Vol 4 (2001)

Editorial Changes
In order to share the workload and to inject fresh insights into the editorial process, the editorial team of EJISDC has decided to rotate the role of Editor-in-Chief. Accordingly, Robert Davison of the Department of Information Systems at the City University of Hong Kong will take over for forthcoming editions in 2001. At the same time, we will be transferring the main site of the journal to CityU’s web site and the new url is http://www.ejisdc.org.

Volume 4 presents a special edition on telecentres. Volume 5 will focus on health information systems. EJISDC welcomes contributions relating to the design, development, implementation, management and evaluation of information systems and technologies in developing countries. Manuscripts can be sent to any of the editorial team.

Volume 4. Special Edition on Telecentres
Telecentres, Community Informatics and Development: What Do We Know Now? A special edition of the EJISDC on Telecentres guest edited by Michael Gurstein and Roger Harris.

Telecentres (also known as Community Communication Centres, Infoshops, Telecottages, Community Access Centres and others) have emerged in the last ten years as the primary means for providing public access to a range of telecommunications services and particularly the Internet. Beginning in Northern Europe, the approach has spread quickly throughout the world with current estimates as to total numbers ranging (depending on the definition) into the tens if not low hundreds of thousands.

Telecentres are currently being developed as community hubs for linking the range of opportunities presented by Information and Communications Technologies (ICT's) with economic and social development efforts at the local level. As telecentres do not depend on the model of individual access to ICTs that predominates in the developed world, they are especially relevant to the needs of developing countries.

Telecentres are providing solutions to a host of development problems concerned with the digital divide; community access to information; health and wellness initiatives; e-democracy; e-government; cultural and indigenous knowledge preservation; rural and agricultural development; and electronic commerce.

In this edition we present five papers that address a range of telecentre issues that will be of interest to practitioners,researchers and policy makers in developing countries that see telecentres as a means of spreading the benefits of information access more widely among their populations.

Judy Young, Gail Ridley and Jeff Ridley report on 18 community online access centres in their paper “A Preliminary Evaluation of Online Access Centres: Promoting Micro E-Business Activity in Small, Isolated Communities.” The study took place in Tasmania where the centres were established to redress some of the disadvantages of living and working in rural regions. Although not considered “developing country” in our normal usage, the results are highly relevant as they indicate that online access centres do promote e-business activity in small, isolated communities - typical conditions for millions of developing country inhabitants.

In “Comparing Urban and Rural telecentres Costs”, Hani Shakeel, Michael Best, Bruno Miller and Sam Weber compare the costs of urban and rural telecentres in Costa Rica, suggesting that telecentre operations in rural areas may not be significantly more expensive than those of an urban telecentre, important news for the vast majority of developing country inhabitants.

Katherine Reilly and Ricardo Gómez take a highly practical look at telecentre evaluation in “Comparing Approaches: Telecentre Evaluation Experiences in Asia and Latin America.” Their paper reports on some of the experiences of Canada’s International Development Research Centre, a key player in the telecentre movement in developing countries. Their analysis provides useable guidelines for telecentre evaluation and provides a common framework for assessing individual telecentre experiences.

In “Building a Knowledge Infrastructure for Learning Communities, ” Kate O’Dubhchair, James K. Scott, Thomas G. Johnson and Frank E. Miller take a theoretical look at knowledge infrastructures and their applicability to social and economic development. Their experiences are drawn from developed world examples, but their observations are firmly grounded within global trends whose consequences will be felt acutely by communities in the developing world that look to telecentres to provide an improved supply of information for solutions to their development problems.

In “True Stories – Telecentres in Latin America & the Caribbean,” Patrik Hunt provides a fascinating account of a collection of stories that was designed to give voice to the people who offer community-level telecentre services. In this “state of the field” account, story contributors point to a host of problems faced by their communities which explicitly informed the design and conception of telecentre services. The stories add to a deeper understanding of the uses and possibilities for telecentres in community development efforts in the region.

Table of Contents

In this Volume, the downloads# is the number of downloads since April 2005. The total number of downloads, i.e. since the original publication date, is not available.

Research Papers

A Preliminary Evaluation of Online Access Centres: Promoting Micro E-Business Activity in Small, Isolated Communities PDF
Judy Young, Gail Ridley, Jeff Ridley # of downloads: 4206

Comparing Urban and Rural Telecenters Costs PDF
Hani Shakeel, Michael Best, Bruno Miller, Sam Weber # of downloads: 6587

Comparing Approaches: Telecentre Evaluation Experiences in Asia and Latin America PDF
Katherine Reilly, Ricardo Gómez # of downloads: 5184

Building a Knowledge Infrastructure for Learning Communities PDF
Kate O'Dubhchair, James K. Scott, Thomas G. Johnson # of downloads: 7549

True Stories: Telecentres in Latin America and the Caribbean PDF
Patrik Hunt, Somos@telecentros # of downloads: 7373

The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries.
ISSN: 1681-4835 www.ejisdc.org