Digital Habitats – stewarding technology for communities
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Digital Habitats: stewarding technology for communities by Wenger, White and Smith, has been out for two years and it has had numerous positive reviews. The book is well written, indeed, and it is extremely clear and enjoyable to read.
The book focuses on the area where the interplay between technology and communities intersects, which the authors identify as “digital habitats”. In practical terms, a digital habitat is “the portion of a community that is enabled by a configuration of technologies” (p38). A digital habitat, like its biological counterpart, is a dynamic entity, which needs to adapt to environmental changes. It is thus important to determine its technological landscape and the space for maneuvering in it. The authors introduce the concept of “technology stewardship” to refer to the emerging practice of helping a community “choose, configure, and use technologies to best suit its needs” (p 24). These activities are carried out by certain members of the community, the “technology stewards”, who take a leadership role.
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