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My days with SIIA

I’m sketching out new ventures for Berkshire Publishing, which means digging through old notes. I came across this e-mail from Ed Keating, VP of the Content Division at the Software & Information Industry Association, which I kept with my business plans because it makes me smile and reminds me of what really counts, and of the wonderful friendships we develop in our professional lives. My couple of years on the SIIA board were terrific. Perhaps sometime soon I’ll have time to get involved again. I still want to bring the SIIA gang to China!

Here’s what Ed sent me early this year:


Hope you are well and am sorry our paths don’t cross much anymore. We are running our board elections and I’ve sent yours along as an example for someone to follow – it got you elected the first time!


Karen Christensen: SIIA Content Division Board Election

There’s a piece of paper tacked above my desk saying, “It’s the content, stupid.” I am new to SIIA but have been closely involved throughout my career in issues facing the Content Division. I’m an author and journalist, a publisher, and an entrepreneur. I know the struggles of a self-financed start-up and have the global perspective of an organization focused on international content. I am passionate about creating knowledge and getting it to the people who need to know; I believe that publishers are a powerful force for good in our world, and a crucial part of today’s world wide web of communication.

I’ve been active in the Google Debate in the U.K. (arguing against unfair, unauthorized digitization) and I write popular environmental books–translated into French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai—and occasional magazine features as well as two blogs, the Berkshire Blog and the Armchair Environmentalist. These activities, as well as my work on China and with Chinese companies and individuals, would enable me to contribute new ideas—and occasionally to stir up debate.

I would be honored to serve as a member of the SIIA Content Board and would work to ensure that the organization strengthens our position as vital providers of information and to generate discussion about the quality of knowledge and the unique value publishers provide as part of the knowledge economy.

I am the cofounder and CEO of Berkshire Publishing Group in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. I grew up in the Silicon Valley and attended UC Santa Barbara; I got my professional start in the U.K., where I worked in scientific journals and literary publishing. I initiated the Berkshire Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, edited by William Bainbridge of the National Science Foundation . I’m an advisory board member and research fellow for the Society for New Communications Research, and the acting editor of Guanxi: The China Letter, a new monthly publication designed to make readers twenty-first century China hands. Today, I direct various new online efforts, including user-content websites and wikis. I spoke recently at an SIIA brown bag lunch meeting about wikis and have been invited to speak at this year’s Wikipedia conference.

One thought on “My days with SIIA

  1. We will welcome you back to the SIIA with open arms.

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