Community Informatics

A Visualization Tool and Assessment Framework for Civic Technology Use in the DMV Area: The Case of 311 Systems During the COVID-19 Outbreak

The 311 systems that city officials currently deploy can efficiently detect non-emergency civic issues such as potholes and trash. From a socio-technical perspective, residents can re-appropriate the technology for their own purpose adding new capacities and affordances not initially intended. For example, when Hurricane Irma hit Miami in 2017, residents used 311 systems to report disaster-related issues, which led city officials to adapt the system by creating a new category.

Multi-Generational Stories of Urban Renewal: Preliminary Interviews for Map-based Storytelling

Urban renewal was a project of the American government that aimed to reconstruct poor urban neighborhoods. Because community-level data that shows the underlying mechanisms of urban renewal has not been curated in a systematic way, due to the complexity and volume of the relevant archival collections, we aim to digitally curate property acquisition documents from the urban renewal projects that affected the Southside neighborhood of the city of Asheville, North Carolina, in the form of a map-based, interactive web application. This paper reports early findings from interviews.

Toward Understanding Civic Data Bias in 311 Systems: An Information Deserts Perspective

While civic technologies for public issues and services such as 311 systems are widely adopted in many U.S. cities, the impact of the emerging civic technologies and their datalevel dynamics are unclear. Because the provision patterns of civic issues to technological systems are different across neighborhoods and populations, it is difficult for city officials to understand whether the provided data itself reflects civic issues. Also, the disparities in the information provided to civic technologies in different neighborhoods may exacerbate the existing inequality.

A Theoretical Analysis of Independent Business Owners’ Preferences for Informal Information Sources

Independent business owners often prefer informal information sources to formal ones such as library collections. Part of these preferences is rational because contextual and application-oriented information is usually available from informal sources, which are theoretically the best matches for this kind of information. This suggests that, in addition to outreach strategies, efforts to integrate informal sources of business-relevant information can improve public libraries' ability to support independent business owners' information needs.

Cultural Activity Diversity and Community Characteristics: An Exploratory Study

Cultural diversity has been conceptualized and studied in diverse ways. On the one hand, cultural diversity can be conceptualized based on people’s ethnic and national backgrounds. On the other hand, cultural dimensions are defined based on individuals' behaviors and traits. Sociologists further categorize the latter depending on the degree of typicality in cultural artifacts/activities and individuals’ omnivorousness over cultural tastes.

Local Information Landscapes: Theory, Measures, and Evidence

To understand issues about information accessibility within communities, research studies have examined human, social, and technical factors by taking a sociotechnical view. While this view provides a profound understanding of how people seek, use, and access information, this approach tends to overlook the impact of the larger structures of information landscapes that constantly shape peoples access to information.

KNEXT: Data Analytics to Support Innovation Communities

KNEXT is a three-year collaborative project between Kent State University (KSU-SLIS) and the University of Maryland (UMD-CIS), which partners with local public libraries, small business development centers, economic development organizations, and community advocacy groups to bring advanced data analytics and business intelligence (DA&BI) services to public libraries in order to support small businesses, entrepreneurs, and community advocates within two recovering communities in Ohio and Maryland.

Identifying Urban Neighborhood Names through User-contributed Online Property Listings

Neighborhoods are vaguely defined, localized regions that share similar characteristics. They are most often defined, delineated, and named by the citizens that inhabit them rather than municipal government or commercial agencies. The names of these neighborhoods play an important role as a basis for community and sociodemographic identity, geographic communication, and historical context.

Making Information Deserts Visible: Computational Models, Disparities in Civic Technology Use, and Urban Decision Making

This research will develop a foundational tool for understanding how civic technologies are used and how information inequalities manifest in a city. User data from new civic technologies that reveal inequalities in the information environments of citizens has only recently become available. Since a large portion of data is demographically or geospatially biased due to varying human-data relationships, computational social scientists have used data modeling and algorithmic techniques to adjust the data and remove biases during data-processing.

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