New JoCI Issue (Vol 16) Published

Journal of Community Informatics Vol 16

It’s wonderful to be able to finally announce the new issue of the Journal of Community Informatics! The journal is also now hosted at the University of Waterloo Library and sponsored by the Simmons University School of Library and Information Science (iSchool).

There are many, many people to thank for this new issue and the Journal’s re-launch, particularly during such an incredibly difficult year. Many of whom I have included in my Editorial. I would particularly like to thank David Nemer, Tom Denison, Eduardo Villanueva-Mansilla, as well as Jordan Hale and Graham Faulkner at the University of Waterloo Library.

I am also grateful, of course, to the authors of this new issue for their patience during this transition to our new home at UW Library. I also want to thank our wonderful Editorial Board and other reviewers who contributed their time and expertise to help make this issue so strong.

The Journal is also accepting new Submissions from researchers and practitioners in the field of community informatics. To learn more, visit our new Journal website.

New Report on Digital Equity Ecosystems

Benton reportI am excited to announce that our Community Informatics Lab at Simmons University has authored a new report, titled “Growing Healthy Digital Ecosystems During COVID-19 and Beyond,” which was published last week by the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society.

In the report, my co-author, Susan Kennedy and I present findings from a survey of individuals representing a diverse group of organizations across the United States that have self-identified as being part of either a formal, informal, or emerging digital inclusion coalition. The purpose of their study was to better understand the role these coalitions have played in supporting what they are calling “digital equity ecosystems” in their communities during the challenges of the pandemic.

In our Digital Beat blog post announcing the report, Susan and I argued that based on our report, “we believe there are several federal policy recommendations that we can make moving forward. On their transition-team website, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have made it a priority to promote universal broadband. In order to achieve this goal, we argue that the new administration must connect its economic recovery agenda to its work to promote racial equity.”

We conclude the post by sharing the following four steps that the new administration should take to make their economic recovery and racial equity priorities a reality:

  1. Make broadband affordable for low-income communities of color.
  2. Support second chances for economic success through digital literacy programs.
  3. Ensure care workers receive training and support to help promote digital and racial equity.
  4. Make federal funding opportunities available for digital inclusion organizations.

Read the full descriptions of each recommendations in our full blog post on the Benton Institute for Internet & Society’s website.

JoCI Accepting New Submissions

Community Informatics LogoI am excited to announce that after a brief pause and transition in editorial leadership, the Journal of Community Informatics is once again accepting new submissions here: http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/information/authors

The scope and aims of the Journal are located on the website here: http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/about

It is my honor to lead the Journal as the third Editor-In-Chief since the journal was launched by Michael Gurstein with its first issue published in 2004. I want to thank Eduardo Villanueva-Mansilla for his leadership over these past years. I also want to thank Tom Denison who has joined Eduardo as the Journal’s Associate Editors.

I am also excited to announce our esteemed Editorial Board with both new and returning members. We are preparing our next issue to be published in Sept/Oct. 2020, and we look forward to receiving new submissions in the months and years ahead.

New Encyclopedia Entries

The International Encyclopedia of Media LiteracySince transitioning from being a community media and technology practitioner in the late 2000s to a community informatics scholar during the past decade, I have sought to both highlight and contribute to the existing community media and informatics scholarship during this time. As part of this work, I am excited to announce that I have new contributions on both topics in two encyclopedias. The first contribution on Community Media was published earlier this year in the The International Encyclopedia of Media Literacy edited by Renee Hobbs and Paul Mihailidis.

Here is the abstract:

“Media literacy scholars have identified five essential competencies that support digital and media literacy: these are the abilities to access, analyze, create, reflect, and act (Hobbs, 2011). While these core competencies are often advanced through community media practice, few studies have made explicit connections between media literacy education and the community media sector. Presented here is an overview of the ways in which community media support these essential competencies; attention will be paid to community media’s role in promoting access, participation, diversity, and empowerment as key drivers of media literacy education. This entry highlights youth media as a form of media literacy education within the community media sector. It includes a discussion of the social, cultural, and political contexts that are critical to understanding how community media support fundamental media literacy goals.”

The Blackwell Encyclopedia of SociologyThe second contribution on Community Informatics was just published in the 2nd edition of The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology edited by George Ritzer and Chris Rojek. This short entry provides a concise overview of the field including its origins and more recent developments, including across both physical and virtual spaces where community informatics researchers and practitioners have convened over the past 20 years. I am honored to have been invited to contribute on both topics as they have been core to my own research and practice for many years.

New Article in Media, Culture & Society

Media, Culture & SocietySharon Strover, Brian Whitacre, Alexis Schrubbe and I have a new journal article in Media, Culture & Society. The article, titled “The Digital Inclusion Role of Rural Libraries: Social Inequities Through Space and Place” features findings from our two-year research grant (award #RE-31-16-0014-16), funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services to examine how rural libraries address the challenges of Internet connectivity with hotspot lending programs.

Here’s a link to the abstract, which is also included below:

“A great deal of scholarship on broadband deployment and federal policies has positioned rural America through a deficit framework: rural parts of the country have older populations (and therefore not tech savvy), are poor (and therefore justifiably ignored by the market), too remote (therefore outside of legitimate profit-making enterprise), and losing population (and therefore significance). This research examines rural Internet connectivity through the lens of local libraries lending hotspots for Internet connectivity. Qualitative data gathered in 24 rural communities in Kansas and Maine undercut simplistic notions regarding how communication systems operate in environments ignored by normative market operations. Financial precarity and pressures from social and economic institutions compel rurally based individuals and families to assemble piecemeal Internet presence and connectivity. The public library plays a crucial role in providing Internet resources and stands out in the rural environment as a site that straddles public trust and local.”