The setting for this book is the networked community. The treatment of the subject matter is broad and interdisciplinary, with contributions from computer science, sociology, design, human factors and communication technology.
The chapter contributors, drawn from across Europe and North America, offer a varied prospectus of commentary, critique, sociological enquiry, technological development and research findings, which provides a rounded account of the progressive intermingling of social and electronic networks.
The contributors discuss the ways in which the Internet affects both familial and social relationships, communal and civic involvement, social capital and work patterns and lifestyle. Civic intelligence is presented as a nascent concept from which future social networks of increased public advocacy, scrutiny and action may be sourced. Other reported developments include agent-based community systems to model and support communal memory and social knowledge.
The opening section provides a purview of the broad scene covered by the book, followed by discussions about the current state of connected communities. Following this there are case studies illustrating the different aspects of research, both sociological and technological, in this area. The final part reports the variety and the scope of technology-mediated human-to-human communication in a connected community setting today.