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21st Century Town Meeting

AmericaSpeaks' 21st Century Town Meeting method creates engaging, meaningful opportunities for citizens to participate in public decision making. This unique process updates the traditional New England town meeting to address the needs of today's citizens, decision makers and democracy.

Resource Link: http://www.americaspeaks.org

A Citizen-Centric Internet: Why Candidate, Advocacy Group and Other Political Sites Fail, and What They Can Do About It

Scott Reents and Thomas Hill.

"The election year 2000," according to the authors, writing before the year 2000, "will be the year that the Internet shakes up politics." The authors estimated that the number of people going online for election information in 2000 would reach 35 million--more than three times the number who did the same in 1998 (source: Pew Research). The way in which political organizations respond to this massive demand will have lasting implications on their ability to function effectively.

Resource Link: http://www.e-thepeople.org/democracyproject/about_us/citizen.htm

A Simple, Open, Scalable and Distributed Platform for Public Discourse

Thomas F. Gordon, Fraunhofer FOKUS.

There is some current debate about the relationships between e-democracy, e-government and, more recently, e-governance. The most widely accepted view, and the view the authors accept for the purposes of this paper, is that e-democracy is a subfield of e-government. One of the main issues in the field of e-democracy, and one that the authors discuss in this paper, is how to best use information and communications technology to facilitate public consultation, deliberation, participation or 'engagement' in policy-making processes such as urban planning.

Resource Link: http://www.lri.jur.uva.nl/~winkels/eGov2002/Gordon.pdf

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.

An Online Environment for Democratic Deliberation: Motivations, Principles, and Design Recently Updated

Todd Davies, Brendan O'Connor, Alex Angiolillo Cochran, Jonathan J. Effrat.

This paper elucidates the experience and thinking behind our new web-based environment for asynchronous group deliberation: Deme (pronounced 'deem'). Deme grew out of participation in and observations of group decision making and community democracy, and is being developed within a university-community partnership to enhance civic participation and to bridge digital divides.

Resource Link: http://www.stanford.edu/~davies/deme-principles.pdf

Ascentum Highly Recommended

Ascentum is a Canada-based professional services firm that combines a unique technology expertise with specialized management consulting services. Dialogue Circles is Ascentum's intermodal approach to consultation that aims to maximize the synergies between the traditional and online worlds of consultation and dialogue. Dialogue Circles provides clients with the flexibility to hold online or traditional consultation and dialogue. According to Ascentum, many of the most successful consultation and dialogue endeavors now involve a mix of online tools and traditional face-to-face approaches that complement one another.

Resource Link: http://www.ascentum.ca

Ascentum's Dialoguecircles Training

Ascentum's dialoguecircles training series includes a wide array of courses on consultation and dialogue (Introduction to Intermodal Consultation and Dialogue, Dialoguecircles Methodology for Consultation and Dialogue, Analyzing Results from Consultation and Dialogue Projects, etc.) designed to meet your needs. All courses and certification programs are based on our proven dialoguecircles methodology. Developed by Sandra Zagon, Joseph Peters and Manon Abud, experts in the consultation and dialogue field, our training courses are practical, relevant and dynamic.

Resource Link: http://www.dialoguecircles.com/training

Beth's Blog

In Beth's Blog, Beth Kanter writes about the effective use of technology and social media for grassroots nonprofit organizations and causes. The site includes how-tos in text, video, screencasts, and photos. Beth is a nonprofit technology consultant who works on the human side of technology, focusing on evaluation, planning, assessment, training, and curriculum development. Beth served on the 2006 NCDD conference Tech Team.

Resource Link: http://beth.typepad.com

Beyond the Reinvention of Government

Alexandra Samuel.

For the past ten years, the Alliance for Converging Technologies team has tracked developments as they reshaped the business-government interface. They are now convinced that a more fundamental consideration of governance is urgently needed, aimed at producing a road map and migration plan for the shift from industrial to digital governance. This encompasses the challenge of reinventing government through electronic service delivery and public-private partnerships, but also extends beyond it by attempting a reformulation of the very notion of governance.

Resource Link: http://www.alexandrasamuel.com/governance/beyondreinvention.pdf

Bowling Together: Online Public Engagement in Policy Deliberation

Stephen Coleman and John Gotze.

In his famous book Bowling Alone, U.S. political scientist Robert Putnam argues that a decline in membership of civic networks has resulted in a precipitous drop in political engagement. People become engaged in civic and wider political affairs when they have acquired habits of communal connection; as these habits fade, political engagement atrophies. Whether or not one subscribes entirely to Putnam's theory of social capital, it is undoubtedly the case that most developed democracies are experiencing a collapse of confidence in traditional models of democratic governance. This report outlines a model of e-democracy that could begin to reverse this trend.

Resource Link: http://bowlingtogether.net

Building Digital Bridges: Creating Inclusive Online Parliamentary Consultations

Nicola Hall.

This report seeks to address the real problems of social exclusion faced by online consultations and discussions. The UK Parliament is a pioneer in using this process, but it is not alone; parliaments, assemblies and governments all over the world are now experimenting with or planning for the online consultation process. Nicola Hall's study should serve as a useful guide to best practice for many of these projects. The Hansard Society's emphasis is upon digital bridge-building rather than accepting the inevitability of the digital divide.

Resource Link: http://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/publications/archive

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.

Resource Link: http://www.benton.org/publibrary/practice/community/assumptions.html

ByDesign-eLab

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.

Resource Link: http://www.bydesign-elab.net

Capitol Advantage

Capitol Advantage is the nation's pioneer and premier provider of online and off-line grassroots solutions for corporations, nonprofit groups, associations, educational institutions and other organizations. Capitol Advantage affiliated companies, under the leadership of Robert Hansan, have a 20-year track record of helping citizens make their voices heard - from the school house to the White House, from Main Street to Wall Street.

Resource Link: http://www.capitoladvantage.com

Caucus Systems Inc.

Caucus Systems is a leading provider of online collaborative environments for global 1000 companies. Caucus Systems creates online collaborative environments that integrate data sources with structured conversations for action, allowing people to work together online as they do face-to-face - by discussing shared information to reach actionable decisions. Group Jazz is part of the Caucus Consortium, supporting the work of groups that meet face-to-face, online, or both.

Resource Link: http://www.caucus.com

CEC Artslink

CEC ArtsLink is an international arts service organization. Our programs support exchange of artists and cultural managers in the United States with their counterparts in Central Europe, Russia and Eurasia.

Resource Link: http://www.cecartslink.org

Center for Deliberative Democracy

Housed in the Department of Communication at Stanford University and established in 2003, the Center for Deliberative Democracy is devoted to research about democracy and public opinion obtained through Deliberative Polling. Developed by Professor James S. Fishkin, Deliberative Polling is a technique which combines deliberation in small group discussions with scientific random sampling to provide public consultation for public policy and for electoral issues.

Resource Link: http://cdd.stanford.edu/

Centrinity

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: http://www.centrinity.com

CitizenPost Highly Recommended

In the summer of 2006, the Case Foundation published Cynthia Gibson's groundbreaking paper "Citizens at the Center: A New Approach to Civic Engagement." The publication generated much discussion and debate, and this blog was created to allow the conversation to continue. Focused on all things "citizen-centered" (a term which includes not only citizens, but also those who aspire to be citizens, including immigrants), the blog attempts to dig down into how we can make civic engagement, civic discourse, political involvement, volunteering, and other good practices part and parcel of everyday life rather than something people do in their spare time or occasionally.

Resource Link: http://www.citizenpost.blogspot.com

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