ASIST AM 03 2003 START ConferenceManager    

Information Communities: Characteristics Gleaned from Studies of Three Online Networks

Karen E. Fisher, Joan C. Durrance, and Kenton T. Unruh

Presented at ASIST 2003 Annual Meeting -- Humanizing Information Technology: From Ideas to Bits and Back (ASIST AM 03 2003), Westin Long Beach, Long Beach, California, October 20 - 23, 2003


Digital network infrastructures such as community networks have heralded powerful new ways for enhancing people's quality of life. We argue that the Internet has further facilitated the creation of information communities: constituencies united by a common interest in building and increasing access to sets of dynamic, linked, and varying information resources. Using data from a two-year study of three community networks, we describe five defining characteristics of effective information communities: (1) emphasis on collaboration among diverse information providers, (2) capacity to form around people’s needs to access and use information, (3) capacity to exploit the information sharing qualities of emerging technologies, (4) ability to transcend barriers to information-sharing, and (5) capacity to foster social connectedness.

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