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Towards a framework for community informatics practice and research
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Wallace TaylorWallace Taylor, P Day, Barry MarshallBarry Marshall
Community Informatics which can be described as the use of ICT for local community benefit, brings together a range of technical and social disciplines in a unique manner not available prior to the advent of the Internet. From a geo-community perspective, ICT provides both significant opportunities in terms of access to services, social cohesion and global reach but it equally provides significant threats in terms of economic leakage, social fragmentation and a new form of class distinction. These issues are of concern to most governance structures at the local, national and global levels. The disparate nature of the disciplines involved in gaining sustainable benefit from the application of ICT in geo-community creates the need for a collective discipline such as community informatics Despite the expenditure of large resources in attempting to address issues of access, there is currently no substantive framework for community, practitioners, policy makers, governance structures, funders and researchers to use for planning, resource allocation, evaluation, collaboration, across discipline communication or issue identification. This paper proposes that the business of community informatics is community practice and that as such any useful framework for community informatics needs to build upon this premise. This base is an inclusive approach which puts the community in partnership with service providers, commerce and governance as opposed to being just customers or the target of a dependency based service provision. It then proposes that a framework built on community building, social inclusion, social mobilisation and community renewal can form the basis for a robust mega-framework which can be used for to redefine community engagement with commerce, public agency service provision and governance. Such an approach recognises the emerging place for ICT is in community and that as a result a new post-industrialist approach to commerce, governance and service provision will materialise. The challenge for community informatics researchers must be to develop the frameworks which can direct practical, evaluative and output based endeavours during this phase.