Resources on Building Online Communities

Blog On: Building Online Communities with Web Logs

Stauffer, Todd. 2002.

This book explains the basics of blogs, reviews popular blog tools, and shows how to build an active community around your blog site.

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

Palloff, Rena M. and Keith Pratt. 1999.

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

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. Also visit to see Victoria's list of additional community building resources.

Community Answers

A useful resource for community builders, community users, moderators, managers, owners to get advice about building quality online communities.

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

Kim, Amy Jo. Peachpit Press, 2000.

Introduces nine essential strategies for creating true community online. Companion website:

Design for Community: The Art of Connecting Real People in Virtual Places

Powazek, Derek M. 2001.

A text showing how to design a website, keeping in mind the idea of creating and encouraging virtual community. Features interviews with leaders in the industry, explaining their solutions for fostering positive Web communities.


E-mint is an independent organization of community professionals and anyone interested in the theory or practice of online communities. Headquartered in London, the 3-year-old organization focuses on European issues. E-mint members include academic and commercial managers, policy makers, researchers and developers from small independent organisations to large corporate interests. E-mint provides an online space for discussion and holds monthly meetings in London.

Provides resources for facilitators and moderators of online discussion. Includes an annotated list of articles and other materials to help you set up, maintain, and have a successful experience with online dialogue.

Full Circle Associates

Maintains a rich collection of resources aimed at helping online community builders stay informed on current trends, and obtain technical assistance and advice.

Hosting Web Communities: Building Relationships, Increasing Customer Loyalty, and Maintaining a Competitive Edge

Figallo, Cliff. 1998.

This is the most complete "how to" book I've seen on the subject. Topics include a taxonomy of online communities and their differing needs, choosing software, facilitating discussions, building relationships, and revenue models. The author knows the territory extremely well, having played a key role in developing communities at The WELL, America Online, and Salon Magazine. If you only read one book about building online communities, make it this one.

How to Start a Forum

Green, Michael. 2003.

This downloadable e-book is a simple "getting-started" guide for novices looking to set up a web forum and capitalize on the attention it draws.

Links to trainings in managing/creating online communities, relevant software, etc.

Online Communities: Designing Usability, Supporting Sociability

Preece, Jenny. 2000.

This book focuses on the issue of software design for online communities. Jenny Preece has a strong background in software usability. Here she combines academic research with practical advice to provide valuable insight into how good software infrastructure can help an online community to succeed.

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.


This site is designed as an independent, objective, and comprehensive index of tools and resources in the area of online communication, including conferencing, collaborative work, e-learning, and online communities. Both commercial and freeware tools are covered.

Provides a great list of online community-building tools, including email list hosts, message board platforms, and forums for community-building practitioners.


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