The announcement

You are invited to a one day symposium on Chicago and the Information Society:

eChicago: Understanding and Implementing Local Community Use of Information Technology A Dominican University GSLIS symposium

Friday, April 20, 2007 7900 Division Street, River Forest, Illinois

How are local communities entering the digital age? What are local people and organizations doing with computers and the Internet? Are communities stronger as a result? What changes are afoot, ushered in by policymakers or others?

The one day eChicago symposium will focus on the process of local communities entering the digital age. Like every other social sector, the community sector is grappling with new tools and new information technology support flows. Community-based institutions and social networks are challenged, especially because of the attendant costs, but they are also sites of innovation. What lessons can we share with communities? What lessons can we learn from communities?

Chicago is our geographic focus. As a global city rich in ethnic and immigrant communities, many of which participate in their own digital diasporas, Chicago has the opportunity to set the pace for other cities when it comes to digital inclusion. Combining forces across universities, libraries, local IP phone service providers and state government, and communities—can only help this happen.

On April 20, practitioners will be sharing what is happening in and near Chicago; researchers will be sharing results of studies done across the Midwest; and everyone present will participate in thinking and talking about what the future might hold. In addition to resulting in a published proceedings, the symposium is expected to become an annual event attracting local policy makers and practitioners as well as scholars from Chicago, the Midwest, and beyond.

To reserve your space and complimentary lunch, please email A parking pass will be emailed to registered participants.

The program

8:30-9 Registration and coffee outside Martin Hall, first floor of Fine Arts

9-10:15 Opening and Keynote

Kate Williams, Symposium chair

Welcome from Donna Carroll, President, Dominican U

Keynote: “Twenty-five Years of Community Technology: Lessons Learned for Libraries and Local Communities,” Doug Schuler, Evergreen State College

Respondent: Nancy John, U of Illinois at Chicago

10:15-10:30 Coffee break

10:30-11:45 Two breakout sessions. Research: What do we know? What do we want to know?

Session in 002:

Kathryn Clodfelter, Indiana U

Karen Mossberger, U of Illinois Chicago

Salvador Rivas, U of Wisconsin

Chair: Ed Valauskas, Dominican U

Session in 003:

Amy Kerr, Loyola U

Adrian Kok, Dominican U

Diane Velasquez, U of Missouri

Chair: Susan Strawn, Dominican U

11:45-1 Lunch provided in Lewis Social Hall

1-2:15 Plenary. Practice: What are local communities doing? What do they want to do?

Paul Adams, CTCNeT/PrairieNet

Harold Lucas, BronzevilleOnline

Fran Roehm, SkokieNet/Skokie Public Library

2:15-2:30 Tea break

2:30-4 Plenary. Understanding and implementing: What have we learned today? What are next steps?

Doug Schuler, Evergreen State College

Charles Benton, Benton Foundation

Tracie Hall, Dominican U

Ann Bishop, U of Illinois Urbana/Champaign

Susan Roman, Dean, Dominican U GSLIS

April 1 eChicago update

Hi everyone,

Here’s some news to help prepare us all for April 20. Thank you for participating in the day, any reply or “reply all” is welcome.

First – the keynoter Doug Schuler. From Seattle, Doug has worked and organized for communities to use technology for 25 plus years (details at [1]). He has some connections to the Midwest too. He wrote about the 1995 Job?Tech conference [2] at UIC (myself and Nancy John were among the organizers) in his book New Community Networks (online at [3]); and my work in Toledo with Abdul Alkalimat went into three books he edited. His recent ideas on civic intelligence are online at [4].

Doug and I talked recently about the need to reach across all the terrific local community technology projects going on worldwide. Could a group of us develop 20 questions to ask every project we can contact, and then build an electronic body of data and ideas that all the projects and the researchers could draw on? Doug’s planning some travel in a couple of years and could promote this effort.

An effort like this could bring to light what communities know and want as far as building their cyberinfrastructure--a question addressed by the NSF ([5]) and in the LIS community by John Unsworth([6]). More to consider here.

Second – Why eChicago? Some of us are in and on Chicago, some not. That’s great – Chicago is a big city of global importance and connections so figuring out what local community technology research and practice means here will take more than one eChicago conference. We’re approaching it from the South Side, from Division Street, from downstate, from libraries, from community media experience, from Indiana and Missouri and national census data and so on.

Third – your papers. The proceedings volume for the conference is an edited transcript of the presentations, but also a collection of one paper from everyone. Send me a paper you’ve already published, a draft edition of a new paper, whatever you like. These papers are background to the event. If you’re not a scholar, send your latest photos, speech, excerpt of a grant proposal, whatever you like

Fourth– your presentations. Researchers are speaking about what all they know and what they want to know about local community use of IT. Each researcher will draw on all their own work and on the body of literature they individually know. Each will end up presenting some answers and some questions.

Practitioners are speaking about what communities are doing with IT and what they want to do with IT. Each one is going answer these questions uniquely, standing on what they’re doing and what else is going on that they know of.

Last: a conference wiki is at, program details are up there. More to come.


April 12 eChicago update

Hi everyone,

More news about the April 20 eChicago symposium. We have more than 50 preregistrants so far, from libraries, municipal agencies, communities, and the academy, making for good discussions and good connections. Community informatics research and planning can leap forward as CI practice shifts to larger scale community-wide activities like wireless. See for instance today's Chicago Tribune article on Sprint's announcement of plans for Chicago [7] and the work that Charles Benton and others have done towards community benefits as part of a wireless plan. [8]

Almost everyone's bios are up on the eChicago wiki I'll be happy to revise according to your feedback before we print them Tuesday for the conference program.

Also on the wiki to advance our discussion and include in the proceedings, a start on a collection of papers and documents from each of us:

  • Doug Schuler on Civic intelligence [9]
  • Kate Williams and Joan Durrance on Rethinking theory in community informatics [13]

Upcoming related events to keep in mind:

Third International Communities and Technologies, Lansing, Michigan, June 28-30 [14]

Community Informatics Research Network, Prato, Italy, November 5-7 [15]

3rd C&T in Lansing includes a June 28 hands-on workshop I am organizing with Ann Bishop. It's a day to explore for the first time the online and paper TOP Data Archive [16]. Eager to hear from anyone wanting to attend and/or help shape the agenda for research on the gold mine that is the experience of the Technology Opportunity Program.

See you on the 20th and please email with any questions or ideas!


About the participants

(later revisions and additions are reflected in the printed program)

Paul Adams is the director of Prairienet, a unit of the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Prairienet works with disadvantaged individuals and communities to bridge the digital divide. It offers an opportunity for students and faculty to apply their knowledge and skills in practical applications that provides immediate benefit to communities (see Paul Adams has served with Prairienet for the last nine years. He has an academic and professional background in urban planning and community development.

Ann Peterson Bishop ( is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( Her work focuses on participatory approaches to the design and evaluation of information systems, especially those serving marginalized groups in society. Ann’s principal partners in this work include SisterNet in Champaign-Urbana and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Chicago ( She has served as PI or co-PI on research funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, the W. C. Kellogg Foundation, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

At the University of Illinois, Ann is co-director of the Community Informatics Initiative ( She teaches courses in participatory action research, social justice in the information professions, and community information systems. Ann received the University of Illinois Excellence in Public Engagement award in 2002 and was presented with the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies by American Educational Research Association in 2000. She has served on the advisory boards of the Association for Community Networks ( and the Community Informatics Research Network ( Ann is the Associate Editor of the international Journal of Community Informatics (, and an organizer of the Community as Intellectual Space Symposium, held annually in Paseo Boricua, Chicago.

Charles Benton has served as Chairman of the Benton Foundation since 1981. Its mission is to articulate a public interest vision for the digital age and to demonstrate the value of communications by solving social problems. Among its current program priorities are projects on Universal Broadband/Universal Service, Community Media/Community Development, and Digital Media Access/Inclusion. Charles Benton has also had a long career in the media education and entertainment businesses as President or Chairman of Encyclopaedia Britannica Education Corporation, Films Incorporated, Public Media Inc., Lionheart Television International, and Home Vision Entertainment.

In 1978, President Carter appointed him as Chairman of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science and as Chairman of the first White House Conference on Library and Information Services, held in November of 1979. In 1997, President Clinton appointed him as a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters. Throughout his career, Mr. Benton has been an active board member and advisor for organizations in the arts, education and communications. Currently these include service on the National Foundation for the Preservation of Film in California, The Educational Development Center in Boston, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and the Consumer Advisory Committee of the FCC in Washington DC. A graduate of Yale University, Mr. Benton did post graduate work at Northwestern University and the National College of Education and taught 5th grade at the Washington Elementary School in Evanston, Illinois. He is married to Marjorie Craig Benton and they have two children and four grandchildren.

Donna M. Carroll is the president of Dominican University, a comprehensive Catholic university of 3250 students located ten miles west of Chicago. As the first lay (external) president of Dominican, appointed in 1994, Dr. Carroll has experienced firsthand the challenges and satisfactions of transforming an institution, and she is actively engaged in issues of strategic planning and fund development. She is currently a trustee of Fordham University and Catholic Theological Union and serves on the boards of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and the Council of Independent Colleges. In addition, she is a director of Rush Oak Park Hospital and Oak Park Development Corporation and Vice President of the Business and Civic Council of Oak Park. Dr. Carroll brings substantial management and organizational development experience to her role as president.

It was during Dr. Carroll’s tenure as president that Rosary College changed its name to Dominican University. Enrollment has doubled since 1994. The operating budget is approaching $50 million and donations to the University now average almost eight million dollars annually. In the context of a well-orchestrated strategic plan, Dominican University has introduced sixteen new academic programs, six new degrees and two additional schools, currently offering coursework at seventeen locations throughout the Chicago area, in neighboring states, and abroad. In 2002 the university completed a $30+ million capital campaign, and a new larger campaign already is underway. President Carroll came to Dominican University from New York City where she served as Secretary of the University at Fordham University. Prior to her position at Fordham, Dr. Carroll was the Senior Vice President, Dean of the College and Dean of Students at Mount Vernon College in Washington, D.C. In addition to the above board affiliations, she has served on other national, corporate and statewide boards including, TCF Bank, University of Scranton, the Cook County Commission on Women, and Fenwick High School.

Kathryn Clodfelter is a third year Ph.D. student in Information Science, minoring in Social Informatics, at Indiana University's School of Library & Information Science (SLIS). Kathryn's broad research agenda involves examining the historical and potential role of geographically-based community networks in impoverished rural areas. She, along with colleagues Wayne Buente and Howard Rosenbaum, has been conducting a follow-up examination of Indiana's statewide community networking initiative. Prior to becoming a doctoral student, Kathryn helped found two community networks and also served on the Indiana Community Network Association Board of Directors, giving her an insider's perspective on the community networking movement.

Tracie D. Hall is Assistant Dean at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University. Formerly Director of the American Library Association Office for Diversity, Hall has practiced at Hartford, New Haven Free, and Seattle Public Libraries and has taught at the schools of library and information science at Catholic University of America and Dominican University. Recognized by Library Journal as the August 2004 “Mover and Shaker,” Hall’s writings on diversity and leadership have appeared in several professional publications. Principal and Founder of the Goodseed Consulting Group, Hall has provided training and facilitation for libraries across the country. She holds a Bachelors degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara, a Masters degree from Yale University, and the MLIS from the University of Washington.

Nancy John is Digital Publishing Librarian and Associate Professor Emerita at the University Library of the University of Illinois at Chicago ( She retired from the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2005; at UIC, she has held the titles of Catalog Librarian, Assistant University Librarian, Manager of Library Systems and Interim University Librarian. From 1974-78 she was catalog librarian at National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. She received her MLS from UCLA in 1973 and a B.A. (Psychology) from Stanford University in 1969. Her research interests include information dissemination and retrieval, public policy as it affects access to information, economics of electronic information, empowerment of citizenry via access to Internet, open access and open content. Her current book project is Digital Libraries: Not Quite at Your Fingerprints.

Amy Kerr received her Masters at Loyola University Chicago and is a community research coordinator at the Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) at Loyola University Chicago. At CURL, she works with multiple, varied community partners throughout the Chicago area to develop, coordinate and carry out research projects including the evaluation of the Illinois Community Technology Fund . She collaborates with partners to disseminate research and evaluation findings in both applied and academic settings. Her role also encompasses undergraduate and graduate fellow supervision. Amy is currently pursuing her doctorate in the applied social psychology at Loyola University Chicago.

Adrian Kok, PhD, is an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Social Work, Dominican University. His research interests are in the area of older adults using technology, multi-disciplinary collaboration, and technology learning among older adults. He recently published “Multiple perspectives in learning and collaborating: A case study of the HelpSource Collaboration” and "Enhancing information literacy in an interdisciplinary collaboration."

Harold Lucas, CEO of Black Metropolis Convention & Tourism Council in Chicago, seeks to support the growth of a vibrant heritage tourism district in the historic Bronzeville community. Black Metropolis Convention & Tourism Council (BMC&TC) promotes community-based economic empowerment and wealth creation by fostering entrepreneurial opportunities linked to the establishment of Bronzeville as an internationally renowned historic and cultural destination. The past and present center of African-American life and customs in Chicago, BMC&TC is working collaboratively to harness the energy of current and future urban redevelopment in Bronzeville to create a commercial destination of unparallel diversity and attractiveness. Bronzeville has emerged as a premier African American heritage tourism destination and is an essential part of what makes Chicago a remarkable “World Class” American city. Most important, as a direct result of Mr. Lucas’s 30 years of effective community organizing at the grassroots level, Bronzeville today is understood internationally as the birthplace of Chicago’s most significant cultural forms. Bronzeville is strategically being marketed by the BMC&TC as the home of a vibrant black renaissance community unfazed by the burdens of urban regentrification; it is economically and culturally independent, as is being repopulated by an entrepreneurial black middle class that lives in harmony with its lower income neighbors.

Michael Maranda advocates and organizes around media policy issues and the public use of technology. He fights for digital literacy, access & equity as executive director of CTCNet Chicago, founding chair of the Illinois Community Technology Coalition, and co-founder of the Chicago Digital Access Alliance. As president of the Association For Community Networking (AFCN), Michael promotes local and regional networking—the foundation of the global community information and communications technology (ICT) movement.

Michael bridges community media and technology sectors locally through Let’s Talk Media networking events. He established Get Illinois Online [GIO] as the center of statewide dialogue and as a rallying cry for broadband deployment proponents of all stripes. Among community technologists, he actively applies the principle of Movement as Network, opening space for cross-sector dialogue and partnership. An avid proponent of community-owned and driven solutions, Michael is dedicated to promoting cooperative solutions and creative support structures in the non-profit/voluntary sector. Michael is a co-founder of NPOTechs, a Chicago volunteer network bringing open source and free technologies to non-profits. A New York native, Michael resides with wife and daughter in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. Michael blogs at

Karen Mossberger is an Associate Professor in the Graduate Program in Public Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research on technology and public policy focuses on digital inequality as well as e-government. Her forthcoming book, co-authored with Caroline Tolbert and Ramona McNeal on Digital Citizenship: The Internet, Society, and Participation (MIT Press) presents evidence on the benefits that technology has for political and economic participation, and its consequences for citizenship and equality of opportunity. This work builds on an earlier book, Virtual Inequality: Beyond the Digital Divide (Mossberger, Tolbert and Stansbury, Georgetown University Press, 2003).

Other recent research includes studies examining the impact of Internet use at work for less-educated workers, and patterns of information technology use in poor communities. Her coauthored paper on “Race, Place, and Information Technology” (with Caroline Tolbert and Michele Gilbert) won the 2005 Best Paper Award for the Public Policy Section of the American Political Science Association. Using multilevel models, the authors show the impact of living in high-poverty communities, which explain racial disparities in technology use for African-Americans, and restrict opportunities for individuals of all races. Mossberger’s collaborative work on information technology has been supported by grants from the Smith Richardson Foundation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (among others), and has appeared in Public Administration Review, Social Science Quarterly, and Urban Affairs Review. She serves on the national technology advisory board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Digital Opportunities Measuring Stick project on technology and youth supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Salvador Rivas earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2004. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Demography and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests are broad but focus mainly on the causes and effects of social stratification. He has several ongoing projects that investigate the intersection of technology with society, but has recently begun working on health disparities among Latin American populations in relation to their U.S. immigrant counterparts.

Frances Roehm is the SkokieNet librarian at the Skokie Public Library where she specializes in building the village's community online. She is also the webmaster for, a regional resource for Chicagoland job hunters and career changers, and assists individuals in using the Internet to find a job. She currently chairs the PLA Job and Career Information Services committee.

Susan Roman is Professor and Dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University. She brings a wealth of experience in the library field, having served as an adult reference librarian, a children’s librarian, a general reference librarian and a member of the senior management group of the American Library Association. She received her master’s degree in library science from Dominican in 1976 and holds a doctoral degree from the University of Chicago. She has been a librarian at Deerfield Public Library and Northbrook Public Library and the American Medical Association, and she has taught in the graduate library schools at The University of Chicago and Dominican University. Since 1986 she has served in a number of capacities with the American Library Association, the latest being director of development.

Don Samuelson. Born in Chicago. Local schools. Poor. Scholarship student at Dartmouth. Peace Corps in Nigeria. Fuller Brush salesman. U of Chicago Law School. Kirkland & Ellis law firm. U of Chicago Law School again - missed Hyde Park, wife didn't - as Assistant Dean. Assistant Director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority. The 30 years in affordable housing development, redevelopment and management. Morphed into resident services, onsite computer learning centers, and now Internet-Enabled Cities and Neighborhoods. Along the way, I read, wrote, talked and learned.

Doug Schuler is a former chair of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) and a founding member of the Seattle Community Network (SCN). He is a faculty member (Evening and Weekend Studies) of The Evergreen State College where he teaches and learns about technology and social implications of the the network society. Doug has written several books and articles, including New Community Networks: Wired for Change. His new books co-edited with Peter Day are Shaping the Network Society: The New Role of Civil Society in Cyberspace (MIT Press) and Community Practice in the Network Society: Local Action/Global Interaction (Routledge). He also co-edited Cyberculture: The Key Concepts with David Bell, Brian Loader, and Nicholas Pleace.

For over 20 years Doug has been engaged with issues relating to society and computing, mostly as an activist with CPSR. He has worked on many CPSR projects including all eight of CPSR's biannual symposia on the "Directions and Implications of Advanced Computing" (DIAC) conferences, which provide a public forum for social implications of computers. Doug is currently the program director for CPSR's Public Sphere Project where he is coordinating Liberating Voices: A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution ( Doug has given presentations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South and North America on democratic technology issues.

Susan M. Strawn received her Ph.D. from Iowa State University and is Assistant Professor in the Department of Apparel Design and Merchandising at Dominican University. Her dissertation focused on community-based restoration of traditional fiber for Navajo weaving. Research and teaching interests include artisan sustainability, cultural analysis of dress, and elements of 20th century dress related to social organization.

Edward J. Valauskas is Chief Editor of First Monday. He teaches at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, where he holds the Follett Chair. Edward is also Curator of Rare Books at the Chicago Botanic Garden. He is the founder and principal of Internet Mechanics, a technology consulting group which since 1993 has been advising schools, libraries, government agencies, and corporations on telecommunications, computing, and the Internet. Edward has written and edited several books on computing and the Internet. Edward has a life–long interest in paleontology and related fields. He was a Shinner Fellow in the Department of Geology at the Field Museum of Natural History, a Summer Student Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution, and a graduate student in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago.

Diane Velasquez is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri-Columbia in the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies working on her dissertation entitled “Technology and its Impact upon Organizational Change in Public Libraries: A Qualitative Study.” Diane has a MLS from the University of Arizona, an MBA in Management from Golden Gate University, and a BA in Political Science from San Jose State University. She spent 20 plus years in various roles in corporate America before returning to pursue her doctorate degree.

Kate Williams is assistant professor at Dominican University graduate school of library and information science where she teaches community informatics and research methods and several core courses. She is conducting research on how Chicago's local, historical communities are using technology -- thus eChicago -- and on the rich legacy of the Technology Opportunities Program, using the concepts of social networks and social capital.

April 16 eChicago update

Hello everyone, more preparatory thoughts.

First, please join us for a drink 5-7 Thursday evening (dutch treat). We are gathering Doug Schuler with some local colleagues from Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility at Hemmingways Bistro, 211 N. Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park, very near campus. It will be a relaxing way to start our conversations.

More papers from everyone are available from our wiki (, again, a way to start the conversation or at least to know who you will be talking with.

Prudence Dalrymple -- [17]

Adrian Kok -- [18]

Sal Rivas -- [19]

Susan Strawn -- [20]

Diane Velasquez -- [21]

You may have gotten this already, but just in case, a pdf of a parking permit is coming to you by separate email tomorrow, with directions.

AND, AN INVITATION TO ALL: Discussion on and offline have led in the direction of the need and the opportunity to gather information and analyze the many, many cases of community technology in (and beyond) Chicago. The puzzle is, what do we want to know from them? I offer one way to identify the questions to ask: dive into the 600-plus cases in the TOP archive. We’ll be analyzing those cases in a one day workshop on June 28 in Lansing, Michigan, [22] and I invite you and anyone you’d like to recommend to join us. Ann’s also involved in this. This is a way to maintain momentum from April to June.

See you Friday!


April 19 eChicago update -- recapping all papers received

Here are all the papers received so far, with ++ indicating the most recent. Thanks everyone.

  • ++Ann Bishop on Afya: Social and Digital Technologies that Reach across the Digital Divide -- [23]
  • ++Kathryn Clodfelter on A Midwestern Community Networking Movement: A Planned Multitheoretical Multilevel Social Network Analysis -- [27]
  • Prudence Dalrymple on Improving health care through health information: research challenges for health sciences librarians -- [28]
  • ++Tracie Hall on Race and place: a personal account of unequal access -- [29]
  • ++Amy Kerr on successes and challenges among community technology programs in illinois -- [30]
  • Adrian Kok on multiple perspectives on the Helpsource web resource -- [31]
  • ++Michael Maranda on the digital divide -- [32]
  • ++Karen Mossberger on How concentrated poverty matters for the digital divide: motivation, social networks, institutions -- [33]
  • Sal Rivas on Coverage error of web based surveys -- [34]
  • Doug Schuler on Civic intelligence [35]
  • Susan Strawn on Entrepreneurship and cultural passion -- [36]
  • Diane Velasquez on Public access computers in libraries -- [37]
  • Kate Williams and Joan Durrance on Rethinking theory in community informatics [38]

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