Dynamic websites join two nations at the borderline
The borderlands shared by Mexico and the United States make up one of the world's most dynamic regions. Communities have used the Web to further not only a cross-border exchange but also as a means to enter a global dialogue. There are hundreds of respectable border sites, but the following are the Net's best of the best.
Rating: ***** (out of 5 *)
Top of the list and most eclectic is this content-rich website from the La Laguna region of Durango and Coahuila. Originally, the site was a local, electronic bulletin board service (BBS), which was then transformed into a website. Host Josué (Josh) Ybarra Rossow says, "The idea then (and now) was to provide professionals and businesses a new means of communication, and to display what the Laguna Region had to offer the world." The BBS Laguna website works as one of the best regional forums promoting local businesses and tourism. Check out the page about international business ( http://www.bbslaguna.com.mx/Consultores.htm).
Andanzas al Web Latino
What's not to praise about this website? Andanzas al Web Latino prepares anyone interested in Latin America for all sorts of Web adventures. It includes the most thoughtful collection of links to border and Latino websites as well as the famous Directory of Internet Resources for Latin America, ( http://lib.nmsu.edu/subject/bord/laguia), developed in 1993 and updated regularly ever since.
One of the Web's earliest pioneers in using this medium to distribute information on the border and Latin America, Web host and New Mexico State University librarian Molly Molloy has received numerous awards--and deservedly so. It's the rare university site that is content-rich and thoughtfully composed. Graphics are used, but load very quickly.
"I try to make this data as useful as possible," says Molloy. "In the directories I include the URLs along with the links, so that if and when pages are printed out, instead of just surfed, the data is useful to the print as well as the Internet reader." Molloy can be contacted via e-mail at mmolloy@lib.NMSU.Edu.
Border Information and Solutions Network (BISN)
BISN was created in 1994 to promote sustainable development of the U.S.-Mexico Border using the Internet as a communication tool. One of the most popular sections is its bilingual study assessing telecommunications in the Texas/Tamaulipas border region. BISN director Jackie Lockett says that the site has been used to promote what can be accomplished at the local level--in this case the twin cities of Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Tamaulipas. The site also informs the world of border events, such as the recent U.S.-Mexico Border Governor's Conference Site of 1998 and the Brownsville Matamoros Habitat II Conference.
Current projects--such as Potential Models & Success stories for the Borderplex Industrial Awards Program and the Texas General Land Office Recycling Database--are also online. You'll also find a calendar of local events.
As at any good website, you can expect prompt answers from a real person, Jackie Lockett, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All three of these sites have demonstrated pioneering skills that civilize the frontiers of cyberspace. For more information on the border, be sure to check out the INCINTRA (Information For Citizen Transboundary Action) website ( http://www.zianet.com/irc1/incitra/), headquartered at the Resource Center in Silver City, New Mexico. Teamed with the Resource Center's monthly publication, BorderLines ( http://www.zianet.com/irc1/bordline/index.html), this site offers current news and a wealth of background information.