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Digital Habitats: Stewarding Technology for Communities 1st Edition

15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0982503607
ISBN-10: 0982503601
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: CPsquare; 1st edition (August 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982503601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982503607
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Shawn D. Callahan on September 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm often the technology steward for communities of practice (CoP). I create the Ning spaces and configure `em, I setup the email lists, I work out whether we should have a wiki or a blog or a discussion forum or some other combination of communication technologies. As you can see I'm quite a geek: I really do love it.

And whenever I get stuck I'll contact my friends at CPSquare: Etienne, Nancy and John. And while I know they all have a deep understanding of CoPs I tend to ask Etienne the theory questions, Nancy the technology questions and John the group dynamics questions. Together they are a formidable team. Sadly I think their new book, Digital Habitats, will give them strong cause to suggest I should RTFM: Read The Flipping Manual.

Digital Habitats (DH) has a single goal: to help the reader understand the role of technology steward in cultivating a community of practice: what is it, why you would do it, are you are cut out for it, how to do it and where to find help. But it is not a shoppers guide nor a roadmap for technology selection.

There is a lovely photo of Etienne, Nancy and John in the preface and I feel that reading DH is like have a friendly conversation with them on a sunny balcony. They provide the context, a little theory, then lots of practical tips supported by real life stories to ground it and make it memorable.

For me there are three ideas in this book I have already put into practice with great effect.

Experience shows us that all know that communities of practice are different, and sometimes poles apart. DH introduces the idea of community orientations to help us understand where the emphasis might lie and therefore what technologies make most sense.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Makowski on September 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is aptly named. More and more we inhabit a digital world. Our communications are mediated by digital devices. Our connections with other people can be enhanced through good digital tools or weakened by poor ones, or ones that do not serve the purpose at hand. We have large toolbox of digital devices we can use. This book helps explain what this means for building and nourishing communities. While being a very good source for digital tools, its real strength is approaching the digital world from a people and community point-of-view.

I have years of experience leading a large university IT group. This book would have been very helpful in helping us formulate plans for our social networks. Today, I am spending more time in leading a small team for a non-profit Buddhist organization, Nalandabodhi. We are deciding on what combination of digital technologies we can use to enhance the connections in a community that is spread out across North America and beyond. How do we build a deeper sense of community. How do we connect with each other, especially from different locations. How do we use technology to help us with connections and understanding. How can we be more effective at developing our programs, at fund raising, at realizing the vision for the organization.

Chapter 10 is particularly helpful with plenty of recipes and ideas. It will help us get organized; decide what kinds of tools will work best for our different purposes, and will help guide our organization through the implementation and beyond. I will be able to use a lot of it to help me organize my thoughts and communicate ideas to my team and others. I really like the diagrams - they are very rich and very helpful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Szpakowski on December 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
Wanted: Technology Stewards for the emerging hybrid online/real-life communities and societies. This book is a job description for that role, which stays in touch with the character and intentions of a community of practice, as those get reflected in and transformed through social software tools. This book is about how to cook with those tools, adapting the current year's available techy ingredients to best allow the community to find itself both in the online world, and through that, more effectively in the "real" world.

The target reader, the technology steward, the practitioner of community husbandry in the technology garden, can listen to the story of the community, and can also attend to the details of software tools, technologies, and devices (wikis, blogs, IM, smart phones, OpenSocial, Google Wave, ...). The trick is that social software technology is in an unusual phase of rapid evolutionary development, where great opportunities arise, but not everything succeeds, and no one tool does it all. This book is not about the specifics of such tools - there are many books and resources for that. Instead, it is about the patterns and best practices for how to bring community and online forms together in appropriate mosaics, how to look at a community's orientations and intentions, and be able to speak to and for that community in a tech-savvy way. This job did not exist a decade ago. Every community is realizing it needs someone(s) to fill that job. This book hits that sweet spot.
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Format: Paperback
Lots of learning potential is generated by the interplay between technology and community. Technology for community use has become an important area of practice, and it needs to be developed and nurtured to yield its full potential. People who take on the task of making this happen are called technology stewards. Technology stewards usually are members of an online community addressing a domain of knowledge. they search for better ways to serve their communities. The book's 11 chapters define the notion of technology stewardship intellectually, historically, and practically; offer three models for thinking about technology in communities; describe the evolving practice of stewarding technology, and addresses the future of technology stewardship. This is an inspiring book and I recommend it. For my purposes, the book would have been stronger with a few detailed profiles or case studies of stewards and how they worked within their communities. The authors have, however, created two online spaces that offer rich supplemental resources: a group blog and a tools wiki.
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