Project Viennese Non-Profit Organisations and Modern ICT: Use, Barriers, Needs, Demands, Expectations

Nowadays many Viennese NGOs have their own Web site, run their own blogs, use e-mail for sending out newsletters, and retrieve information on the WWW, but around 1998 the situation was quite different, last, but not least because of higher costs for hardware and online activities. In 1998 and 1999 the Science Shop Vienna investigated within two independent projects how Viennese non-profit organisations made use of modern ICT such as the Internet and what were their needs, demands, and expectations from using them to get a first overview on this topic and to open up new research perspectives.

At the time of investigation, this topic was new territory for research. We looked for mailing lists, Web sites run by NGOs, so called meta sites such as “digital cities”, Web rings, topical Web portals, Web directories in Austria and abroad in and on which Viennese NGOs might have been represented, and public access initiatives.

We found clear evidence that groups engaged in cultural, societal or environmental activities were among the first movers, who recognised the potentials these new technologies offered for campaigning, presenting oneself, information retrieval, networking, and information exchange. Also issues which are quite common and acknowledged today became apparent then: the Digital Divide and the credibility and quality of online information.

The project was funded by the City of Vienna.