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Charlotte Hess

Workshop in Political Theory & Policy Analysis, Indiana University; Information Officer, International Association for the Study of Common Property & Director, Digital Library of the Commons, Bloomington, IN

The Digital Commons: The Role of Collective Action and the Threat of Kollektive Aktionismus

This address will discuss the author's collaborative research with Elinor Ostrom which seeks to apply methodologies and lessons learned from the international work on the environmental commons. They are currently working on outlining a new research agenda for rigorous, interdisciplinary study of the complex "ecosystem" of the "knowledge commons."

Hess will give an overview of the historical and contemporary uses and meanings of the "commons," "common-pool resources," and "common property" as they apply to both natural and digital resources. With digital information there appear to be many types of commons(es).

One of the main goals of this research is to facilitate analysis of theory and action. An analytical framework used by Ostrom and colleagues will be presented that may help illuminate deeper understandings of the digital commons. This conference will provide an excellent opportunity to discuss this methodology and receive input on the viability of this approach.

The challenge is to build shared understandings and definitions in this rapidly emerging area of scholarship which will give rise to appropriate collective action. The ultimate goal is to sustain and preserve the cultural and scholarly record.

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