(Virtual) Community Informatics Workshop

held in conjunction with ICIS 2002, Barcelona, Spain

Sunday December 15, 2002
(Full Day Workshop)


We cordially invite you to participate in the (Virtual) Community Informatics Workshop, held the day before ICIS 2002. Researchers, students and practitioners interested in the areas of community informatics and virtual communities are welcome to submit either a position statement or a full paper for presentation.


(Virtual) Community Informatics

(back to top)

Community Informatics and Virtual Communities

Community Informatics is the application of information and communications technologies to enable community processes and the achievement of community objectives, such as overcoming "digital divides", and supporting community based IT/ICT-enabled initiatives in community economic development, health, environmental and sustainable development, community focused learning and civic engagement and social justice. Virtual communities are concerned with creating and sustaining on-line "communities of interest" and "communities of practice", and others. Even more important, (Virtual) Community Informatics involves working to find ways of making the enormous opportunities of Internet connectivity of real value to various communities --- local and virtual, in achieving their economic, social and cultural objectives. Community Informatics traditionally has been applied to "geo-physical" or "local" communities, which concentrate on a particular local geographical area.

Virtual communities on the other hand have no geographical limits. Virtual communities serve a diversity of groups, including people with common interests; groups fostered by particular organizations, industries or marketplaces; those who face similar life circumstances (such as a medical problem); as well as those who simply wish to socialize, play games or participate in fantasy experiences together on-line. Virtual communities, by definition, depend on technology, but often are only using limited tool sets to support specific types of interaction.

Currently there is no formal interaction between the Community Informatics and Virtual Communities research communities or practitioners (and little informal contact either, as far as we can determine). We believe that both local and virtual communities could benefit from the concepts, techniques, practices and suite of tools, being developed for each one separately.

Typically practitioners working to support local communities and virtual communities are working with only limited theories, and often without taking full advantage of rapidly developing technology opportunities, while having little systematic contact with or feedback into on-going organizational design, technology design, or emerging business models.

Without systematization there is the need to continuously reinvent concepts and approaches. It is difficult to propagate and disseminate findings and lessons learned. Neither research nor practice is able to achieve economies of scale. In both instances they have little opportunity to have input into or influence technology design.

In the Community Informatics area, as in others, academics provide research and testing with intellectual rigor. Communities and practitioners could provide test beds and feed-back on interventions, technologies and strategies.


(Virtual) Community Informatics = Virtual Communities + Community Informatics

(Virtual) Community Informatics lies at these dual cross-roads: bringing together people concerned with Local and Virtual or On-line Communities; and bringing together the researchers and practitioners (developers, leaders and participants) in these two domains. (Virtual) Community Informatics promotes the cross-fertilization found at this cross-roads, bringing together researchers and practitioners from such varied disciplines as Sociology, Social Services, Planning, Computer Sciences, Information and Library Sciences, Information Systems, among others.


Workshop Program Overview

(back to top)

We plan to include the following events at the workshop:


Light Breakfast and Workshop Registration


Welcome and Workshop Overview


Keynote Address: Fiorella De Cindio, Univeristy of Milan and Founder of Milan Civic Network


Current Community Informatics Issues: Mike Gurstein and Jenny Preece




Coffee Break


Paper Presentations and Discussion (papers to be announced)


Lunch (at IESE Cafeteria, included in registration fee)


Panel: Analysis, Design, Implementation and Evaluation of Virtual Communities and Virtual Support for Local Communities
(panelists currently being confirmed, but will include Joan Mayans, CyberSociety Observatory, Barcelona and Jenny Preece, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, US)


Coffee Break


Open, Moderated Discussion on Virtual Community Informatics Issues


Workshop Wrap-up & The Future...


Let's all go to dinner together

Who Should Attend

(back to top)

Anyone with an interest in virtual communities or local communities. We welcome both researchers and community practitioners. We especially welcome students interested in these areas.



(back to top)

The workshop will be held at the IESE Business School of the University of Navarra. This is one of the standard workshop venues for the ICIS conference and is approximately 1 kilometer away from the main ICIS conference hotel. The room number and directions from the main ICIS hotel be posted later.

Avenida Pearson 21,
08034 Barcelona, Spain.
Telephone (34) 93-253-4200


Submitting Position Papers and Full Papers

(back to top)

Everyone is welcome to attend the workshop, with or without submitting a paper. However, we strongly encourage people to submit a 1-2 page position paper. We also invite people to submit a 6-12 page full paper. Full papers will be reviewed and a selected number of authors invited to make longer presentations. Feedback from the refereeing process will be returned to authors so they may improve their papers.

We shall distribute a proceedings containing both position papers and full papers.


Please send papers to both Michael Bieber (bieber @ oak.njit.edu) and Mike Gurstein (gurstein @ njit.edu)

If you find you need more time to submit, please email both of us.

Probable Publication

We are currently coordinating to edit a special journal issue or book on (Virtual) Community Informatics, and excellent full papers may be invited for inclusion.



(back to top)

Registration will be through the main ICIS 2002 registration site.

These fees include lunch.


Workshop Organizers

(back to top)

Michael Bieber
Information Systems Department
College of Computing Sciences
New Jersey Institute of Technology

bieber @ oak.njit.edu;

Mike Gurstein
School of Management
New Jersey Institute of Technology

gurstein @ njit.edu

Related Events

(back to top)


Stay Informed on Virtual Community Informatics!

(back to top)

If you are interested in Virtual Community Informatics, and would like to be notified of future events and on-going research, please send an email message to the workshop organizers.


Workshop Sponsors

(back to top)

Faculty of Informatics and Communication

We also gratefully acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation for this series of Virtual Community Informatics workshops, and from the IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Barcelona.


last updated: 11/14/2002

This page: http://web.njit.edu/~bieber/vci-workshop-2002.html
To comment on this page, please email
bieber @ oak.njit.edu