|On 12/7/09, Aldo de Moor ademoor (AT) communitysense.nl wrote:
We are an incredible diverse community of researchers and practitioners from
all over the planet, with a great potential to change the world. Each one of
us is making their contribution in their own way, be it in trying to make
communities work as an activist, reflecting upon ways to improve the
community-way-of-things as a researcher, or working behind the policy making
scenes to influence government and corporate decision making.
Acting as a community, this potential is so much larger than going it alone.
We have some very important communal resources. First, there are the
conferences, like the CIRN Prato series, where we meet face-to-face,
exchange ideas, and recharge our mental batteries. There is this mailing
list, for the practical exchange of information and the ongoing discussions
about who we are and what we do. And of course, there is the Journal of
Community Informatics, which is starting to have a significant impact as a
scholarly medium and as an instrument to build the standing of our field.
Larry Stillman and Mike Gurstein, in particular, deserve a great round of
virtual applause for all the hard and often underappreciated work they have
been doing in developing and maintaining these resources in the past years.
However, this is not enough. Too much of our knowledge is scatterered,
hidden in individual or organizational websites, or, even more inaccessible,
in our heads. The result is that many of us are left out of the mainstream
and that the mainstream has to do without the expertise of many of us. In
particular, but not only, the voices of many of our colleagues from the
South are still insufficiently heard. Only very few can afford to attend the
face-to-face conferences. And even those who can, lose track of what's
happening the moment they leave after another all too inspiring event.
Mailing lists, being such a fleeting medium, are good for becoming aware of
what is happening, but not so good for building a coherent, comprehensive
joint body of knowledge. Harvesting our knowledge resources, making them
accessible, and collaborating at a distance is way too much work to be
coordinated by a few individuals. What has been lacking so far, is a dynamic
knowledge repository necessary for CI research and practice to be supported
more effectively and efficiently. A resource that is not maintained by a
few, overworked individuals, but by the community as a whole.
At the end of this year's Prato conference, we decided that we were going to
take up this challenge by setting up the wiki-based CIRN "Living Knowledge
Base", as a successor to the ciresearch.net static website. In the past few
weeks, quite a few people have already contributed to this wiki by fleshing
out its initial structure, procedures, and by providing seed content. In
particular, I would like to thank Steve Thompson, who has done a marvellous
job in taming the raw power of the wiki and turning it into something
useful, Larry Stillman, for his enthusiastic support, paying the bill, and
being Larry, and Sriram Guddireddigari for agreeing to handle your rapidly
approaching tsunami of membership applications. As a result of all these
efforts, today we can proudly launch the CIRN Living Knowledge Base:
Some of its main resources include lists of people, project, and
organisational profiles, which you can browse by world or region:
Conferences and events from now on will be maintained at this page:
A list of "Social CIRN" Web 2.0 resources can be found here:
A whole range of resources, including Topics, Research Questions, Working
Articles, Documents, Bibliography, Bookmarks, Wanted will be developed as
As this knowledge base is not only for, but especially _by_ the community,
good governance is key, We tried to come up with an initial formulation of
CI Ethics, a Charter and Procedures:
The wiki already contains the beginnings of other useful resources, we would
recommend you simply browse through it and get a feel for what's there.
Now, most importantly, what about YOU? Everybody is too busy, but we think
that you should not just browse, but get actively involved as well, to
fairly divide the workload and ensure legitimacy. To this purpose, we have
paid a lot of attention to the roles people play, be it wiki or people
administrators, and "page stewards", who are responsible for creating and
maintaining the content of a particular page. For an overview of currently
active community members, as well as vacancies, see:
Now, how do you GET INVOLVED yourself?
1. Register for the Wikispaces wiki and the CIRN Living Knowledge Base.
2. Create a personal profile, and, if applicable, one or more project or
3. Become a wiki admin or page steward.
4. Take responsibility for an unassigned task.
Detailed instructions can be found here:
This is just the beginning of what, we hope and expect, will become a
vibrant community building resource. If we, as a _community informatics_
community can't get our act together, who can? So, we urge you to get
involved and be part of this exciting and much needed initiative for us to
have a bigger say in the direction our one world is heading.
Aldo de Moor, PhD
CommunitySense - community informatics research in practice
With this lead, let me make a pitch again for the CIRN Living
Knowledge Base, which aims exactly to make us CI researchers and
practitioners eat our own social media dogfood:
We will post to this list quite regularly to ask members to
participate and help build the knowledge base. By building it bit by
bit, we should be able to get critical mass in a reasonable amount of
time. Our first aim is to have something going on there before the
next Prato conference.
So, in the spirit of "not asking what CIRN can do for you, but what
you can do for CIRN", if you haven't done so yet, please add your
personal profile to the wiki. It will take you only 10 minutes, but by
having enough people do this, we can actually start to get a presence
to the big world out there that we are trying to influence...
Please do your bit and follow the instructions at: