Library Archive

The following is a list of publications and online resources by the Benton Foundation since 1995. Please note that some of the hyperlinks within older publications may have expired over the years, but the publications themselves remain available for archival and research purposes. (View our terms of usage and copyright information.) Most publications prior to 2000 are no longer available in hard copy, however feel free to inquire about a specific publication's availability (shipping charge may apply). To view or download PDF files you need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.

Featured Resource:
The Citizen's Guide to the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters
Publishing date: March 2005
Format: HTML PDF WORD
A practical, hands-on guide for citizens who care about television's role in their lives and want to maximize the public benefits that come from the public's airwaves. The government provides broadcasters exclusive access to a portion of the public airwaves for broadcasting in exchange for their commitment to serve the "public interest, convenience, or necessity." These basic obligations are critical tools that are designed to ensure that television is at least partially grounded in today's reality.

Benton/General

Annual Reports

Public Interest Communications Fellowship Study
Publishing date: June 2003
Format: HTML

Benton's Ford Foundation funded study explores feasibility of a fellowship program for communications policy.

Benton Foundation 2002 Annual Report
Publishing date: Spring 2003
Format: PDF or HTML
Read about the initiatives the foundation undertook in 2002 and preview our plans looking forward.

Benton Foundation 2001 Annual Report
Publishing date: Spring 2002
Format: PDF
An overview of Benton's work over the course of 2001, plus a message from our new president, Andrea Taylor.

Benton Foundation 20 Year Anniversary Report
Publishing date: July 2001
Format: PDF
Come celebrate 20 years of Benton! The history of the foundation, a timeline of our accomplishments, and our mission are outlined in our 20th anniversary brochure, along with our vision for the future.

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The Digital Divide

Achieving E-Government for All: Highlights from a National Survey
Publishing date: October 2003
Format: HTML and MS Word
Commissioned by the Benton Foundation and and the NYS Forum, this wokring paper by Professor Darrell West of Brown University, examines the results an annual survey of the accessibility of government websites and addresses guiding principles to improve them.

Preparing Disadvantaged Youth for the Workforce of Tomorrow
Publishing date: August 2003
Format: PDF

Based on the November 2002 Teens and Technology Roundtable, co-hosted by Benton, the report examines strategies to engage underserved youth populations to help them develop 21st century skills. Co-published with Germany's Digital Opportunities Foundation (Stiftung Digitale Chancen) in German and English.

A Broadband World: The Promise of Advanced Services
Publishing date: February 2003
Format: HTML and PDF
From the Benton Foundation and the Alliance for Public Technology, this report offers 12 case studies of innovative uses of broadband services in US communities.

Toward Digital Inclusion for Underserved Youth: A Transatlantic Roundtable

Publishing date: 2002
Format: PDF

Report from the October 2001 Teens and Technology Roundtable gathering of American and European foundation, corporate and government decisionmakers as well as researchers and practitioners to promote digital inclusion for underserved youth.

Bringing A Nation Online: The Importance of Federal Leadership
Publishing date: July 2002
Format: HTML, MS Word, Plain Text and PDF
A response to the federal report A Nation Online, this report concludes that continued federal leadership is essential to bringing a nation online, given the significant technology gaps that remain along economic, racial and geographic lines. Published by Benton and the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights, in conjunction with Leslie Harris & Associates.

Federal Retrenchment on the Digital Divide:
Potential National Impact

Publishing date: March 2002
Format: HTML and PDF
This policy brief explores the likely impact of budget cuts to federal investments to bridge the digital divide.

Native Networking: Telecommunications & Information Technology in Indian Country
Publishing date: 1999
Format: HTML
This report provides government policymakers, tribal leaders, and public interest advocates with essential resources and analysis. It analyzes the critical telecommunications and information technology policy issues facing tribes, focusing on the interaction between Indian sovereignty and federal and state regulation in a quickly changing policy and practice arena.

Losing Ground Bit by Bit: Low-Income Communities in the Information Age
Publishing date: 1998
Format: HTML and PDF
This groundbreaking national report examines the gap that separates America's low-income and underserved communities from the benefits of the information age.

Inventing the Future
Publishing date: 1996
Format: HTML
This "What's Working Now" report highlights the efforts of nonprofits that are making a difference with communications technology in their communities.

A Nation of Opportunity: Realizing the Promise of the Information Superhighway
Publishing date: January 1996
Format: HTML
This national report, published by National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council and hosted by Benton, was the first significant report from the federal government to examine the role of the Internet in America, and set forth a vision of making it accessible to everyone.

KickStart Initiative: Connecting America's Communities to the Information Superhighway
Publishing date: 1996
Format: HTML
Created following the release of A Nation of Opportunity in 1996, this online toolkit helped community leaders launch local "KickStart Initiatives" to bring their communities onto the Information Superhighway.

What's at Stake and
What's at Stake II: Defining the Public Interest in the Digital Age
Publishing dates: December 1996/June 1997
Format: HTML WAS II Format: HTML
The networks of the digital age will take their shape from the institutions that build them. But they will also be defined by the users who make demands on them, and by the policymakers that set the rules for them. And by the citizens who see what's at stake -- and act on it.

The Benton Universal Service/Universal Access Virtual Library
Publishing date: May 1995
Format: HTML
An extensive library of research and online resources related to universal service.

Nonprofits as Engines of Social Benefit
Publishing date: April 1995
Format: HTML and PDF
Nonprofits play a unique role in delivering public interest benefits to the American people, wrote former Benton policy director Andrew Blau; we must develop policies that ensure that nonprofits will have the opportunity to play a similar role and advance in the information age.

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Education/Edtech

The Future of Universal Service Fund Support for Organizations: Schools, Libraries and Rural Health Care Providers
Publishing date: January 2007
Formats: Word
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandated discounts for high speed connectivity for schools, libraries, and rural health care centers. Innovative although somewhat complex mechanisms were developed to implement this mandate. This chapter identifies some of the key features of these programs and how they have been implemented, issues to be addressed, and recommendations for the future of the program.

The Sustainability Challenge: Taking Edtech to the Next Level
Publishing date: March 2003
Formats: HTML and PDF
In the last 10 years, the United States has invested over $40 billion placing computers in schools and connecting classrooms to the Internet; the report cautions that this massive investment in educational technology, or edtech, may be at risk. Published in conjunction with the EDC Center for Children and Technology.

Great Expectations: Leveraging America's Investment in Education Technology
Publishing date: January 2002
Format: PDF
Second in a series, Great Expectations examines the impact of the federal E-Rate program in Chicago and Milwaukee. The report also includes an evaluation toolkit that school districts can use to analyze the impact of education technology on student learning. Published in conjunction with the EDC Center for Children and Technology.

The E-Rate in America: A Tale of Four Cities
Publishing date: March 2000
Format: PDF
This report was the first national-level analysis of the federal E-Rate program, with a focus on its impact in four Midwestern cities. The report also includes a political history of the E-Rate and other resources. Published in conjunction with the EDC Center for Children and Technology.

Effective Language for Discussing Early Childhood Education and Policy
Publishing date: May 1999
Format: PDF
When the media does stories about child care, it tends to frame them narrowly, focusing on safety and work issues. Effective Language is a collection of articles, published in cooperation with the Human Services Policy Center at the University of Washington, that suggests how parents and other adults can begin to frame child care issues in the terms of child development and early education, and as community issues that require community solutions.

The Learning Connection: Schools in the Information Age
Publishing date: 1995/1996
Format: HTML
The Benton Foundation's seminal report on the state of education technology in the United States. This version of the report is our second edition, published in 1996. The first edition of the report, published in 1995, is also available.

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Health

Networking for Better Care: Health Care in the Information Age
Publishing date: 1999
Format: HTML
Networking for Better Care: Health Care in the Information Age looks closely at the ways new communications technologies are transforming health care, describing both the promise and pitfalls.

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International issues

Youth Activism and Global Engagement
Publishing date: February 2001
Format: HTML
Campus activism on global issues takes many forms, from banning landmines to opposing sweatshops and questioning corporate rule; this report examines the strengths and weaknesses of the emerging movement and recommends how "adult" organizations might help

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Issues In Focus

Issues in Focus is a series of in-depth white papers that appear regularly on the Benton Foundation homepage. These op-eds cover a range of issues that are of interest to the foundation.

E-Government News Summaries from Communications-Related Headlines Service
Publishing Date: various

Format: HTML

Powell Muses: Maybe Public Broadcasting Can Help!
Publishing Date: September 22, 2003

Format: HTML

The March on Washington 40th Anniversary and Minority Media
Publishing Date: August 2003
Format: HTML

TOP on Top... For Now
Publishing Date: July 2003
Format: HTML

Will Children Lose Out in Media Mergers?
Publishing Date: July 2003
Format: HTML

Issues in Focus archives

Digital Beat archives. These issue papers were published by Benton between 1999-2001. Issue areas covered are Broadcast/Community Media, Education/EdTech, Digital Divide, Internet & Ecommerce, Media Ownership, Broadband and Media & Society.

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Libraries & the Internet

Libraries as Universal Service Providers
Publishing date: December 1, 2006
Format: Word
In the twentieth century, public libraries deployed a number of creative means such as mobile and outdoor libraries, packhorse rural delivery, literacy training, and reading to the blind to ensure that everyone in their communities was served. Similarly, today’s public libraries provide access to the Internet, ensuring equal opportunity and leveling the playing field for all Americans. 2/3 of Americans use a public library at least once every year, either in person, by phone, or by computer. These numbers hold for Americans of all groupings and ethnicities. Thanks to the Universal Service provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Gates Foundation, and local, state and federal investments, 99% of public libraries are now wiredâ€"many with broadband and wireless servicesâ€"and offer free public access to the Internet. Libraries are now the number one point of access for the public outside the home, school, and work, leveling the playing field for those left behind in the digital age. But universal service programs need increased funding, better coordination, policy changes, and service improvements if every American is to have the opportunity to participate in the 21st century information society.

The Future's in the Balance: A Toolkit for Libraries and Communities in the Digital Age
Publishing date: 1998
Format: PDF
This toolkit takes up the challenge laid down in Buildings, Books, and Bytes by drawing on the expertise of seasoned communications practitioners, public opinion experts, and advertising and public relations professionals. The toolkit offers library leaders a communications strategy and a set of hands-on tools for reaching the public more effectively. Libraries and communities can use The Future's in the Balance for internal education and discussion, as well as to orchestrate public education and outreach.

Buildings, Books, and Bytes: Libraries and Communities in the Digital Age
Publishing date: November 1996
Format: HTML
This report, Funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, reveals what library leaders and the public have to say about the future of libraries with the advent of the Internet.

Local Places, Global Connections: Libraries in the Digital Age
Publishing date: 1997
Format: HTML
Libraries have long been pivotal public spaces where people can come together to learn, reflect, and interact. But today, information is rapidly spreading beyond books and journals to digital archives, databases, and a flow of electronic images over computer networks. Will libraries lose their role as lending institutions? And what will happen to libraries as physical places where diverse people can gather to pursue knowledge individually and collectively? Published in cooperation with the Libraries for the Future.

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Strategic Communications and Capacity Building

Benchmarks for Building Extranets and Online Communities Publishing date: May 2003
Format: MS Word
With support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, Benton has developed guidelines to help foundations and nonprofits plan, build and sustain online communities.

Technology Literacy Benchmarks for Nonprofit Organizations
Publishing date: August 2001Format: PDF
Like many tools of its kind, these benchmarks are not the product of one person or organization. Instead, they are the result of the knowledge and experience of many working in the nonprofit technology assistance field.

See also Toolkits.

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Telecom Regulation & Legislation

The Benton Foundation's Telecommunications Act of 1996 Homepage
Publishing date: 1996
Format: HTML
A guide to the landmark changes in telecommunication policy.

State and Local Strategies for Connecting Communities
Publishing date: 1996
Format: HTML
This resource examines where states are heading on the telecommunications front. It includes a look at the planning process and infrastructure commitments that states are instituting regarding telecommunications.

Promise and Performance: Industry's Vision for the Information Superhighway
Publishing date: May 1995

Format: HTML
What leaders in the telecommunications industry were saying in 1995 about the "National Information Infrastructure" -- today's Internet -- and how companies' plans and claims affect key public interest values.

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Television/Community Media

The Citizen's Guide to the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters
Publishing date: March 2005
Format: HTML PDF WORD

A practical, hands-on guide for citizens who care about television's role in their lives and want to maximize the public benefits that come from the public's airwaves. The government provides broadcasters exclusive access to a portion of the public airwaves for broadcasting in exchange for their commitment to serve the "public interest, convenience, or necessity." These basic obligations are critical tools that are designed to ensure that television is at least partially grounded in today's reality.

Policy Brief: Your Right to Know How Broadcasters Are Meeting Your Needs
Publishing date: September 2004
Format: PDF WORD

Packaged food companies are required todisclose the ingredients that we put into our bodies. Should television companies also disclose the make-up of the programming we put in our minds?

Policy Brief: Children and Digital Television
Publishing date: 2004
Format: PDF
FCC action is imminent on the obligations of digital television broadcasters to better serve children and parents. Read Benton's new issue brief for background information, online resources, and how you can get involved.

Local Voices: Listening for Solutions
Publishing date: 2002
Format: PDF
Eight recipients of Benton Sound Partners grants share how community/media collaborations impacted their lives, their organizations and their communities.

Partners in Public Service:
A Working Guide for Public Broadcasters and Community Organizations

Publishing date: 2002
Format: PDF
Partners in Public Service (PIPS) documents the stories of eight collaborations between public television stations and community organizations, including museums, libraries and historical societies. The result of this year-long project is a better understanding of how public service organizations can work in tandem to reach wider audiences, promote diverse voices and ideas and increase the quality of services provided.

Connecting Communities
Publishing date: June 2000
Format: HTML and PDF
Anyone can see that a revolution is under way--a revolution in the way we work, the way we communicate, the way we do business. The purpose of this report is to survey some of the experiments being conducted around the country. The report begins by looking at the context in which the experiments are taking place - the frenetic development of online technologies, the approach of broadband and the transition of broadcasting from analog to digital standards.

Making Television Matter: How Documentaries Can Engage and Mobilize Communities
Publishing date: 2000
Format: HTML
This is a guide for broadcasters, producers, funders and community organizations. It provides tools and case studies of how documentaries can engage and mobilize communities.

Education and Digital Television: Seizing the Opportunity to Realize the Medium's Potential
Publishing date: January 1999
Format: HTML
A report on findings from focus groups and a national survey conducted for the Benton Foundation.

PIAC Legacy Project
Publishing date: December 1998
Format: HTML
A guide to the debate on and progress of the Advisory Committee on Public Internet Obligations of Digital Television Broadcaster’s report and recommendations.

What's Local About Local Broadcasting?
Publishing date: April 1998
Format: HTML
An analysis of a two-week period in 1998 founds that broadcasters in five markets are providing almost no programming addressing local issues.

Picture This: Digital TV and the Future of Television
Publishing date: January 1998
Format: HTML
A discussion of the policy issues around the transition to digital TV.

Pretty Pictures or Pretty Profits

Publishing date: October 1995
Format: HTML
Issues and options for the public interest and nonprofit communities in the digital broadcasting debate.

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Toolkits

Strategic Communications in the Digital Age
Last Updated: May 2001
Format: HTML
The Benton Foundation capacity building project documented best practices and lessons learned by nonprofits about the impact, successes, failures and struggles in using strategic communications. This toolkit catalogues valuable lessons and models for peer learning and reference purposes.

Open Studio: The Arts Online
Last Updated: 2000
Format: HTML
The Open Studio toolkit serves as an archive of resources gathered by Benton during our Open Studio project, which operated from 1996 to 2000. The toolkit was Open Studio's online learning resource for technology trainers, artists and arts organizations.

The Future's in the Balance: A Toolkit for Libraries and Communities in the Digital Age
Publishing date: 1998
Format: PDF
(see Libraries and the Internet section for more detail.)