Community Informatics, Theory, and Policy


Auletta, K. (2011). The dictator index: A billionaire battles a continent’s legacy of misrule. The New Yorker, 87(3), 44-55. Retrieved from

Castells, M. (1999). The informational city is a dual city: can it be reversed?. In Donald Schön, B. S. and & W. J.Mitchell (Eds.), High Technology and Low-Income Communities: Prospects for the Positive Use of Information Technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. A good primer on information, space, and power in a networked society. – Jared Dunn

Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. The American Journal of Sociology, 94, S95-S120. Retrieved from Foundational text on social capital.– Jared Dunn

Dailey, D., Bryne, A., Powell, A., Karaganis, J., and Chung, J. (2010). Broadband adoption in low-income communities. Social Science Research Council. Retrieved from

Federal Communications Commission. (2010). Connecting America: the national broadband plan. Retrieved from This is what to read to get the broader policy context for the kind of community technology work we’re setting out to do. At least, in theory. This is supposed to be the official platform for what the Obama FCC wants to do around broadband and community technology, but it’s looking more and more aspirational as time passes and the administration’s momentum fades. – Jared Dunn

Freire, P.. (1993) Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum. Key text on literacy, power relations, and education.

Freire, P. (1998). The adult literacy process as cultural action for freedom. Harvard Educational Review, 68. Freire on developing awareness and critical perspective to actually become literate. – Jeff Ginger

Gurstein, M. (2003). Effective use: A community informatics strategy beyond the digital divide. First Monday, 8:12. Retrieved from Gurstein tries to move the conversation about CI and the digital divide beyond simple access. – Jared Dunn

Jenkins, H., et al. (2007). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: media education for the  21st century. The MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Initiative. Retrieved from Paper on the participation gap referred to in the Knight Report, and probably good material more generally on that ineffable 3rd question about what’s missing in our efforts. – Jared Dunn

Kavanaugh, A., Zin, T. T., Rosson, M. B.,& Carroll, J. M. (2006). The impact of the internet on local and distant ties. In P. Purcell (Ed.), Networked Neighborhoods: The connected community in context (pp. 217-236): Springer. Retrieved from Study that ties together bridging and bonding social capital with online community. – Jared Dunn

Koutsogiannis, D. (2007). A political multi-layered approach to researching children’s digital literacy practices. Language & Education: An International Journal, 21,(3), 216-31.

Kvasny, L. (2006). Cultural (re) production of digital inequality in a US community technology initiative. Information,Communication and Society, 9(November 2). Retrieved from A good case study of some of the ways in which a community technology project can fail to serve the needs of a community. – Jared Dunn

Lankshear, C. and Knobel, M. (2008). “Introduction.” Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies and Practices. New York: Peter Lang Press. – The sociocultural view of literacy as a set of socially organized practices; and the politics of this. – Jeff Ginger

Lipschulz, D. (2011). Digital Literacy: an opportunity for inclusion or a barrier to access? The National Coalition for Literacy Blog. Retrieved from

McChesney, R. W. (2000). Rich media, poor democracy: communication politics in dubious times. New York: New Press.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration. (2010). BTOP grant overview report. Retrieved from A good overview of the BTOP program, with capsules of the projects that were funded. – Jared Dunn

O’Neil, Dara. (2002). Assessing community informatics: a review of methodological approaches for evaluating community networks and community technology centers. Internet Research, 12,(1), 76-102. Provides a very helpful overview of the theoretical and methodological frameworks that have been used to evaluate community informatics. – Colin Rhinesmith

Pitkin, B. (2001) Community informatics: hope or hype?. Proceedings of the 34th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. Pg. 8. Los Alamitos, CA. IEEE Comput. Soc. Retrieved from A self-critical take on Community Informatics. – Jared Dunn

Putnam, Robert D. (2000) Bowling alone: the collapse and revival of Amercan community. New York: Simon & Schuster. The book that popularized social capital as a concept, and diagnosed many of the problems concerning the decline of civic and social life in America that community informaticists are interested in addressing. – Jared Dunn

Robinson, Les. (2009). A summary of Diffusion of Innovations. Retrieved from

Rossi, P. H., Lipsey, M. W., & Freeman, H. E. (2004). Evaluation: A systematic approach: 7th Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Shirky, C. (2008). Gin, television, and social surplus. Retrieved from

Shirky, C. (2008). Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations. New York: Penguin Press.

Stoecker, Randy. (2005). Is community informatics good for communities? Questions confronting an emerging field. Journal of Community informatics, 1(3). Retrieved from

Stoecker, R. (2005). Research methods for community change: A project-based approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Vos, V.-J., & Ketelaar, E. (2007). Amsterdam’s community memories: research into how modern media can be applied to archive community memory. In L. Stillman & G. Johnson (Eds.), Constructing and Sharing Memory: Community Informatics, Identity, and Empower. Good case study of a design-based project for recording community memory and stories in Amsterdam. – Jared Dunn

Wang, Caroline C. (1999). Photovoice: a participatory action research strategy applied to women’s health. Journal of Women’s Health, 8:2, 185-192.

Wang, Caroline C. and Burris, Mary Ann (1997). Photovoice: concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment. Health Education and Behavior, 24:3, 369-387

The two Wang  articles lay out the formal photovoice process and reflect on its benefits in both needs analysis generally and women’s health specifically.  These provided the foundation for the technique that have been adopted by a range of researchers and practitioners since. – Martin Wolske

Tools and Examples The Knight Foundation Community Toolkit
The Journal of Community Informatics

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