COMINF 2006 PC Co-chairs’ Message
Community Informatics, also known as community networking, electronic community networking, community-based technologies or community technology refers to an emerging set of principles and practices concerned with the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) for personal, social, cultural or economic development within communities; for enabling the achievement of collaboratively determined community goals; and for invigorating and empowering communities in relation to their larger social, economic, cultural and political environments.
From an academic and research perspective Community Informatics can be seen as a field of practice in applied ICT. It brings together the practices of community (and economic and social) development with insights from fields such as sociology, planning, development studies, women’s studies, library and information sciences, management information systems, and management and computer sciences. Its outcomes – community networks and community-based ICT-enabled service applications – are of increasing interest to grassroots organizations, NGOs and civil society, governments and multi-lateral agencies, and the private sector, among others. Self-organized community ICT initiatives spanning the range of application areas including health, social and economic development, small business, environmental management, and local governance have been emerging world-wide with the objective of harnessing ICTs for developing social capital, poverty alleviation and empowerment at the local level. As well, collaborative communities enabled with ICTs are helping to bridge organizational boundaries, ensuring more effective and efficient forms of collaboration in and between stakeholders from business, government, education, and civil society.