Chris Coward

CV Senior Principal Research Scientist & Director, Technology & Social Change Group, Affiliate Associate Professor

Affiliate Positions

  • Director, Technology & Social Change Group
  • Co-Founder, Center for an Informed Public
  • Affiliate Associate Professor,


  • ICT and development
  • Public libraries
  • Civic engagement



Chris Coward is Senior Principal Research Scientist at the University of Washington Information School. Chris studies issues of information access, digital inclusion, digital skills, and civic engagement, primarily in resource-limited populations and countries. Much of his work focuses on these issues in the context of public libraries. His current work examines misinformation and civic discourse, with the aim of developing new library programs and services that better respond to changes in the information environment. He is interested in the integration of digital and physical spaces as a way of fostering more constructive engagements with information.

Chris directs the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA), a research center he co-founded in 1999 (then Center for Internet Studies) that explores the role of digital technologies in building more open, inclusive, and equitable societies. Under his leadership, TASCHA has grown in size and stature with projects spanning more than 50 countries. In 2019 he was one of five principal investigators to co-found the Center for an Informed Public (CIP), a new center with a mission of resisting strategic misinformation and strengthening democratic discourse.


  • Master of Public Administration, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington, 1997
  • MA, International Studies, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, 1997
  • BA, East Asian Studies, Columbia University, 1986

Publications and Contributions

  • Report
    Digital Skills Assessments Guidebook (2020)
    Authors: Stacey Wedlake, Allison Anderson, Chris Coward
  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    Mixed-methods library evaluation integrating the patron, library, and external perspectives: The case of Namibia regional libraries (2020)
    Evaluation and Program Planning, 79(Unknown Issue), ISBN/ISSN: 0149-7189 Authors: Chris Coward, Chris Coward, Christopher Coward
  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    The Role of Libraries in Misinformation Programming: A Research Agenda (2020)
    Journal of Librarianship and Information Science Authors: Jason Young, Brandyn Boyd, Katya Yefimova, Stacey Wedlake, Christopher Coward
  • Research Report
  • Report
    Digital Skills Toolkit (2018)
    Authors: Christopher Coward, Michelle Fellows
  • Conference Paper
    Mobile Information Literacy: Building Digital and Information Literacy Skills for Mobile-first and Mobile-centric Populations through Public Libraries (2017)
    2nd AfLIA Conference & 4th Africa Library Summit Authors: Melody Clark, Christopher Coward, Chris Rothschild
  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    There when you need it: The multiple dimensions of public access ICT uses and impacts [ICTD2013 Special Issue] (2015)
    Information Technology & International Development, 11(1), pp. 71-86 Authors: Araba Sey, F Bar, Christopher Coward, Lucas Koepke, Chris Rothschild, G Sciadas
  • Research Report
    Digital Opportunties: Innovative ICT Solutions for Youth Employment (2014)
    Authors: Christopher Coward, Silvia Caicido, Heidi Rauch, Nathalia Rodriguez Vega,
  • Conference Paper
    From access to information to access to each other: Why libraries should develop innovation spaces (2014)
    The Horizon and Beyond: African Library Summit 2013, ISBN/ISSN: 1869224280 Authors: Christopher Coward, Dilini Wijeweera
  • Research Report
    Namibia Regional Study & Resource Centers: Evaluation design report (2014)
    Authors: Christopher Coward, Michelle Fellows, Andrew Gordon
  • Video
  • Research Report
    Connecting people for development: Why public access ICTs matter (2013)
    pp. 242 pages Authors: Araba Sey, Christopher Coward, George Sciadas, Chris Rothschild, Francois Bar , Lucas Koepke
  • Working Paper
    Global Impact Study surveys: Methodologies and implementation (2013)
    Authors: Araba Sey, Christopher Coward, Chris Rothschild, George Sciadas
  • Report
    Public libraries connecting people for development: Findings from the Global Impact Study (2013)
    Authors: Araba Sey, Christopher Coward, Chris Rothschild, Melody Clark, Lucas Koepke
  • Conference Paper
    The impact of public access to ICTs: Findings from a five-year, eight-country study (2013)
    Proceedings fo the Sixth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development Authors: Francois Bar, Christopher Coward, Lucas Koepke, Chris Rothschild, Araba Sey, George Sciadas
  • Research Report
    Beyond Access: Perceptions of libraries as development partners (2012)
    Authors: Michelle Fellows, Christopher Coward, Rebecca Sears
  • Research Report
    Building Digital Communities: A Framework for Action (2012)
    Authors: Samantha Becker, Christopher Coward, Michael Crandall, Rebecca Sears, Ron Carlee, Kira Hasbargen, Mary Alice Ball
  • Journal Article, Professional Journal
    Bringing the benefits of information technology to underserved populations: An introduction to ICTD for the library community (2010)
    IFLA Journal, 36(3) Author: Christopher Coward
  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    Introducing the Essays of the Harvard Forum II (2010)
    Information Technologies & International Development, 6(Special Edition) Authors: Christopher Coward, M. Smith, R. Spence
  • Conference Paper
    Measuring indirect access: Indicators of the impacts of lay information mediary behavior (2010)
    2010 IFLA World Library and Information Congress Authors: Christopher Coward, Karen Fisher
  • Conference Paper
    South-North: Fishbowl on transferability of ICTs in income-poor to income-rich countries (2010)
    ICTD 2010: International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development Authors: Christopher Coward, Karen Fisher
  • Conference Paper
    An Assessment of venues providing public Access to ICT: A tale of 25 countries (2009)
    42nd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences Authors: R. Ambikar, Christopher Coward, Ricardo Gomez
  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    Deconstructing ICT Skills and Employability (2009)
    Information Technologies & International Development, 5(2) Authors: Maria Garrido, A Badshah, Christopher Coward,
  • Conference Paper
    Free access to computers and the Internet at public libraries: International reflections on outcomes and methods (2009)
    Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science & Technology Authors: Karen Fisher, Christopher Coward, Philip Fawcett, Michael Crandall, Ricardo Gomez
  • Conference Paper
    ICTD evaluation 20/20: Voices from around the world (2009)
    IEEE/ACM International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD) Authors: Karen Fisher, Ricardo Gomez, Christopher Coward
  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    Libraries, Telecentres & Cybercafes: an international study of public access information venues: Performance Measurement and Metrics (2009)
    Performance Measurement and Metrics, 10(1), pp. 33-48, ISBN/ISSN: 1467-8047 Authors: Ricardo Gomez, R. Ambikar, Christopher Coward
  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    Special Issue: ICT Skills and Employability (2009)
    5(2) Editors: Maria Garrido, A Badshah, Christopher Coward
  • Conference Paper
    Information Needs and Watering Holes (2008)
    CIRN 2008 Authors: Ricardo Gomez, Rucha Ambikar, Christopher Coward
  • Conference Paper
    Information needs and watering holes: public access to information and ICT in 25 countries (2008)
    5th Prato Community Informatics & Development Informatics Conference 2008: ICTs for Social Inclusion: What is the Reality? Authors: R. Ambikar, Christopher Coward, Ricardo Gomez
  • Conference Paper
    Libraries, Telecentres and Cybercafes: a study of public access venues around the world. (2008)
    Proceedings of IFLA 2008 Authors: Christopher Coward, Ricardo Gomez, Rucha Ambikar
  • Journal Article, Public or Trade Journal
    Why do telecentres deserve ongoing attention? (2008)
    Telecentre Magazine Author: Christopher Coward
  • Research Report
    ICT Training for Disadvantaged Populations: The importance of tailoring to the local context. Center for Information & Society (2007)
    Authors: Maria Garrido, Christopher Coward, A Gordon,
  • Journal Article, Professional Journal
    ICT training and employability: Integrated service delivery in United States workforce development networks (2007)
    Center for Information & Society, Research Paper Series Authors: J. Sullivan, A. Gordon, Christopher Coward, Maria Garrido, K. Dridi
  • Conference Paper
    Corporations, NGOs and IT Training: Blending private and nonprofit approached to achieving socio-economic outcomes (2005)
    World Forum on Information Society - World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Authors: Christopher Coward, R Roman, Maria Garrido, B Kolko, A Gordon
  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    Looking beyond India: Factors that shape the global outsourcing decisions of small and medium sized companies in America (2003)
    Electronic Journal on Information Systems in Developing Countries, 13(11) Author: Christopher Coward


  • Co-creating an NSF Proposal on Civic Innovation with Community Partners: Case study (2021)
    Going Public: Advocacy, Activism, and Building Trust - Online
  • Community Approaches to Misinformation (2021)
    UW iSchool - Virtual
  • Escape rooms – a new format for fighting disinformation? (2021)
    Media & Learning - Virtual
  • Misinformation Escape Room (2021)
    2021 Washington Library Association (WLA) conference - Virtual
  • Moving Forward with Communities and Technologies (2021)
    Community Day at the 10th International Conference on Communications & Technologies - Virtual
  • The Euphorigen Investigation (2021)
    Next Library Conference - Virtual
  • "You have to hide the vegetables": The need for new directions in misinformation programming (2020)
    Washington Library Association - Spokane, WA
  • Who can we trust? Technology's impact on democracy (2020)
    Town Hall Seattle - Seattle, WA
  • Misinformation and its Malcontents: University of Washington Research and Implications for Libraries (2019)
    ALA Midwinter 2019 - Seattle, WA
  • A Dynamic Approach to Digital Skills (2018)
    Mobile Learning Week - Paris, France
  • Defining and mainstreaming digital skills (2018)
    UNESCO/ITU Mobile Learning Week 2018 - Paris, France
  • Coding for career: Expanding opportunities for youth employment in developing countries (2015)
    Digital Strategies for Development Summit 2015 - Cebu City, The Philippines
  • Challenging the stepping stone theory of technology acquisition: The role of libraries and public access to ICTs (2013)
    5th European Congress on e-Inclusion, Civic Agenda - Brussels, Belgium
  • Connecting youth to emerging employment opportunities: New strategies for telecentres (2013)
    Spark: 4th Global Forum on Telecentres - Granada, Spain
  • Do Public Access ICTs have an Impact on Socio-Economic Development (2013)
    WSIS+10: Towards Knowledge Societies for Peace & Sustainable Development, UNESCO - Paris, France
  • Do public access ICTs make a difference in people's lives? Findings from the Global Impact Study (2013)
    Spark: 4th Global Forum on Telecentres - Granada, Spain
  • Expanding the impact of public libraries: Is the offline/online distinction relevant? (2013)
    Foros Semana - Bogota, Colombia
  • Innovation Spaces: From access to information to access to each other (2013)
    African Library Summit 2013, IFLA - Pretoria, South Africa
  • Innovation Spaces: From access to information to access to each other (2013)
    Bogota, Colombia
  • The Impact of Public Access to ICTs: Findings from a Five-Year, Eight-Country Study (2013)
    ICTD 2013 Conference - Cape Town, South Africa
  • Want open research? Deep dive into the Global Impact Study (2012)
    ICTD 2012 - Atlanta, GA