Designing Across Borders:
The Community Design of Community Networks
CSCW '98 / PDC '98 Workshop
November 14, 1998
The Westin Hotel
Seattle, WA USA
Please take note: The due date for the position papers has been extended until September 15th. Please do NOT send your position paper as an attachment or fax. We are looking for one hardcopy version and a PLAIN TEXT e-mail version. If you are from outside of the US you can send an electronic version only. I still would prefer a hardcopy version as well as it will be photocopied for the proceedings. Addresses below.
University of Sussex
Peter van den Bessalaar
University of Amsterdam
Fiorella de Cindio
University of Milano
GMD - German National Research Center for Information Technology
St. Augustin, Germany
The Evergreen State College
Olympia, WA, USA
Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya
University of Umea
The Internet, as we all know, is proliferating rapidly. Along with this proliferation a new type of CSCW -- for communities -- is being developed in communities all over the world. Currently most of this development is being done by people with little experience in either software development or public administration, mostly on an ad-hoc basis. The purpose of the workshop is to explore the current state and possible futures of networked (geographic) community communication and information systems ("community networks"). We are especially interested in how participatory design techniques can be integrated into public democratic design approaches and systems. We also believe that input from citizens as "lay designers" will provide an invaluable infusion of insight into the development of effective systems in civic -- and other -- realms. Finally, since these communication systems are becoming global in nature, we feel that issues about localism and globalism are extremely appropriate in the context of CSCW and geographically-based community systems.
Activities and GoalsThe workshop will begin with a welcome and an introduction. The introduction, given by the organizers will set the stage by describing the current context of our work, our goals for the workshop, and how the workshop is organized. Workshop participants will conduct most of their work in small teams. There will be several morning teams and several afternoon teams. The membership of the teams will change to facilitate a good cross-fertilization of ideas. Each team will create a summary of their group activities and present them using transparencies and an overhead projector to the rest of the workshop participants. Some possible teams and relevant questions are listed below. One of the goals of the workshop is to continue the development of a research / activism network comprised of people from all over the world. An early version of this plan now exists.
Community Design Workshop Themes
Looking at Innovative Regional Systems
- What factors are important in determining the success of these systems?
- What types of community work are supported? How?
- Who uses the system(s)? Who doesn't? Why?
- What design process(es) are used?
- How can community networks most effectively engage in the design process?
- What new players are involved in the development of these systems (as distinguished, for example, from "traditional" CSCW systems)?
- How do these systems vary region by region? Do the systems carry any particular evidence that suggests regional or cultural differences?
Theorizing About New Systems
- How do these new systems compare with others? Is there a taxonomy or list of attributes that can help researchers and practitioners in their work?
- Will the use of CSCW in geographical communities presage the evolution of new network-based social, political, or economic entities?
- How might the use of CSCW systems in community contexts change the distribution of power and control in those communities
- What new roles and responsibilities might emerge through the use of these systems?
- What do these systems tell us about working across boundaries and other cross-cultural issues?
Recommendations and Future Directions
- What research directions are most appropriate and most promising for the development of community CSCW systems?
- What other organizations and institutions are involved with this process and how can work be meaningfully organized and coordinated with these new players?
- What educational initiatives are needed for effective design and development?
- How can CSCW researchers become most effectively engaged in the introduction and future development of public CSCW systems?
- When is it appropriate for CSCW researchers to engage in "political" or advocacy work in the development of these systems?
- What is the impact of community networks on local mediascapes?
- What public educational initiatives would be most useful in engaging the public in the ongoing participatory design process? What training?
- What policy work will be necessary to complement the work of introducing CSCW into the community?
OrganizersThe authors of this proposal are from Spain, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK. and the United States. Each of us is interested in how new networked communications systems can be used to support "community work." Each of us has been involved in integrating these "real-world" systems with our academic research (see, for example, the ECSCW '97 workshop, http://www.canet.upc.es/ws). As academics we are interested in research issues and what theoretical observations can be made about. As citizens we are interested in what types of systems are needed for new citizens of new communities.
Paolo Barbesino is a researcher at CulCom (Graduate Research Centre in Culture & Communication) at the University of Sussex in Brighton, United Kingdom. Paolo has written about communities and computer networks, is a co-organizer of the upcoming IFIP workshop on community networks (with Peter Mambrey). Paolo recently convened a workshop on "New Media and Community" at Sussex.
Peter van den Bessalaar is a professor of informatics at the University of Amsterdam. His research interests include participatory design, CSCW, and public computer systems. He has studied Amsterdam's Digital Stat and has reported on that in several venues including CPSR's "Community Space and Cyberspace" conference.
Fiorella de Cindio is a professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Milano. Fiorella has been involved in CSCW for many years (e.g.De Cindio et al., CHAOS as a Coordination Technology, CSCW '86). She was also tutorial Chair at ECSCW'93, Milano, co-chair of ECN'97, the First European Conference on Community Networking (Milano, July 1997), organizer (together with A. Serra and L. Navarro) of the ECSCW '97 workshop "Community networks: Opening a new research field for cooperative work." Fiorella is Director of the Civic Networking Laboratory and has written several papers on the integration of CSCW with civic and community computer systems.
Peter Mambrey, Ph.D. in social sciences, holds a tenure position in the German National Research Center for Information Technology. His research fields are participatory systems design, technology assessment, CSCW and CSCL. He is author of many books and articles and is the co-organizer of the IFIP-Workshop on "Community Networks - Rhetoric or Realities" which will be held in Geneva later this year.
Doug Schuler is a member of the faculty at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, USA. Doug has been thinking, writing, and working on social issues of computing for over 15 years. He has co-edited several books on these topics and wrote New Community Networks: Wired for Change which combines social analysis with pragmatic advice on media activism and the development of computer networks. He is the co-founder of the Seattle Community Network (http://www.scn.org), a free, public computer system with over 12,000 registered users. He has masters degrees in software engineering (Seattle University) and computer science (University of Washington).
Artur Serra is the Coordinator of the Centre for Internet Applications at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya and the Director of BCNet, Barcelona Xarxa Ciutadana. His background is in anthropology (1992, Universitat de Barcelona) Artur's articles include " The I*EARN: An Organisational Learning Network", "The InterMed Network: Changing Cultural Patterns with a Large-Scale Cooperative Internet Network in the Mediterranean" (Navarro, L, Rodriguez, G, Serra,A. 1996. Proceedings of the INET '96, " BCNet, a metropolitan Community Network against social exclusion" (First European Community Networking Conference, ECN'97), and "The role of Community Networking in the Deployment of Digital City Strategies: The EPITELIO Project. European Digital Cities Conference", Berlin, Dec. 1-2 1997.
Erik Stolterman is a assistant professor in the informatics department at the University of Umea in Umea, Sweden. His research interests include design philosophy, design theory, and the "societal design of societal cyberspace." Last year Erik was a visiting scholar at Antioch University in Seattle.
The intended audience for this workshop is people who are interested in studying, as well as developing, community CSCW systems. We are hoping for a wide diversity of people and experiences. We are also hoping for attendees who have done theoretical work in this area. Since the central theme of the workshop is systems for citizen use we are especially interested in attendees who are interested working with a wide variety of people in devising systems for their own use.
For purposes of this workshop we request a 2 -5 page position paper. Within the general area of community (public) design of community networks (public information and communication systems) we seek papers and participants from a wide variety of backgrounds with a wide variety of perspectives. Some perspectives include sociological, economic, public policy / public administration, educational, or cultural to name just a few. We plan to limit attendance to 30 people in the absence of strong mitigating circumstances.
Position papers should be sent to Doug Schuler at the address listed below and should arrive no later than September 15, 1998.
NOTE: There is an additional fee of $50 for workshop participation beyond the conference (either PDC '98 or CSCW 98) fees, to cover the costs of materials and refreshments.
For more information, email email@example.com or see the workshop web page at http://www.scn.org/ip/commnet/cscw-pdc-workshop.html.
Submissions should be sent to:
2202 N. 41st
Seattle, WA 98103
Submissions from outside the US can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please no attachments!
Please also see "Computer Support for Community Work: Designing and Building Systems for the 'Real World'", a CSCW 98 Tutorial.