SLIS Faculty, Students to Present at 12th CIRN Conference in Prato, Italy

Dr. Kelvin White, Dr. Colin Rhinesmith, along with OU SLIS graduate students Tara Malone and Michael Pierson will participate in the 12th Community Informatics Research Network (CIRN) conference at the Monash University Prato Centre in Italy, November 9-11, 2015.  OU SLIS is a co-sponsor of the conference again this year.

Paper Presentations:

  • Dr. Rhinesmith will present a co-authored paper, titled “An ‘Ethics of Care’ for Community Informatics,” with Dr. Miriam Sweeney (School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alabama).
  • Tara Malone will present her paper, titled “Health Information Outreach to Older Adults: A Community Collaboration,” at the Graduate Student Colloquium.
  • Michael Pierson will present his paper, titled “Going Viral: Establishing Digital Literacy through Interactive Communication,” at the Graduate Student Colloquium.


  • Dr. White and Dr. Rhinesmith will co-lead a workshop, titled “Toward a CIRN Statement on Ethics, Diversity, and Inclusion,” with Dr. Martin Wolske from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

For more information, visit the CIRN conference website.

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Prato Conference 2015: Open to MS/MA students

The Community Informatics Research Network (CIRN) Conference, November 9-11, 2015 is now open to MA/MS student submissions for a special Graduate Student Colloquium during the conference.  Here are the details from the conference organizers:

Dear Colleague, this is a further call for the 12th CIRN Prato Conference 2015, “Privilege, Information, Knowledge & Power: An endless dilemma” . We still have some spaces for papers.

Please note:  we now welcome submissions from MA/MSc studies into a Graduate Student Colloquium– as with PhDs, this is a wonderful opportunity to get exposure and international conference experience.

Further Information, including a link for uploading abstracts and key dates, is via Please distribute this invitation to colleagues and students.

We seek refereed and non-refereed papers, practitioner reports and works-in-progress, posters, workshops and panels, and PhD /MA/MSc symposium presentations.


We are pleased to confirm that the Keynotes will be —

Kiera Ladner, University of Manitoba /Canada Research Chair. Dr. Kiera Ladner is an expert in the field of indigenous politics and the competing visions of indigenous self-government in Canada. Her community based research into constitutional reconciliation and decolonization is creating a deeper understanding of these rival ideas and the tensions they have created, both within communities and between First Nations and Canada.
Shawna Ferris, University of Manitoba. She researches in the areas of violence against women, critical race and feminist cultural studies, and sex work studies. Her current research examines anti-violence, anti-racism, and decolonization-oriented activism stemming from the growing number of missing and murdered people—many of whom are Indigenous women—in urban centres across Canada. As part of this research, she is working with Dr. Kiera Ladner on the Digital Archives and Marginalized Communities Project.

Safiya Noble, UCLA. She conducts research in socio-cultural informatics; including feminist, historical and political-economic perspectives on computing platforms and software in the public interest. Her research is at the intersection of transnational culture and technology in the design and use of applications on the Internet.


Information and knowledge are socially constructed artifacts located and often literally inscribed– within particular relations of information and knowledge production. Such relations of information and knowledge production can reflect unequal distributions of power and privilege, whether manifested in gendered activity; the primacy given to formalized expertise or particular language codes; restricted access to information, knowledge and production for those not in positions of institutional control; or the production of particular artifacts (such as ICT systems) that privilege one group over another.

Critical Community Informatics (CI), Development Informatics (DI), and Community Archiving (CA) education, research, and practice seeks to recognize these relations and openly challenge privileged statuses and practices. They recognize that a pluralistic approach to the problem of information and knowledge production and its preservation as different forms of activity and memory is a critical step to moving beyond approaches that result in privilege to those with skills and power in information and knowledge production across time and space in different environments.

Such a critical perspective also works to move beyond an apolitical approach and utilitarian approach to information and knowledge production or the romanticize and colonization of communities (whether urban, indigenous, or traditional and so on) as unitary, and easy-to-label collectivities. Instead, it sees information and knowledge as inherently contested and political at all societal levels and to see communities as heterogeneous and likewise, political.

Critical scholarship also raises ethical dilemmas as we consider the privilege given to lineal written language in academic work, as the warrant for particular informational or knowledge truth and procedures. We thus question the role of the academy in defining terminology and appropriate technologies of memory, and we recognize the ways such privileging of the academy serves as a form of epistemological colonization that flows on into different forms of institutional and organizational practice. How to move beyond this privilege is a grand challenge, and in fact, can we move beyond it?

Our aim for the conference is for it to be an active community practice in, and not just discussions about, pluralism. We therefore encourage participation from a wide range of cultures, races, ethnicities, religions, socio-economic statuses, gender identities, disabilities, and ages. We also encourage proposals for different ways of knowing and sharing. We especially seek to foster dialog across difference rather than presentation and preservation of homogeneity, when new ICTs in particular allow the existence and fruitful production of multiverses of information and knowledge.

Key questions arising from the conference theme can be found at this link, and abstract submissions made to the conference database via

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SLIS Co-Sponsors 11th Prato CIRN Conference

The University of Oklahoma School of Library and Information Studies (OU SLIS) was a co-sponsor of the 11th Annual Community Informatics Research Network Conference in Prato, Italy. An excerpt of the announcement from the OU SLIS website is below:

Dr. Colin Rhinesmith and Dr. Kelvin White will participate in the Community Informatics Research Network 2014 conference held in Prato, Italy.

SLIS is a co-sponsor of this year’s conference

According to the CIRN website the conference will focus on topics such as:

Community-centric archival research, education and practice are concerned with empowering communities in support of such desirable objectives as democracy, human and civil rights, self-determination, sustainable development, and social inclusion. Record keeping and archiving are fundamental infrastructural components supporting community information, self-knowledge and memory needs, thus contributing to resilient communities and cultures and supporting reconciliation and recovery in the aftermath of conflict, oppression and trauma.

To see the original posting, visit the OU SLIS website.


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Community Informatics Studio: A Conceptual Framework

Dr. Colin Rhinesmith and Dr. Martin Wolske will present a paper, entitled “Community Informatics Studio: A Conceptual Framework” at this year’s 11th Prato CIRN Conference at the Monash Centre in Prato, Italy. The poster, based on the paper, is now available for download via the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS) at the following link.

Here is the abstract from the paper/poster:

This paper extends the theoretical framework underlying the Community Informatics (CI) Studio. CI Studio has been described as the use of studio-based learning (SBL) techniques to support enculturation into the field of CI. The SBL approach, closely related to John Dewey’s inquiry-based learning, is rooted in the apprenticeship model of learning in which students study with master designers or artists to develop their craft. In this paper, we explain how the CI Studio is understood a pathway for advancing community-defined development goals through participatory design techniques. In particular, we describe the interpretive and critical theoretical foundations of the CI Studio pedagogy as a venue in which: instructors, students, and community partners can collaborate as co-learners and co-creators of knowledge exploring current topics in community informatics; theory and praxis can be brought together in dialog to ground transformative, liberative action and reflection in community spaces; and diverse perspectives can be embraced to promote a culture of epistemological pluralism. We conclude by introducing our CI Studio Principles (1) for those who wish to use and further develop the CI Studio course and pedagogy, and (2) for those working with communities using technology in support of democracy and social inclusion, so that in dialogue they can work with others to define and work to achieve human flourishing.

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Call for Papers: Special Issue – Research Methods for Community Informatics

The Journal of Community Informatics (JoCI) is seeking scholarly articles and notes from the field for a special issue on Research Methods for Community Informatics. Community Informatics is the study and the practice of enabling communities with Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs). JoCI is an international journal that focuses on how researchers and practitioners work with communities towards the effective use of ICTs to improve their processes, achieve their objectives, overcome the “digital divides” that exist both within and between communities, and empower communities and citizens. This is possible in areas such as health, cultural production, civic management and e-governance, among others. JoCI is a focal point for the communication of research of interest to a global network of academics, community informatics practitioners, and national and multi-lateral policy makers. JoCI is currently indexed in the IBSS and Google Scholar as well as several indexes of Open Access journals. Efforts are underway concerning additional scholarly indexing. More information regarding JoCI is available at

The guest editors for the special issue are: Dr. Colin Rhinesmith (University of Oklahoma, USA), Dr. Mark Wolfe (University of Alberta, Canada), and Andy Bytheway (Retired Professor of Information Management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa).

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