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For six years eChicago has brought campus and community together to talk about critical issues facing all of us. eChicago comes out of community informatics. It asks how local communities and social institutions use computers and the internet, especially in Black, Latino, and lower income communities. It’s about ending digital divides and seeing how the community can use cyberpower to end racism and poverty. The public library is the number one institution providing free computer access in the community, so we care about the past, present and future of the public library. And eChicago always links Chicago’s inner city with the suburbs, and with city, county, and state government. It’s about a more digital and more democratic Chicagoland.


The sixth annual eChicago conference took place on Friday/Saturday, April 20/21, 2012 at the University of Illinois at Chicago on the third floor of Student Center East

Below are conference documents, information on the conference organizers, and presentation, audio and video files from each session. The Twitter feed archive captures the virtual discussion that took place shortly before, during and after the event.

1. Conference documents

2. Conference staff

3. Conference sessions

  1. Chicago Public Library: Empowering citizens
  2. How is the local library serving communities in crisis and change?
  3. Does Illinois have high speed internet yet and are we using it?
  4. Is the library being reinvented for the 21st century?
  5. Grad students: Future leaders getting prepared
  6. Towards the digital transformation of Chicago's South Suburbs
  7. Reconfiguring information: New media and YOUMedia
  8. Plenary: Public policy & the information revolution in the county
  9. Edit your city: Collaborative media in the 21st century
  10. Tech in the Hood
  11. Workshop: How to build a local wiki
  12. eChicago as global network: China and Chinese Chicago
  13. State policy and practice to span the digital divide
  14. Chicago hip hop, the digital hustle & social justice
  15. Workshop: Digital tools for cultural heritage
  16. Developing Our Vision

4. Twitter archive


Conference documents


  1. Conference program
  2. Conference flier
  3. Hip hop panel general flier
  4. Hip hop panel UIUC flier
  5. Email blasts text
  6. Technology inventory

Conference staff


eChicago is organized by the Community Informatics Research Lab at the Graduate School of Library & Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Lab is co-directed by Drs. Abdul Alkalimat and Kate Williams. Other conference staff this year from the Lab and School included Shameem Ahmed, Haixia Cao, Patti Grove, Adrian Kok, Noah Lenstra, Ping Li, Quiyuan Liu, Aysha Marsh, Abigail Sackmann, Diana Stroud, Brian Zelip and Kang Zhao.


Conference sessions


Session 1: Chicago Public Library: Empowering citizens

Chicago Public Library has many old friends and a new director.  What do we need to know about its history in order to guarantee its future?  Joyce speaks from her dual identity as the first IT director of CPL and then a scholar of the library’s history.

Kate Williams, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Opening
Joe Hoereth, University of Illinois at Chicago, Welcome
Joyce Latham, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

presentation slides:
Joyce Latham pdf

audio:

Session 1 audio

video:


Session 2: How is the local library serving communities in crisis and change?

The library depends on its patrons and the local community, and vice versa.  What happens to this relationship when communities are under stress?  When technologies are in flux?

Kang Chiu, Friends of Rogers Park Branch of Chicago Public Library
Brooke Bahnsen, Fremont Public Library
Rose Peterson, Rockford Public Library
Will Kent, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chair

presentation slides:
Brooke Bahnsen pdf

audio:

Session 2 audio

video:


Session 3: Does Illinois have high speed internet yet and are we using it?

What projects are being implemented? Are they working as they should? What plans exist for when the funds end? These panelists are either managing or studying the high speed internet rollout.

Dionne Baux, LISC Chicago
Jim Ciesla, Northern Illinois University
Tracy Felty, Saline County E-911
Gene Loeb, Center for CI Technology for Mental Health of Older Persons
Matt Parks, Northern Illinois University
Abigail Sackmann, Unversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chair

presentation slides:
Dionne Baux pdf
Jim Ciesla pdf
Tracy Felty pdf
Matt Parks pdf

audio:

Session 3 audio

video:


Session 4: Is the library being reinvented for the 21st century?

How are computers changing the local public library? What is the future of downloading and uploading digital info in the library?  What skills will 21st century librarians need?

Norma Lugo-Gulyas, Wilbur Wright College
John Spears, Naperville Public Library
Sarah Tansley, Chicago Public Library
Hilary Lee, Chicago Public Library, Chair

presentation slides:
Sarah Tansley pdf

audio:

Session 4 audio

video:


Session 5: Graduate students: Future leaders getting prepared

What courses and research projects are we engaged in? What jobs are we preparing for? What projects can we collaborate on from different institutions? What’s working, what else can we do?

Noah Lenstra, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chair

audio:

Session 5 audio

video:


Session 6: Towards the digital transformation of Chicago's South Suburbs

This session focusses on the hardest hit suburbs.  Does the suburban municipality have Internet connectivity and use policies and programs? Where are the digital divides between Chicago and the suburbs, or inside the suburbs?  Where do we go?

Vivian Covington, University Park, IL
Keisha Hart McCaskill, Human Development Center
David Johnson, South Suburban Community College
Greg Wass, Cook County
Rusty Winchel, Northern Illinois University Outreach
Abdul Alkalimat, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chair

presentation slides:
Vivian Covington pdf
Rusty Winchel pdf

audio:

Session 6 audio

video:


Session 7: Reconfiguring information: New media and YOUMedia

How is old media being reinvented with digital technology? Will professional journalism survive? How does new media change the definition of literacy?  How is the public library involved?

Billy Belchev, Webitects
Mike Hawkins, YOUMedia
Jeff Kelly-Lowenstein, Hoy
Demetrio Maguigad, Community Media Workshop, Chair

presentation slides:
Billy Belchev pdf
Brother Mike Hawkins pdf

audio:

Session 7 audio

video:


Session 8: Public Policy and the Information Revolution in Cook County

What are the current policies for high speed internet connectivity? Given budget crises will there still be funding to end the digital divide? What best practices are there in Illinois?  What are the next steps?

Kate Williams, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Opening
Greg Wass, Cook County
David Johnson, South Suburban Community College, Response

presentation slides:
Greg Wass pdf
Kate Williams pdf

audio:

Session 8 audio

video:


Session 9: Edit Your City: Collaborative Media in the 21st Century

Can a wiki take a whole community into cyberspace? What is a local wiki? What are the best practices of a local wiki?  What differences does it make for the life of a community?

Abdul Alkalimat, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Opening
Philip Neustrom, LocalWiki

presentation slides:
Philip Neustrom pdf

video:


Session 10: Tech in the hood

In low income communities, why focus on the digital divide? How can we create more computer literate “hoodies?” Why is Facebook so popular?  Is it important to diversify what people do?  How?

Chris Hamb, Chrisp Media
Elizabeth Rosas-Landa, The Resurrection Project
Jami Thompson, Chicago Public Library, Chair

presentation slides:
Chris Hamb pdf
Elizabeth Rosas-Landa pdf

audio:

Session 10 audio

video:


Session 11: Workshop: How to build a local community wiki

What is the digital footprint of the community? How can all digital info of a community be aggregated? How can someone upload new info?  This session will explain how to start a wiki and ways to keep it going.  How have they worked so far?

Philip Neustrom, LocalWiki
Brian Zelip, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chair

audio:

Session 11 audio

video:


Session 12: eChicago as global network: China and Chinese Chicago

China is a rising power and it’s here in Chicago and Illinois.  How is Beijing “informatizing” its communities?  What do various digital connections between China and the US look like?  How is the history of Chinese Chicago part of the future?

Cao Haixia, Peking University
Adrian Kok, Dominican University
Andrea Stamm, Chinese American Museum of Chicago
Kang Zhao, Peking University
Sophia Hu, Chicago Public Library, Chair

presentation slides:
Cao Haixia pdf
Adrian Kok pdf
Andrea Stamm pdf
Kang Zhao pdf

audio:

Session 12 audio

video:


Session 13: State policy and practice to span the digital divide

What is the current program to end the digital divide in Illinois? What kinds of projects use these resources? What’s working and what still needs to be done?

Brian Bell, Parkland College
Kara Kennedy, Lumity
Joey Mak, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Abdul Alkalimat, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chair

presentation slides:
Brian Bell pdf
Kara Kennedy pdf

audio:

Session 13 audio

video:


Session 14: Chicago hip hop, the digital hustle & social justice

Organized discussions regarding the hip hop community, outside of actual cultural performance, have existed since at least the early 1980s. These discussions have become more frequent and widespread, especially as generations who've grown up with hip hop mature, and as universities, political campaigns and business models increasingly look to them for engagement and profit. This session explores a bottom-up approach to technology and networking by featuring four hip hop artists from Chicago who are leading best practices using new digital tools for community building and social consciousness.

Babyface Monster, Chi-Bangerz.com
Mike Hawkins, YOUMedia
Psalm One, PsalmOne.tv
Brian Zelip, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chair

presentation slides:
Babyface Monster pdf
Brian Zelip pdf & literature display zotero ris

audio:

Session 14 audio

video:


Session 15: Workshop: Digital tools for cultural heritage

People around the world are using technology to share and to stay connected to cultural heritage. New ways to search for roots and share culture emerge online. This workshop discusses simple social and technical procedures you can use to get involved in community and family history digitization. Topics covered include: basic digitization, using Omeka (http://www.omeka.org) to build digital libraries and museums, organizing communities around digital cultural heritage, and using digital cultural heritage in face-to-face settings, such as school assemblies or family reunions. The workshop's theme is: Everyone can do something now to contribute to the construction of universal designs for sharing local and family histories online.

Noah Lenstra, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chair

presentation slides:
Noah Lenstra pdf

audio:

Session 15 audio

video:


Session 16: Developing Our Vision

What three main points of the conference need to be remembered? What is your personal eChicago goal for the next year? What should eChicago 2013 be about?

Charles Benton, Benton Foundation
Alejandro Luis Molina, Caja del Agua Studios
Frances Roehm, Skokie Public Library
Kate Williams, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abdul Alkalimat, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chair

audio:

Session 16 audio

video:


Twitter archive


Corporate clouds blow away. eChicago 2011 tweets were not archived immediately following the event, then they disappeared. This year the virtual discussion via Twitter has been archived via Storify. As the conversation continues to expand so will the archive.

#eChicago 2012 tweets archive







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