5. Online Resource Networks


Institute for Global Communications

  1. In terms of its organizational transition from ISP to portal site, what did IGC do wrong? What did it do right? (146-148)
  2. Did IGC's pioneer status hamper its effectiveness as an ORN over time? Why or why not? In this regard, what are some similarities and differences between IGC's organizational growth experience and Greenpeace's (as discussed in Chapter 3)? (149-150)
  3. Could IGC be considered an ORN if it were not a member of APC? Why or why not? (151)
  4. How successfully has IGC accomplished its goal to serve as a "cyberspace caucus" within the progressive community? (152)
  5. What is IGC's "overtly political mission"? Would the ORN be more or less effectual if without this mission? Why? (154-155)


  1. Is it wise for OneWorld to organize the material on its site by topic? Why or why not? Alternatively, would it have been better for the ORN to structure oneworld.net around the (autonomous) sites of partner NGOs? Why or why not? (159)
  2. How has OneWorld's willingness to embrace the Web's capabilities contributed to its success as an ORN? (160)
  3. How essential is OneWorld's organizational structure to the accomplishment of its objectives? Provide specific examples to support your answer. (161-162)
  4. How effectively does OneWorld recognize and accommodate the needs of Southern-based NGOs? How effectively does the ORN address "digital divide" issues in general? Upon which OneWorld endeavors do you base your answers? (164-167)
  5. How useful and effective are OneWorld's regionally edited editions and themed portals? Which of these endeavors contributes more significantly to the accomplishment of OneWorld's organizational goals? Why?


  1. Given the Internet's inherent nature and capabilities, how useful is this medium as a tool for global activism? Given the Internet's global reach (or lack thereof), how effective is this medium as a tool for global activism? Explain your answers, supporting them with specific examples from the chapter.
  2. Describe, and explain the significance of, the most innovative uses of the Internet by each of these two ORNs.
  3. What are the most significant differences between IGC and OneWorld? Given your answer, what could each of these ORNs learn from the other?
  4. With which of these two ORNs are you most impressed? Why?
  5. Which ORN contributes most significantly to global civil society: IGC or OneWorld? Explain your answer.


IGC: Thoreau Centers for Sustainability

Browse the website for the Thoreau Center for Sustainability, making sure to read about the shared spaces and green design.

  1. Why do you think IGC decided to locate its operations in the (San Francisco) Thoreau Center?
  2. What does this decision say, more broadly, about IGC's approach to its work?
  3. Would IGC be any more or less effectual if its offices were located in a "conventional" office building? Explain your answer.

IGC: Association for Progressive Communications

The mission of IGC and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), which IGC co-founded in 1990, is to promote the "strategic use of online technologies" by NGOs. Browse the training materials APC provides on its website.

  1. How effectively is APC meeting its goal to help NGOs use the Internet strategically? Support your position with a specific example or two.
  2. If you were director of an NGO, would you find these resources helpful? Why or why not?

OneWorld: Themed Portals

Briefly explore OneWorld's Digital Opportunity Channel.

  1. How easy is it to find information about a given topic or idea using this "themed portal"? How useful is the information? Provide examples to support your answers.
  2. What does OneWorld hope to accomplish with this site that it can't accomplish through its main site?
  3. What are some specific ways in which this site might contribute to the development of global civil society?

OneWorld: Editions

Browse a non-Western, English-language edition of OneWorld (e.g., Africa or South Asia) or a non-English language edition (e.g., Dutch or Finnish).

  1. Compare and contrast your selected edition to the main OneWorld site. How are the content and approach of your selection similar to or different from OneWorld's main site?
  2. What barriers to a (truly) global civil society does your selected edition seek to address? Via this edition, how effectively does OneWorld accomplish its objectives in this regard? Explain your answer.