Summer 2004

Editors' Introduction: East Side, West Side...
by anonymous

From small gatherings and early conferences in New York and Boston, the Annual CTCNet Conference has grown in scope and traveled across the land, to Washington, DC, farther south to Atlanta and Austin and San Diego, through Pittsburgh and Chicago in the midwest, and now to the northwest, Seattle.

As the country's oldest and largest association of organizations providing technology access, education, and support to underserved communities, CTCNet represents programs ranging from basic access and support to advanced multimedia applications and wireless zones, from human services and community organizing to business and economic development.

The Annual CTCNet Conference reflects the diversity of the community technology movement, last year drawing attendance from nearly every state and twelve countries. It also reinforces the need to incorporate, rather than simply accommodate, the perspectives and talents of communities of color and people with disabilities. This year's pre-conference and schedule includes an added emphasis on disability access and assistive technology, including a special advance screening of the documentary Freedom Machines, scheduled to air nationally on PBS this fall.

Finally, in a world where daily organizational demands are generally overwhelming, the CTCNet conference represents one of the few community technology gatherings where there are reflective and thoughtful presentations and discussions that are then available in a repository for future use. As with last year, when CTC VISTAs Melissa Daigle and Dan Schackman pulled together the first special issue of the Community Technology Review to supplement the 2003 DC national conference and offer a portal to its archives, this year's similar efforts by Dan Schackman, once again, along with Ryan Turner at CTCNet and Caroline Bennett, CTC VISTA and Assistant Review editor, provide a special dimension to the conference proceedings and gathering. Like last year's issue, the articles and spotlights here and the links to the workshops that connect with presentation material provide not only a historical record of presenters and their resources, but a living archive to build upon and grow with.

There are few conferences that we know of that are able to bring together so much that is testimony to the ongoing vitality of these kinds of gatherings. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility has supported a biannual gathering to examine Directions and Implications of Advanced Computing with a community technology perspective, and the DIAC proceedings are summarized online and are available in hardcopy. The reports and evaluations of the Department of Commerce's Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) are another special resource in this regard. CTCNet's recent track record in documenting its lessons at these gatherings is exemplary. Congratulations, once again. We're pleased to support this effort. --pm & rc

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