Digital Divide Network

From Academic Kids

The EDC Center for Media & Community in Newton, Massachusetts produces and coordinates the Digital Divide Network (DDN). The network seeks to narrow the digital divide. The website serves as an online community of activists, policymakers, researchers and concerned citizens interested in sharing knowledge to help bridge the digital divide.

DDN was originally launched as the Digital Divide Clearinghouse in October 1999. The Clearinghouse was a section of a larger web portal called Helping.org. Launched by the AOL Foundation, the Benton Foundation, the National Urban League and other institutions, Helping.org was dedicated to volunteerism, technology capacity building for nonprofits and charitable giving. Two months after the website was launched, Bill Clinton hosted a national Digital Divide Summit in Washington D.C. During the meeting, representatives from civil society and the private sector met with Clinton; soon, the idea was hatched to create a new national Web portal dedicated to bridging the digital divide. This decision led to the Digital Divide Clearinghouse spinning off from Helping.org to become a new website, The Digital Divide Network (http://www.digitaldividenetwork.org), which was launching in December 1999 by the Benton Foundation.

In its five years online, DDN has become a leading website for organizations interested in sharing news, research and other resources to help bridge the digital divide. The site has become more international as well, with users from more than 75 countries. In February 2004, the site and its senior staff relocated to Massachusetts to move their operation to the Education Development Center (http://www.edc.org) (EDC), as part of the creation of a new institute called the EDC Center for Media & Community (http://cmc.edc.org). DDN is managed by director Andy Carvin, editor Cedar Pruitt and a team of graduate school interns.

Features of the Digital Divide Network

As a virtual initiative, DDN's activities largely take place on the Internet. Its website, http://www.digitaldivide.net, was relaunched in December 2004 at the time of its fifth anniversary. The website is a collection of online communities covering a range of issues, from the availability of Internet access to ICT literacy to e-government. DDN members are able to create their own online communities as well, each with their own articles, news and events listings, bulletin board discussions, document storage and other features. DDN members may also create their own blog using DDN's free blogging tool.

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