Interesting Berkman webcast on "Information"

Having done ICT work in development for a while now, it is easy to get lost in the technologies (and even more so, the politics). It's great to get a chance to step back into theory and philosophy at revisit the entire concept of 'Information', which was what David Weinberger's presentation was about at Berkman last week.  Materials including webcast here, or you can read the draft of the presentation at David's blog post.


What Information Was

David Weinberger, Berkman Center

Tuesday, November 10, 12:30 pm
Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
RSVP required for those attending in person (
This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET and archived on our site shortly after.
It's puzzling that even though we named an age after information, very few people can tell you what information is. And the ones with the clearest answers are often defining information in the technical sense, which is not the sense in which the culture took it up. In this session, we'll look back at information, trying to understand what about it led us to embrace it as the dominant -- paradigmatic -- way of understanding ourselves and our world. David Weinberger will present an informal sketch of a direction, suggesting that we leaped into information because it reflected a long-held but squirrely metaphysics. There will be lots of time for open discussion.

First ever #ICT4D Twitter Chat

I attended the first ever #ICt4D Twitter Chat. Actually it was also my first twitter chat. Organized by ICTWorks/Inveneo, it was cool to connect with others interested in ICT4D on Twitter. Wow- it was a challenge keeping things to 140 characters, though! The official announcement is here, and here is a transcript of the chat. It was a first chat, so it was all over the place in terms of topics, but it was awesome to find others interested in the same area of work (though I'm still crying out to connect with others interested in ICT for Law!). ICTWorks is also asking for feedback and ideas on topics, so let them know! Why pick the Elgg platform?

Following my previous post on as a social networking site running on the Elgg platform, I was curious about Elgg. 

While Facebook and Linkin are social networking sites that allow some functionality for creating networks within networks, Elgg is like Ning, probably the most popular and well-known social networking platform, that allows you to create your very own social network. However, unlike Ning, Elgg is open source, allows more owner control - including the branding, the domain name, the features, the design, the community rule, or even the database, and lets you run your social network on your own server. Elgg operates on a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySql and Php) environment and it is easy to install and configure.  Elgg also won best open source social networking platform in InfoWorld's 2008 Best Of Open Source Awards, which might indicate why UNESCO used Elgg for the site. in 2008 chose these Elgg as the best open-source social networking software, followed by mahara, Loved by Less, Xoops with Yogurt social network extension, and AROUNDMe. Read more details here. Makeuseof selected Ning, Snappville and CollectiveX as the top three hosted social networking sites for non-geeks (details here).

WSIS Community turns into a Web 2.0 Social Network (

I chanced upon a Web 2.0y community site for WSIS that is linked to the WSIS Forum 2010 announcement page on ITU's site. The site is called simply 'WSIS' community, is located at, and powered by Elgg (an open source social networking platform). The site looks pretty new, with a few groups and very little content. 

On further probing (there is no 'about' page on the site), I found out that it was created by UNESCO and launched  earlier this year at the annual WSIS follow up meeting in May.  

Pre-launch announcement from UNESCO's site:

“It is good to see how the WSIS follow-up is evolving with the technological and related social developments,” says Mr Khan, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information. “Facebook, You Tube, Twitter and blogging provide entirely new tools for putting many of the WSIS visions into reality.” 

At the Geneva Forum next week, UNESCO will launch its WSIS community platform, which includes blogging, Facebook-like features and the possibility to insert your Twitter in your personalized online platform dashboard, etc. “This platform was requested by the WSIS community, has incredible potential and will also make the follow-up process more inclusive,” says Miriam Nisbet, Director of the Information Society Division. She adds: “The platform will facilitate our WSIS related discussions, networking and information sharing. It is an Open Source product with great features and the possibility to evolve with the WSIS community.” (Readers are invited to explore and take a sneak preview at:"

Microjustice handbook by ILA

Micorjustice, now having the experiences of two (still ongoing) pilots in Bolivia and Peru, has published a pdf version of Microjustice handbook that summarizes a 'how to' and 'lessons learned' from the two pilots. The handbook is available in English and Spanish, and you can download it for free (with or without providing your information in a form). You can find the description of the book, as well as the book itself, via the link below

ASIL 104th Annual Meeting- International Law at a Time of Change, 24-27, 2010, Washington DC

Visit for more conference details.

With over a century of tradition and experience behind it, ASIL's Annual Meeting has become the most important gathering in the field of international law. More than 1,000 practitioners, academics, and students travel to Washington, DC, each spring from all over the world to debate and discuss the latest developments in their field. ASIL's 104th Annual Meeting, which will reflect on the theme "International Law in a Time of Change" will be held March 24-27, 2010 at The Ritz Carlton in Washington, DC.

The current moment provides many challenges and opportunities for both international law and the international lawmaking process. Today's substantive issues - from armed conflict to climate change to the financial crisis to terrorism - have generated much new thinking about international legal rules and structures; at the same time, efforts to create new law implicate the interests of, and require the cooperation of, new and existing actors and institutions at many levels of governance. Our traditional models of international law are seeking to adapt to changing norms, approaches to governance, and governmental and nongovernmental actors - a process made more dynamic by the early approach the Obama Administration has adopted towards international problem-solving. For others, these new approaches pose problematic challenges to the existing international legal order.

The 2010 American Society of International Law Annual Meeting will grapple with these issues. Panels and other fora will present a broad range of perspectives on the remaking of international law through new modes of lawmaking, new methods of global governance, new actors engaging international and transnational problems, and new substantive rules to address evolving and complex problems.

Through this exploration, the 2010 Annual Meeting will consider the extent to which this time of change on so many fronts does and should impact the nature of international lawmaking. How, if at all, can the model of sovereign and equal nation states consenting to law encompass the increasing roles of subnational, nongovernmental, and corporate actors and the networks interconnecting them? In what ways should the making of treaties and customary international law include new actors and approaches? Which existing and new fora should be available to them? What new international institutions or institutional reforms do contemporary challenges demand? How will the embrace of new institutions and actors - or the failure to embrace them -affect the legitimacy of international law? What dangers or challenges to the international legal system do new approaches to international lawmaking present? Above all, what new substantive norms are required, and how should they be achieved?

The American Society of International Law, with its membership of leading scholars and practitioners of international law from around the world, is uniquely situated to provide an unparalleled exploration of international lawmaking in this time of change. We hope you will join this exciting conversation at the 2010 Annual Meeting.
March 24-27, 2010
The Ritz-Carlton
1150 22nd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037