It surprises me how many people don’t know about the fabulous work being done by the Aspen Institute, the 59-year-old international nonprofit organization that works on environmental and economic concerns. It’s a sort of constantly evolving think tank perfectly suited for the new economy: The Aspen Institute convenes roundtables — in Aspen, Colo., Washington, DC, India, Israel, all around the globe — and generally gathers 25 to 30 experts and thought leaders to tackle important public policy issues. During my last two trips to Aspen I met and spoke with Al Gore and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
I’ve been lucky enough to participate in three such roundtables and to write the following reports, which the institute turns into print books (available for purchase) and makes available as free ebook downloads in the PDF format:
• The Mobile Generation: Global Transformations at the Cellular Level, 72 pages, February 2007: a look at the profound changes ahead as a result of the convergence of wireless technologies and the Internet, with an emphasis on how youths use mobile technology (download ebook as PDF).
• Civic Engagement on the Move: How Mobile Media Can Serve the Public Good, 110 pages, July 2008: a look at the startling growth in the use of cell phones and other mobile devices and the ways mobile technology can be used to advance the social good (download ebook as PDF).
• And now the just-released Identity in the Age of Cloud Computing: The next-generation Internet’s impact on business, governance and social interaction (image above), 110 pages, May 2009: a look at the next-generation Internet and how it will impact all facets of society.
Aspen Reports now using Creative Commons licenses
I’m happy to report that Charlie Firestone, executive director of the institute’s Communications and Society Program, took up my suggestion and has agreed to release the new report under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial license, the same license I’ve been using for all of my blog posts for years. That means anyone is free to republish excerpts of the report, or the report in its entirely, for noncommercial purposes. (See excerpt below.)
Not only that, but Charlie has agreed:
• to retroactively release my still-timely two earlier reports, Civic Engagement on the Move and The Mobile Generation, under the same CC BY NC license.
• to publish all upcoming Roundtable on Information Technology reports with the CC BY NC license.
• to recommend that all of the institute’s Communications and Society Program publications be published the same way. “I will take it up with the Aspen Director of Communications, and perhaps other reports at the Institute could be published with that license as well,” he tells me.
This, to my mind, is a coup for Creative Commons, given the world-class scholarship and policy proposals that the Aspen Institute is now making freely available for redistribution and remixing.