Community Informatics Research Network (CIRN) 2004 Sustainability and Community Technology: What Does this Mean for Community Informatics? Monash Centre, September 29 - October 1, 2004, Prato, Italy
Community Exchange (CE) is the most successful online information network for the non-profit sector in Ireland. CE is also an online counter-public sphere, a space where alternative messages can be produced and exchanged outside the mainstream media and public sphere. CE emerged within specific Irish research, policy and practice contexts. It consists of a free-to-users email bulletin and website containing news and information produced by and for the community and voluntary sector. Since its modest beginnings in October 1999, CE has grown to include more than 3,600 subscribers in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, primarily staff and volunteers from non-profit organisations. This paper contributes practical experiences from Ireland about an online community information network for the non-profit sector, including a discussion of its sustainability. The results of a recent survey of CE subscribers demonstrated strong support for CE and a resistance to introducing commercial advertising or paid subscriptions, highlighting the challenge to sustainability. The case study of CE suggests that an online counter-public sphere can be sustained in Ireland with the ongoing contribution of considerable volunteer resources. The study suggests that financial sustainability is the biggest single challenge for the sustainability of a counter-public sphere.
Community Informatics Research Network (CIRN) 2004 Sustainability and Community Technology: What Does this Mean for Community Informatics? Monash Centre [Proceedings].