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Digital Communiti...
The world starts ...

Furthering Openness in Information Society
The Digital Communities category awards a Golden Nica and € 20,000 to innovative projects that use digital and network-linked technologies to improve people’s lives and that display a high level of sociopolitical relevance. Submissions can begin on January 10th.

Digital Communities, a Category of Prix Ars Electronica, spotlights bold and inspired innovations impacting human coexistence—efforts to bridge the geographical as well as gender-based digital divide, to create outstanding social software and to improve access to technological-social infrastructure.

Projects appropriate for this category utilize digital and network-linked technologies to improve people’s lives. In this spirit, the aim of the new category is to single out for recognition exemplary projects from all over the world that display tremendous sociopolitical relevance and excellence in promoting social innovation. Thus, Digital Communities addresses a broad spectrum of projects, programs, initiatives and phenomena in which social innovation is taking place, as it were, in real time.

Outstanding examples are collective blogging in the Internet, spontaneously congregating flash mobs, learning, gaming and fan communities, eGovernment portals as well as innovative development projects. The 2004 winners reflect this category’s enormous breadth. Last year’s joint winners were “The World Starts With Me,” an online project promoting sex education and AIDS prevention in Uganda, and “Wikipedia,” which is making possible a new, free form of organizing knowledge.

The tremendous response—410 submissions in its very first year—has clearly shown that Digital Communities is addressing and nurturing a significant social and technological trend.

For additional information, log on to www.aec.at/prix

The 2004 Winners

The World Starts With Me

“The World Starts With Me” is a sex education and AIDS prevention project that simultaneously gives young Ugandans the opportunity to acquire Internet and computer skills. The program is aimed at school children and young adults. To reach this target group, 52 “Telecenters” (facilities equipped with IT infrastructure including PCs with Internet access) have been set up throughout Uganda. The program focuses particularly on 12- to 19-year-olds with the objective of improving their understanding of sexuality. The website features a very attractive, inviting design and takes a playful approach to mediating complicated content, which is presented in a way that enables young people to recognize situations confronting them personally in their everyday lives. This program is very popular in Uganda and is being used in many schools and institutions.


“Wikipedia” is an online encyclopedia that all Internet users can collaborate on by writing and submitting new articles or improving existing ones. The original English-language version of this encyclopedia was launched in January 2001. Three essential characteristics make the “Wikipedia” project one that is still unique in the Internet:
1. It’s based on a wiki—i.e. software that allows users themselves to revise content. “Wikipedia” is the first solidly grounded, general encyclopedia to take shape in this format. It is a community project, jointly constructed and administered.
2. The authors/creators of the texts and media in “Wikipedia” make their work available to the general public, and thus permit anyone to process the content further and disseminate it. These rights can never be restricted.
3. The number of wikipedias in other languages is increasing. There are currently wikipedias in more than 50 languages.

“Wikipedia” is living proof that content and knowledge can also organize themselves. Vandalism, although theoretically possible, is not a big problem. The community itself is continually working on the site and developing it further.

For further inquiries please contact:

Wolfgang A. Bednarzek
Ars Electronica Center
Hauptstraße 2-4, 4040 Linz

Tel.: 0043.732.7272.38
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