of our work by asking, what consequences does CI have for urban planning and its connection to everyday life and the community. The aim of this article is to present and discuss the results of the meta-analysis of the various case studies and publications we have produced during the last two years. We argue that community informatics contributes to the transformation of urban planning into participatory e-planning, which in turn, enhances the possibility to deal with the increasingly glocal context of everyday life.

Non-refereed paper/practitioner report

LASTRA, Sarai (Turabo University, Puerto Rico (U.S.)

Listening to Many Voices: Designing a Digital Preservation System for the Pedro Rosselló Gubernatorial Library and Museum



In 2011, Universidad del Turabo (UT) began a special project dedicated to building both a digital and physical library-museum for Puerto Rico’s former Governor, Dr. Pedro Rosselló González. Rosselló held the office for eight years and Universidad del Turabo is the permanent legal repository for his documents, artifacts, gifts of state, museum objects and other materials that relate to the former governor’s life and career. The library-museum contains 1.5 million documents 25,000 audios, 16,000 videos, 503 books and, approximately, 1,378 artifacts. This work in progress will focus on the challenges faced when designing a digital preservation system using a framework that embraces many stakeholders, from library administrators to archivists to IT workers to digitization vendors.

Refereed Papers

LOTRIET, Hugo Hendrik (University of South Africa, South Africa)

Not bricolage alone



After decades of use the notion of ‘bricolage’ still is popular in the various branches of Information Systems (IS) research, including Community Informatics (CI). This paper examines the role of the CI researcher and argues that, going back to the original notions of Lévi-Strauss, the idea of CI researcher as bricoleur raises various issues. Whereas the original concept as employed by Lévi-Strauss is quite powerful in terms of conveying his arguments about knowledge, the way in which the concept has been adopted into the various IS domains (including CI) has resulted in its use becoming reduced in scope and meaning compared to the original. However, applying the more powerful original concepts to the role of the CI researcher results in the connection between ‘CI researcher’ and ‘bricoleur’ becoming problematic. This paper discusses the extent to which the notion of bricolage enhances and limits understanding of the role of the CI researcher and examines how the other metaphors introduced by Lévi-Strauss in conjunction with the notion of bricoleur (i.e. ‘craftsman, ‘artist’, ‘scientist’ and ‘engineer’) provide a more complete understanding of the relationships between the CI researcher, knowledge and practice.

Refereed Papers

MARAIS, Mario (CSIR Meraka Institute, South Africa)

An overview of the role of social capital in development processes



The sustainability of ICT for Development (ICT4D) initiatives, and indeed any development initiative, depends on many different factors that has been summarised in terms of financial, social, institutional, technological, and environmental sustainability. This complexity has led to researchers suggesting bricolage approaches that try to make do with the resources at hand, improvise and muddle through to develop local and contextual solutions. An important factor in this kind of approach is the role of relationships, particularly as evidenced in social networks of contact consisting of strong and weak ties, that has been called social capital and linking or bridging capital. The concept of social capital has been shown to influence many different processes in development. In the use of resources the capability approach refers to the influence of social capital on the conversion of commodities, technologies and resources by a person into situated use. The adoption of an innovation is also influenced by social capital, especially via the important role that is played by trust. In the design of development interventions, various types of theories of change have been articulated and the role of social capital in some of these theories is investigated. This paper aims to summarise and analyse the influence of social capital on development processes as seen from the different perspectives mentioned. In terms of development, a fundamental insight is that social capital plays a role in mediating development outcomes through embedded and autonomous social relations that can resolve social problems at macro and micro levels. Social capital also consists in crucial cross-level linkages that need to exist to enable top-down initiatives to meet bottom-up development.

Non-refereed paper/practitioner report

MCKEMMISH, Sue McKemmish (Monash University, Australia); GILLILAND, Anne Gilliland (UCLA); WARTENBE, Michael Wartenbe (UCLA); BESSER, Kelly Besser (UCLA Library)

Information and Memory Infrastructure Development: A workshop summary


Workshop announcement (PDF)

Voice, Identity, Activism Framework –VIA (PDF)

 Besser-see above under Besser.

McKemmish PDF


We summarize here the outcomes of the workshop held on Tuesday.

Recordkeeping and archiving are fundamental infrastructural components supporting community information, self-knowledge and memory needs, thus contributing to resilient communities and cultures and pan- or trans-community endeavors.

With a particular focus on Indigenous, LGBTI, im/migrant and refugee communities, this workshop will address how decolonized and community-centric recordkeeping and archival research, education and practice might empower communities in support of such desirable objectives as democracy, human and civil rights, self-determination, sustainable development, and social inclusion.

Refereed Papers

MISRA, Harekrishna (Institute of Rural Management Anand, India); PANIGRAHI, Sanjay (Srei Sahaj e-Village Ltd.)

Managing Citizen Access for Better E-Governance in Indian Context: An Architectural Approach




Case Study PDF

Indian E-Governance systems are in the phase of consolidation. However, there are instances of architectural misfit across al the layers of governance. This paper aims to present an architectural framework and examine scope for improvement. It also includes discussions on the areas of re-engineering the services to fit the architectural imperatives. The architectural framework suggests two types of architectures here. One is related to the organizational set up called organizational architecture (OA) and the other is information systems architecture (ISA). As regards OA, it considers India as an organization and it has three layers (National-strategic; States-Tactical and Villages- Operational). Each layer of OA is mapped to the ISA which also looks for three layers; “access”, “network/distribution” and “core”. Each layer is discussed below:

The operational layer in the organization is very critical since all the “transactions” occur in this layer. Databases generated to manage these transactions in this layer play a pivotal role. Event log management, tracking transaction owners (citizens/customers/internal employees/ other stakeholders like suppliers) and supporting their demands are deliveries in this layer. Information Systems Architecture (ISA) terms it as “access layer” and transforms the deliveries through “user interfaces” and the medium is “points of services” (PoS). For ISA, this is the vital layer since success of all backend services/infrastructure lies in this layer. Examples of such access layer are “Automated Teller Machine (ATM)” in banking systems, personal digital assistant (PDA) for dairy farmers and PDAs for bus route managers.

The tactical layer is the support structure for operational and strategic layers. This layer in the organization is mostly looked after by “domain experts” and their delivery is through a mix of explicit and tacit knowledge. They take care of all processes, rules and logics and are responsible for establishing standard operating procedures (SoPs) in order to manage the transactions successfully in the operational layer. Critical success factors in this layer include systems planning for aligning with organizational objectives, establishing inter-functional interface procedures and performance measurement standards. All the state level agencies and civil society constitute this layer of OA. ISA adequately considers all these attributes “network and distribution layer” aims to include them. Data warehouses, web applications, n-tier applications for databases with user centered designs are examples of this layer which are in fact designed for supporting access and core layers.

The strategic layer functions at the apex of the organization and establishes directions for functioning of the organization. It also looks after polices, long term plans and directs for achieving short term achievements while maintaining the link to its mission statement. For example Planning Commission (or any other agency to be discussed) may be in this layer. This layer needs to ensure that ultimate stakeholders (citizens/customers/shareholders) are benefited out of the organizational processes. Mostly these stakeholders are in operational layer. In ISA parlance, this layer engages in formulating IT strategy, IT acquisitions, and establishing the desired information infrastructure for the stakeholders. In generic terms the access layer becomes the platform for the distribution/network layer to perform as per policies and strategies formulated in the core layer.

With this framework, one case will be presented to showcase applicability of the architecture that would lead to process re-engineering in order to provide better services to the citizens.

Refereed Papers

MORAN, Heather (Centre for Community Mapping, Canada); MCGARRY, Fred Maurice (Centre for Community Mapping, Canada); COWAN, Donald (Computer Systems Group, University of Waterloo); MCCARTHY, Daniel (School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, University of Waterloo); KING, Clynt (Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation, Hagersville, Ontario)

Dreamcatcher, a First Nations Community Development Platform




Many political jurisdictions recognize that indigenous peoples have “rights” over the land they have occupied for many decades if not centuries. In Canada these rights have been ensconced through the Canadian Supreme Court decisions in the form of the Crown’s “duty to consult,” which means that any substantive change to an indigenous group’s traditional lands is governed by negotiation. These negotiations often result in settlements such as an impact and benefit agreement that can provide monetary and other forms of benefits to First Nations communities. For example, the agreement might include provisions for quotas for jobs for local, indigenous people, contracts for local, native businesses or other local economic development opportunities.

As “duty to consult,” regulation is based on relatively recent interpretations of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, federal, provincial and municipal governments are seized by ‘duty to consult’ regulation as it impacts on land use management and policy (such as municipal official plans) and the development of infrastructure (such as roads and pipelines). Similarly natural resource exploitation industries (mining, energy, forestry, fishing) are seized by ‘duty to consult’ and environmental assessment regulation. Responsibility for their failure to adequately consult falls to the Crown. Currently, roughly $200 Billion in planned Canadian infrastructure and resource extraction projects are delayed by duty to consult’ regulation in the absence of organized First Nations land use constraint information and supporting consultation services.

This paper will describe a community context research project that brings together the Centre for Community Mapping (COMAP), a not-for-profit provider of software as a service, the Computer Systems Group (CSGUW) and the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development of the University of Waterloo with Ontario aboriginal communities, including the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and Fort Albany First Nation in Ontario, with First Nations technology support organizations in Ontario and British Columbia.

COMAP is developing a software platform called Dreamcatcher using the Web Informatics Development Environment (WIDE), a toolkit created by CSGUW for the development of web and mobile applications. The project will advance services and set out a business model whereby Dreamcatcher will provide an interface for consultation with First Nations by governments and resource industries that is monetized on a per-access basis. The system will off greater clarity and facility in FN land use negotiations for crown and resource industry proponents in exchange for extensive web and mobile FN community services and potentially impact and benefit agreements. It is proposed that revenue from crown and resource industry proponents will pay the cost of the secure hosting and background software, the operations of regional First Nations technology council for-profits and their FN services, including: current cultural and community mapping, community economic development and land use management consultation and future water management, asset management, ecosystem monitoring, and public health services.

Works in progress and more speculative pieces

NEWMAN, Lareen Ann (Flinders University - Southgate Institute for Health Society & Equity, Australia)

Digital Impact Assessment: a new way to identify communications change impacts on community access to services

This paper will present work in progress from South Australia which, through bricolage, is drawing together concepts from public health and community informatics. It is developing theory and method to identify the impact of increasing use of digital communications on community access to health services. This is particularly significant since assumptions of high community IT use which are leading organisations to move their communication flows online, yet usually with little understanding of whether this will improve or worsen community access (frequency, quality, timeliness, convenience, etc). In particular, the work takes a critical perspective to explore Graham (2002:54)’s argument of the need to “replace the ideas that ICTs are intrinsically liberating” with recognition of “the biases that are currently wrapped up in the ways in which a whole variety of cyberspaces are currently being constructed, largely by, and for, the more powerful”. This is important considering that data for 2010-11 show that Australians without a home Internet connection include 45% of households in the lowest income quintile, 26% of households in non-metropolitan areas, and 86% of remote Indigenous Australians, and with only 41% of older South Australians actually using the Internet (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011).

The work is also considering how to extend theories of health service access (eg Penchansky & Thomas 1981; Aday & Andersen 1975, 1981; Thiede 2007) which highlight factors of ‘accessibility’, ‘availability’, and ‘acceptability’, to explore where traditional and digital communications are positioned in this. Following Thiede, the work sees access as relating to interactions between the health system and the individual (the health system being the ‘supply side’ and encompassing aspects of service delivery and broader aspects such as financing, while the ‘demand side’ comprises individuals, households and communities who use this system). Particularly important is the idea that access is a dynamic interaction centring around the exchange of information and quality of communication between actors (Thiede 2007) and where both the system and the individual can make adaptions which improve (or undermine) this interaction (Ricketts & Goldsmith 2005).

Also in line with the bricolage concept, the work is borrowing from the internationally accepted method of Health Impact Assessment (which itself grew out of Environmental Impact Assessment) to see if an amended process - nominally termed Digital Impact Assessment - can be developed as a practical way to evaluate the influence of communications change on communities’ service access. To support this development, in late 2011 the work will include focus group research with communities, health service providers and policymakers in a case study of a government rural health service. Analysis will provide information on different groups’ perceptions of the significance for access of current communication channels and formats, as well as the extent to which the community’s and individuals’ resources and capabilities support (or not) successful IT use for communication with the service (the latter drawing on van Dijk’s 2005 work). The research will also seek to make transparent the underlying assumptions about how benefits and disadvantages are likely to accrue from the shift from traditional to digital communications for both services and communities. It will also identify ‘what communication channels and formats work for whom and in what context’, with the intention of informing policy and service design so that they can maximise effective and efficient access for the full range of groups in the community.

Workshop /Plenary proposals

PAOLINI, Paolo (Università  della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland); SABIESCU, Amalia Georgiana (Università  della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland)

Digital Platforms for Minority Voices

A growing body of research in community informatics looks at how ICTs can support minority cultures and in particular indigenous communities in their expression, knowledge production and communication practices. Some studies reckon that the employ of ICTs in minority contexts presents some inherent challenges, even foundational contradictions. This workshop explores some of these challenges, drawing on the experience of three researchers and practitioners that have worked with minorities in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. We discuss the benefits that minority communities are likely to reap from technology interventions, the role played by community responsible involvement and the conditions for autonomous management, and the tension between locality and universality in capturing, classifying, and communicating local content.


Tom Denison, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Tom will discuss issues relating to the digital repatriation of archival records using the example of the Koorie Archival System project, a collaboration between a government archive and an indigenous community, designed to reflect multiple perspectives of history.

Ann Milne, Kia Aroha College, Auckland, New Zealand

Ann will speak about culturally responsive research and indigenous education, focusing on the concept of 'kaitiakitanga' (guardianship) and the learning that the development of a Maori-centred learning model in a secondary school, provides for community informatics.

Amalia Sabiescu, Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland

Amalia will discuss the relations among voice, participation and visibility in community-based communication interventions, drawing on lessons learnt from a participatory project with rural Romani communities.

Refereed Papers

PARRA, Cristhian (Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science. University of Trento, Italy); D'ANDREA, Vincenzo (Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science. University of Trento, Italy); GIACOMIN, Giulia (Faculty of Sociology, University of Trento, Italy)

Enabling Community Participation of Senior Citizens through Participatory Design and ICT





In this paper, we summarize our experience in organizing a laboratory of ICT for senior citizens using a participatory design approach and with the goal of better understanding their relationship with technology. The starting research question was how could we engage elderly into an activity that is both enriching for them and for our ICT research, design and development efforts, all at the same time. Our goal was to avoid dealing with them as “research subjects”, rather inviting them to become “research collaborators” within an approach to research that is both inclusive and respectful. The first of such experiences is a “Laboratory of Technologies for Elderly”, designed and developed in a participatory manner and with the motivation of enabling them to reach out and share their experiences through the use of ICT, in particular, through the use of a Blog, which was chosen by the participants as one of the topics to learn during the lab. The Laboratory and subsequent Blog, still actively updated, have both served as means for enabling community participation and have provided us with important insights that will shape our future work in the field.

Refereed Papers


·         Best Refereed Conference Paper

RIGHI, Valeria (Interactive Technologies Group,  Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Barcelona, Spain); SAYAGO, Sergio (Digital Media Access Group School of Computing University of Dundee - Dundee, Scotland); BLAT, Josep (Interactive Technologies Group,  Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Barcelona, Spain)

Older people’s use of Social Network Sites while participating in local online communities from an ethnographical perspective




Social Networks Sites (SNS) are attracting a lot of public and academic interest. However, despite an increasing uptake of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) amongst the older population, very little is known about how older people use popular SNS, such as Facebook. We focus on older people’s use of SNS with the aim to gain an understanding on how SNS can be used to foster involvement of older people in online and offline local communities. We have conducted a 17-months ethnographical study with c.55 older people in a local physical community in Barcelona, Spain. We address the evolution of their interests in SNS and concerns over time, the type of their participation in online communities, and the importance of trust, together with the strategies they adopt to build trust online.

Refereed Papers

STILLMAN, Larry (Monash University, Australia); FRENCH, Rebecca (Monash University, Australia)

Beyond Interoperability: Data and Information Management in the Australian Community Sector



This paper examines how the issue of data interoperability is nested within the particular needs and culture of the community welfare sector in Australia, with a particular review of research activity conducted by the researchers in the State of Victoria Australia. The difficulties of reconciling traditionally narrow and technical view of interoperability with welfare values and practice is discussed.

Notwithstanding the difficulty, there are certain social-technical effects occurring, including what can be called an ‘informationalisation’ of welfare in response to the impact of ICTs on welfare practice. Other themes, such as the emergence of ‘data double’, the effects of mobility, and bricolage are also discussed as manifestations of the current changes, tensions and emergent symbioses between technical and welfare culture. Some suggestions are made for further action and investigation.

Refereed Papers

STRIZZOLO, Nicola (Università  degli Studi di Udine, Italy); BERTOLAZZI, Alessia (Università degli Studi di Macerata, Italy)

Requiem for the virtual communities Long life to the Social Networks!



Within a broader study, published in the book Drugs and Women, we conducted a research on the Internet, drugs and women. We have thus tried to go back to the same online communities explored for other research on drugs and the Internet, conducted 3 years ago.

However, among the 7 communities analysed, we have observed online that most of those active in 2009 have become extinct.

From the remaining websites and in those that have changed domain, various social media channels have been opened.

This may mean that the discussions have moved to external social networks, and that websites or parts of websites dedicated to forum and not to other services were closed. Only two websites still have a virtual community: the first one provides content, information and services, but also a lot of pornography, while the other one has the structure and functioning, in fact, completely identical to a social network based on user-generated content.

This seems to indicate the possible end of virtual communities as they were encoded by Rheingold [1994]. As already shown in the 2009 study, those who participate in discussion on a social network site could not perceive themselves as specific members of the community, but as users of social media that can provide them contact for other pages in which they intervene, to which they adhere or for which they click “I Like”. The user does not even have to looking for news or information but simply subscribe to the RSS feed to receive news on his custom web page or smartphone [Vergani 2009].

If the feeling of belonging disappears as geopolitical-identity phenomenon in more technologically integrated society, we might imagine that the same is happening to the "traditional" online communities.

Finally, we wonder if in the web it is occurring something like a passage from mechanical solidarity community to organic solidarity society.

Non-refereed Papers

THOMPSON, Steve (Teesside University, United Kingdom); BURTON, Patrick (Jack Drum Arts); WARD, Julie (Jack Drum Arts)

The Battle of Stanhope 1818. - A mix of planning, improvisation & adventure!



In September 2011 Jack Drum Arts (an arts collective based in rural North East England) was awarded Adult Community Learning Funding (ACLF) to help drive a consortium project to develop a community play. The story behind the play was of huge significance to the people who would become involved in it.

Six months later, when the play finally was performed in an agricultural shed converted into a theatre the Northern Echo said: _"TWO years will linger in the memory of Stanhope, County Durham – 1818 and 2012"_. 1818 is the date of the story that the play was based on and 2012 refers to the date that the journalist saw the performances. On the opening night Councillor Dennis Morgan, Chairman of Durham County Council, said: _"The community endeavour benefit of Drama in the Dale cannot be measured it must be counted as priceless."_

The project was a huge success in many ways. In bottom line terms the community play enjoyed 3 sold out nights. But there's more to it that that: several people made significant personal journeys, problems were surmounted, lasting bonds were forged and a story was told that participants have taken to their hearts.

At the CIRN conference 2011, Steve Thompson gave a short presentation about the project and spoke of the ambitions for it. The reality exceeded those early ideas and in particular the Community Informatics element was very well taken up, enriching the process, content, communication and learning. The project’s core ACLF funding did not fund Thompson’s role. The Community Informatics element was funded by an AHRC “Connected Communities project in partnership with Exeter University: “Issue Based Creative Clusters”(IBCC). This paper will tell the story of the community play from inception to performance and will seek to investigate what made it work and why.

Refereed Papers

TISHCHENKO, Victor (Institute for System Analyses of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation)

Cognitive maps of political virtual communities in RUNET



1. Trends of the methodology of cognitive maps as a diagram used to represent ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea.

2. Analysis of Web-sites of RUNET was concentrated on the conceptual system, both individual and collective subjects of political processes actualized during the election campaigns in December 2001 - March 2012. Even at first glance we can say about rapidly evolution (mutating) of ideas and values of the so-called «Off-system» opposition: Non-linearity; Weak structuring; Instability of the steady state; High dynamics and mobility subsystems.

3. Cognitive map of Web site of movement «White ribbon» (

Web-site offers Internet users a clear program of action, so the graphical model of a system of concepts can be transmitted conventionally represented as block diagrams. The authors of the texts appear to pose a problem in the community to collect the largest possible number of activists, therefore, propose an algorithm, following which any citizen of Russia can become a supporter of the non-partisan movement of "The White Ribbon."

4.Cognitive map of Web-site «League voters» ( Conceptual system of Web-site «League of voters» built around a central concept - honesty. The scope and meaning of this requirement shall not be disclosed and only intuitively suggests. Social fairness, based on the texts of the site, depends on the actions of civil society on several fronts, and are manifested in the concrete actions of individuals registered on the site and solidarity with the Declaration of the community.

5.Cognitive map of Web-site «Committees «10 December» ( Rather complex and mobile system has a key site of representations as "the Committee December 10» Its structure includes a relatively large number of sections, there is a note published many witnesses who worked election observers, large amount of factual information. There is also a programmatic or declarative texts in concise form the basic ideas of accumulating resources.

6.The above information resources act as social systems (Th. Parsons). So the "White Ribbon" has the task of supporting patterns of behavior, paying attention to the promotion of protest symbols. "The League of voters" mainly focuses on the integration, bringing together and coordinating efforts of various protest groups of citizens. The resource 'Committee on 10 December "in addition to the integration of the materials that act as goal-setting.

Powerful adaptation of communication flows are represented in social networks, where a discussion of the current political environment often carry propaganda protest.

Formation of functional specialization in protest of information resources, apparently, is the current trend in the development of the virtual communities.

7. Active formation of new political protest subsystem includes an active circulation of data between the "input" and "output". This subsystem is forced to compete with already existing traditional subsystems (parliamentary, party) that is why the protest communities is inconceivable without social networks. In the absence of the virtual space as such is difficult to imagine the conditions under which isolated individuals are able to accumulate the resources. Under these conditions, clear the efforts of traditional sub-systems for the control of the national domain zones of the global Internet.

Refereed Papers

TSATSOU, Panayiota (Swansea University, United Kingdom)

VIRTUAL VS. REAL? Reviewing pending issues on virtual communities and their effects on user identity

This paper provides an account of key matters concerning the ongoing ‘battle’ between virtual and real as reflected in debates concerning online public sphere, virtual communities and virtual identity. It specifically addresses ongoing debates about the existence of virtual communities and whether they are all about interaction, communication and shared interests or they also require deeper human connections, relationship and value building. Also, it problematizes whether we are legitimate to speak of real vs. pseudo-communities in relation to the kinds of bonds we shape online, the dynamics developed inside those bonds, as well as their effects on our offline lives and interactions. The paper emphasises implications of virtual communities for users’ self-representation online and the dialogue with representation(s) of the individual in offline spaces. It puts forward an argument that invites researchers to draw attention to a series of questions still unexplored in the debate between virtual and real. The paper concludes with the suggestion that more consistent, comprehensive and longitudinal research in needed in order reliable and insightful evidence to become available and answer the following yet unanswerable questions: What are the elements, tools and ‘affordances’ that allow ‘identity play’ in virtual communities? How does ‘identity play’ can encourage and/or discourage community building and identity negotiation offline? What are the connections between online and offline identity as they appear in virtual communities? Do community activities in a virtual community space lead to or signify an example of ‘online public sphere’?

Refereed Papers

VANNINI, Sara (Universita' della Svizzera italiana - NewMinE Lab, Switzerland); REGA, Isabella (Universita' della Svizzera italiana - NewMinE Lab, Switzerland)

Inbound and Outbound Information and Communication Flows: Perspectives from Mozambican CMCs.




Community Multimedia Centres are considered by initiating agencies as instruments able to inform, entertain and educate the population, as well as to give them voice into the knowledge society and to enable them to have a larger impact on public issues.

As part of a bigger research and development project aiming to unveil how local communities, instead, perceive them, this paper qualitatively analyzed a corpus of 235 local people’s statements regarding in-bound, out-bound and shared information and communication flows connected to Community Multimedia Centres in Mozambique.

The study will highlight how CMCs are identified more as information than communication enablers, and mostly in discourses related with their Community Radio component. They are not widely recognized, instead, as participation means to a reality that transcend the communities’ borders.

Non-refereed paper/practitioner report


Building a Community-centric Archive at the National Chavez Center

In the fall of 2011, faculty and students of the UCLA Department of Information Studies entered into a collaboration with the National Chávez Center (NCC) to establish a physical and virtual community-centric archive related to the life, work and legacy of César Estrada Chávez, American civil rights activist and labor leader and co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW). Physically located at the historic La Paz headquarters of the UFW in the remote Central California mountain town of Keene, the NCC sees the archive as a national memorial to Chávez and to civil rights activism, a source of inspiration to future generations of predominantly Mexican-American farmworkers and their families, and as an important component in the reinvention of La Paz as a locus for knowledge-sharing and training around community organizing.

This presentation will introduce student and faculty experiences from this collaboration to highlight motivations and concepts relating to pluralistic and community-centered archives, the possible nature of long-term collaboration between a community organization and an academic institution, and the role of praxis in preparing archival professionals to work in diverse community settings.


WHITEDUCK, Tim (First Nations Education Council, Canada)

Democratic Ideals Meet Reality: Developing Locally Owned and Managed Broadband Networks and ICT Services in Rural and Remote First Nations in Quebec and Canada.



Tim Whiteduck will discuss his work with an organization representing and serving 22 First Nations communities in Quebec, The First Nations Education Council. FNEC aims to achieve full jurisdiction over education while “respecting our unique cultural identities and common beliefs, and promoting our languages, values and traditions.” A core element of this vision is to use technology effectively to support the autonomy and democratic development of First Nations communities. Tim and his team have been working with the First Nations, developing strategic partnerships to design and install community broadband infrastructure, deliver online and IT training programs, and support the delivery and engagement of broadband-enabled community services including education, health and many others.

Tim will also discuss two ongoing collaborative research and outreach projects he / FNEC partners with: the First Mile:, ongoing since 2010, and VideoCom: Since 2006, the VideoCom project has conducted numerous studies of broadband networks, community ICT use and service delivery, including one recently completed in Quebec. Partners include Keewaytinook Okimankanak: in Ontario, Atlantic Canada’s First Nation Help Desk in the Atlantic Region:, and the University of New Brunswick: Similar to FNEC, the partners in Ontario and Atlantic support First Nations in their regions to develop and use broadband networks and online services.

Tim is a member of the Kitigan Zibi First Nation, an Algonquin community located in the Gatineau region of southwestern Quebec..

Refereed Papers

WOLSKE, Martin (Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois, United States of America)

Introduction to Networked Systems: A 12 Year Journey from Deficit- to Asset-based Service Learning and Engaged Scholarship



The Library and Information Science course “Introduction to Networked Systems” has included a service-learning final project since 2000, when students first began working in East St. Louis, Illinois, to build community technology centers (CTC). The project work began when the residents of the marginalized region asked the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) for help in addressing the digital divide. A committee representing a number of local community organizations determined that the best approach, based on models from other communities including work by UIUC in other parts of Illinois, would be to locate a CTC within five minutes walking distance of any resident in the community by partnering with libraries, community centers, churches, and social service agencies. Groups of three to five students are assigned to a partner site for the semester, perform a site survey to identify the goals and resources of the partner site for incorporating a CTC into their programs, and then refurbish donated technology in advance of installation of the CTC at the end of the semester. This work has been highly successful in grounding learning of technology by the pre-professional master’s students, many of whom are destined for school and public libraries where they will be called upon to manage the technology in their facilities on behalf of their patrons. It has provided focus and incentive for learning technology, real-world insights into the strengths and weakness of applying technology in community, and opportunities for open discussion regarding an implementation of technology in a way that is people-oriented as opposed to thing-oriented. The work of the class is part of larger participatory action research projects and has been used as an example of community inquiry in practice. Course topics also include discussion of technology as non-neutral Being. And yet in reality, it has been extremely difficult to avoid a utilitarian perspective of technology and a customer-oriented approach towards community members. Using a lens of asset-based community development, this paper will provide a critical assessment of the utilitarian perspective and reflect on a 12-year journey to towards the ideal of a more holistic implementation of technology in community.