TITLE: The Benton Foundation

ACCESS: http://www.benton.org/cpphome.html

The Benton Foundation was established in 1981 by Charles Benton, chairman of Public Media, Inc., as a legacy of his father, U.S. Senator William Benton, owner of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The Foundation is concerned with the use of communications media on democracy and the public interest. Of particular interest to academic librarians is the Foundations extensive research on Universal Service and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This far-reaching act touches a range of academic fields, including communications, political science, business, education, and law.

The site features links to government information, such as full-text of the Communications Act via the Federal Communications Commissions web site, as well as extensive summaries and analysis by the Foundations researchers. A virtual library features the full text of Benton position papers and other publications in areas ranging from the Digital Broadcasting Debate to Libraries and Communities in the Digital Age. The most extensive subject area concerns Universal Service, with information about the communities, government agencies, market forces, and other organizations which are shaping the debate.

Other useful items include the Glossary of Telecommunications Terms, which provides definitions to terms, frequently appearing in journals and policy papers but not yet in most standard dictionaries, such as E-rate and V-chip. In their analysis, the Foundation has assembled a comprehensive and frequently updated site, useful for background information as well as the patron needing an up-to-the minute report.

Britt Fagerheim
Graduate Reference Assistant
University of Washington
March 24, 1998

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