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The challenge:

What would our research, technology design, and thinking look like if we took seriously the momentous opportunities and challenges for learning posed by our digital era?  What happens when we stop privileging traditional ways of organizing knowledge (by fields, disciplines, and majors or minors) and turn attention instead to alternative modes of creating, innovating, and critiquing that better address the interconnected, interactive global nature of knowledge today, both in the classroom and beyond?

The response:

HASTAC ("haystack") is a network of individuals and institutions inspired by the possibilities that new technologies offer us for shaping how we learn, teach, communicate, create, and organize our local and global communities.  We are motivated by the conviction that the digital era provides rich opportunities for informal and formal learning and for collaborative, networked research that extends across traditional disciplines, across the boundaries of academe and community, across the "two cultures" of humanism and technology, across the divide of thinking versus making, and across social strata and national borders.

The solution:

You.  HASTAC is open to anyone.  One joins simply by registering on the HASTAC website.  Once registered, you can contribute to the community by sharing your work and ideas with others in the HASTAC community, by hosting HASTAC events online or in your region, by initiating conversations, or by working collaboratively with others in the HASTAC network.  HASTAC is, in effect, what you make us and change is our byword.  HASTAC's scope and mission are fluid, constantly changing to meet the opportunities and challenges presented by the ever-shifting terrain of today's digital world and morphing with the needs and goals of our network members.

Many of our members are academics or others affiliated with universities at any stage of their careers, from students to senior professors.  Other HASTAC community members are public intellectuals, artists, citizen journalists and scholars, educators, software or hardware designers, scientists specializing in human-computer interfaces, gamers, programmers, librarians, museum curators, IT specialists, publishers, social and political organizers and interested others who use the potential of the Internet and mobile technologies for new forms of communication and social action.

Specializations include the full range of the humanities and social sciences, the arts, music, new media arts, journalism, communications, digital humanities, cultural studies, race, gender, and sexuality studies, and global studies, as well as all computational fields, visualization and auditory sciences, information science, and engineering, plus those interested in intellectual property issues, and those concerned with social entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and public policy on a local or global scale.