Search our web site:





Throughout history diverse scientific, engineering, and artistic communities have cultivated knowledge by establishing institutions, organizations and associations focused on generating it. There have been other kinds of institutions such as libraries, archives and museums that have also preserved and disseminated knowledge. Furthermore, each popular culture has produced its own traditions and shared knowledge. For instance, legends, songs, dances, and recipes have become a constitutive common good of communities and ethnic groups. However, these communities and institutions have never been able to establish a civil society based on knowledge because the diverse knowledge communities have remained isolated from each other in linguistic, geographic, socio-political, and academic terms.


Currently, some argue that a knowledge society might be possible due to the development and widespread use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). These technologies have brought about changes in the ways of production, exchange, distribution and storage of knowledge. Particularly, the Internet has provided the ability for individuals and groups to create new knowledge communities—from Web forums to virtual communities and online social networks—within the current frame of the so-called Web 2.0 and cloud computing. In turn, traditional knowledge communities have adapted to the new digital and electronic technological context constituting new communities of practice that develop e-science, free software, electronic art, and new technologies of production, exchange, distribution, and preservation of information and knowledge. In addition, popular cultures have begun to utilize ICTs and the Internet despite the fact that there is a deep digital divide among countries, socio-economic sectors, gender and generations.


This interdisciplinary conference will focus on whether such a plurality of communities can generate real knowledge societies that could potentially contribute to economic, social and political advantages for the whole of the population, facilitating technological development and innovation. It will also analyze the factors that may or may not favor such a goal and study which models of distribution and appropriation of knowledge are preferable for the creation of free, fair, and democratic knowledge societies in the twenty-first century.

The conference will also discuss the complexity of the knowledge communities within the aforementioned context by focusing on five broad types of knowledge communities:

  1. Scientific and engineering

  2. Artistic

  3. Online

  4. Free knowledge

  5. Librarians and archivists

In addition to the analysis of the evolution of each one of these communities towards networks of knowledge, the conference will also deal with the specific relations and convergences between these communities and networks, as well as the values that guide their respective practices.

Conference Home | Organizers | Participants | Schedule | Center for Basque Studies