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Online Community Building

Here are the 17 resources from Online Community Building.

An Introduction to Collaborative Technologies Great for Beginners

Sandy Heierbacher. National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD), 2004.

Collaborative technology can create an interactive learning environment involving people who are hundreds or thousands of miles apart. Businesses are far more savvy with the more sophisticated packages of high-tech tools available than we are in the dialogue and deliberation community, and the prohibitive cost of many of the tools, software and services primarily marketed to businesses is the most obvious reason for that.

Blog On: Building Online Communities with Web Logs

Todd Stauffer. McGraw-Hill/OsborneMedia, 2002.

This 361-page book explains the basics of blogs, reviews popular blog tools, and shows how to build an active community around your blog site by using message boards, mailing lists, and numerous other features. Includes practical tips for making tweaks and improvements with HTML, Flash, Web images, and much more.

Building a Digital Community: A Leadership Guidebook

The Governor's e-Communities Task Force.

On Aug. 31, 2000, Governor James S. Gilmore III and Secretary of Technology Donald W. Upson asked the newly established Governor's e-Communities Task Force to develop a template, or guide, for communities wishing to leverage the power of the Internet to improve their competitiveness and enrich the lives of their citizens. The Governor, the Secretary and the Task Force understand that many communities' economic vitality depends on their ability to connect seamlessly both to their communities and to the rest of the world. According to their vision, Virginia communities will create a network of individual community portals that reflect local priorities and maintain common elements, and that connect each community to the state, the nation and the world.

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Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace: Effective Strategies for the Online Classroom

Rena M. Palloff and Keith Pratt.

This book focuses on the task of creating a sense of community among learners. The authors share their insight into what it takes to foster feelings of safety and a sense of shared learning among students and faculty involved in computer-mediated distance education.

Building Online Communities: Transforming Assumptions into Success Highly Recommended

Victoria Bernal, Benton Foundation.

"Online community" is the concept of convening people in virtual space and describes a range of online activities including electronic collaboration, virtual networks, Web-based discussions or electronic mailing lists. Creating a successful online community is one of the most sought after and elusive goals in a Web strategy, and an online community can be a powerful tool to bring constituents together to share their concern for an issue. Before you start planning your own virtual community, read this article by community builder Victoria Bernal to learn about what an online community can and can't do for your organization.

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byDesign-eLab was founded in 1997 in association with the McLuhan Program at the University of Toronto as an informal think tank and testing ground engaged in research, education and product development focused on new media and policy. The eLab is now a private organization dedicated to realizing significant public interest projects. As such, eLab researches and engages in "humane participant design" of accessible public spaces online to ensure that the economic and social benefits of digital media can be shared through mutual exchange of vital information and resources among networked communities of geography, interest and practice.

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Centrinity's FirstClass software is a cost-effective, highly scalable, feature-rich messaging and communications solution for enterprises, learning organizations, governments and service providers. FirstClass uses Collaborative Groupware, which provides users with the ability to effectively communicate and share valuable resources and information via email, conferencing, directories, individual and shared calendars and online chats. FirstClass has been used by thousands of organizations to create powerful online electronic communities that enable individuals and groups of people to work more effectively.

Resource Link: Highly Recommended

Launched in February 2007, is a community platform that creates a social network for over 1 million nonprofit organizations. Each organization has free access to an online dashboard through which they can review activity on their network and directly engage with their supporters by posting fundraising projects, events, photos, videos, news stories and blog entries. enables nonprofit organizations to harness the power of social networking technology to build community around their organization and extend their reach and social impact.

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CivicSpace is a community organizing platform supported by an ecology of users, developers, and vendors. It allows you to build communities online and offline that can communicate effectively, act collectively, and coordinate coherently with a network of other related organizations. CivicSpace enables bottom-up people-powered campaigns to operate on a more level playing field with more traditional top-down organizations, and, similarly, allows top-down organizations to leverage the power of grassroots organizing. Our open source CivicSpace Drupal distribution now powers over 2,000 organization's websites and the top six CivicSpace/Drupal servicing firms employ over 50 staff members.

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Coalescing Effective Community Disaster Response: Simulation and Virtual Communities of Practice

Ed Jewett.

This paper discusses the inclusive blend of simulations, models and games and other digital and/or online technologies with local/regional "virtual communities" and communities of practice as a potentially powerful and effective approach to comprehensive community emergency preparedness. It broadly scans a range of important theories, publications, software tools, commercial products and prototypes.

Community Building on the Web: Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities

Amy Jo Kim. Peachpit Press, 2000.

The Internet has never been about finding information as much as it has been about finding people who created the information. Kim, designer of web communities for America Online and Adobe, has written a book that will suit everyone from the beginner to the CEO wishing to bring people together, understand a community, create roles for community members, and provide leadership; for all libraries. This book introduces nine essential strategies for creating true community online.

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A useful web-based resource for community builders, community users, moderators, managers, owners to get advice about building quality online communities. was developed by CornerWays, LLC, a company comprised of individuals with years of online community building experience from moderating within notable communities, launching community sites, and managing community.

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CommunityZero is an interactive website that allows a group of people to communicate and exchange information over the Internet in their own private and secure area. Within each area, called an online community, participants are provided access to a suite of powerful tools that enable a group to effectively get organized, share knowledge and communicate.

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Full Circle Associates Highly Recommended

The consulting practice of Nancy White and a network of independent professionals, Full Circle Associates provides strategic communication, online community development, facilitation, marketing, and project management services for the community, non-profit and business sectors. Full Circle focuses on online and offline strategies with a passionate interest in online community and collaboration, and provides training in online facilitation and distance collaboration.

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Ning launched in 2004 to give everyone the opportunity to create your own social networks for anything. As of November 2007, Ning powers the largest number of social networks on the Internet. Ning offers the latest social networking features, all infinitely customizable to meet your unique needs. The Ning Platform makes this possible. As a platform, you don't have to appeal to Ning for the features you want. If you have the time and the inclination, you can build them yourself. It's the software equivalent of Home Depot.

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Obiki is open source online software, built by Green River and Ben Tucker around the concept of collaboration. It's used to create websites and documents, and for working in virtual communities. Obiki is a cost-effective way for groups to join forces and communicate efficiently. What's more, it's user-friendly: in less than 20 minutes you can learn to build and modify websites or create interactive documents yourself, eliminating the time-consuming step of having to submit changes to a webmaster. It's perfect for organizations and projects that are spread out geographically, or for those that want to have complete control of their website.

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Online Community Report

A free twice-monthly email report on current events and trends in online collaboration and community building. The report includes information on jobs, events, software, and legal issues related to online communities. Articles and features address many venues in which users interact with other users online: online communities, web conferencing, distance learning, knowledge management systems, online auctions, and other topics.

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