Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Servon, Chapter 9. Toward a New Agenda.
Servon (2002) suggested several solutions for closing the digital divide (ex. policy makers, libraries, community-building organizations, among other solutions). Be familiar with each of them and think about which solutions would be helpful to various members of the Collins family.

There were many solutions suggested for closing the digitial divide. For one, the author suggested that government bodies help to close the digital divide by institutionalizing the problem, and working with other grassroot organizations to help them with the efforts and increase efforts to network between the groups. The government also needs to make better use of federal funds, grants, etc.

Policy makers need to recognize how large of a problem the digital divide is and offer suggestions to help solve it that don't just include access... but also things like training and education classes. They need to realize the potential technology has to help solve other, longer lasting inequality issues and be supportive of governments that want to help institutionalize the problem.

The authors suggested community building organizations work together to make sure their efforts aren't duplicated and work with policy makers to tell them what has worked and what hasn't.

Nearly all of these suggestions could have helped the Collins family. Since the family had a lot of interaction with the government, even just through meetings with case workers, had they known about education classes, perhaps they would have taken them. This would likely increase if the government help increase the number of classes throughout their area. The Collins also had interactions with community groups that could have helped them as well.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Final Exam Review (relating themes from "Toward a New Agenda" to class)

Throughout this class we have learned many things about the digital divide and this information gap present in the society. The term access has come up many times in the readings and in class and is definitely one of the more important terms pertaining to the digital divide. The reading “Toward a new Agenda” can be related to the larger themes from class in many ways, but one of the most prominent themes from class (the theme of access) makes its way in this article. The author of this article brings up the idea that the digital divide is not necessarily only an aspect of limited access, but more so an aspect of mental access. He is saying that a lot of people have access to technology and computers but they do not know how to properly use them. This article does a great job of summarizing key concepts and ideas that the society can use to help teach people proper ways to get the technological education to be successful in our society. I am not going to summarize the article for you because that is someone else’s job, but I will say that this article not only blames the digital divide on material access, but gives most of the blame to mental access. We have also brainstormed many ways in class that would possibly narrow the digital divide and those ideas directly relate to this article. The author comes up with many ideas and programs that he believes would help close the divide and these ideas directly relate to our class studies. You should check out the summary to see the different ideas and plans that this author makes to help close the information divide.

In-class lecture: Dervin and Chatman


* "Community information system as an organic whole compromised of individuals, their information needs and problems, information sources, and solutions to needs and problems."
* Identified barriers to acces: “societal, institutional, physical, psychological, and intellectual barriers."


Four key concepts of the behavior of marginalized populations

* Deception
* Risk taking
* Situational relevance
* Secrecy

Chatman theorized that the information poor do certain things and react certain ways which perpetuate the cycle of lack of information. They see themselves as unable to obtains information sources. It is also associated with class distiction. Behaviors that are meant to protect themselves and their families, like secrecy and deception, from the outside world create barriers.

Chatman defines Life in the round: "A public form of life in which things are implicitly understood." People living in the round shy away from crossing boundaries to access information and help. Life is predictable, and therefore safe, so members have no incentives for improving their life. Basically, life in the round is a situation that impedes its members from moving up in life.
-Concepts of Life in the Round
1. Small world
2. Social norms
3. Social types
4. Worldview

"How did Elfreda Chatman’s theories about Information Poverty and Life in the Round match the experiences of the Collins family in the documentary Legacy?"

Life in the round is a perpetuation of poverty. There is no incentive to leave or improve your life. This is similar to Legacy in the fact that the Collins family stayed on welfare for a long period of time. Alaissa did not get a job in part because she was afraid of living without welfare. The family also fits the mold of the information poor because, apart from Nickcole, they see themselves as deviod of any means of attaining information and construct walls to protect themselves that at the same time prevent them from escaping Henry Horner

Review Questions Servon Article


A) While more than 3/4 of Seattle has access to internet technology there is still a digital divide. The Seattle residents that were less likely to have access to computers were residents 65 years of age or older (56%), African Americans (1 out of 3 don't have access) and low income and little education. Only half of the African American respondents have access to a computer in their home compared with 80% of Asian-American and 70% of caucasian respondents. "Rather than to remain complacent about its above average technology diffusion status, they have chosen to continue to work to close its technology gap and move toward the goal of technology leteracy for the entire citizenry.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Review-Bishop Article

The community members were mostly interested in community services and activities, resources for their children, healthcare information, education information, employment information, crime and safety information, and general reference tools to search for information. Some of the barriers that this population faced included lacking access to computers and the internet and lacking the experience necessary to operate the computers and the applications available. In several cases, families owned a computer, but it was broken, too old, or only temporary. This indicates another barrier: connectivity. Almost one-third had never used a word processor and nearly half had never used a spreadsheet or database program. Only about ten percent reported using the Web regularly. The Collins family did not own a computer. They had no access at home. Other than Nicole, the rest of the family had very little experience with computers and were in need of training. Also, based on the area their home was located, connectivity was another possible barrier.

Exam Review

Jaeger Article, The Policy implications of Internet connectivity in Public Libraries.

Jaeger et al. found that 99.6% of all public libraries provided Internet access on their public terminals. However, there were still things related to that access that continued the digital divide. What were the issues?

The issues that still exist are:
Sufficiency of connectivity, rural areas are being left behind in levels of connectivity. Being connected is not the same as having sufficient levels of connectivity. There is also no definition of what sufficient or appropriate connectivity is, causing a problem to achieve sufficient access.
Levels of Public Access, the library may be the only source of access for people, and recently the government has been encouraging more and more Internet use for basic governmental procedures. However, if the libraries may not be able to supply the public with enough access to do so.
Continuing gaps in access, rural areas are being left behind in the level of access and the level of connectivity available to them.
Sources of funding for technology, the libraries need to update their access as technology advances. This costs money and funding. A library needs continual funding to provide a community with access, and this requires support from federal, state, and local governments.
Questions of public access, as homeland security issues are being raised with legislation like the Patriot Act, Libraries are being forced to choose between monitoring what patron's are doing online vs. supporting patron's rights and Privacy.
Lastly, The digital Inclusion, this is the argument that focuses on the amount of people who have access. This is different than the digital divide, which focuses on who doesn't have access. This creates the impression that the problem of the digital divide is solved, and that nothing else has to be done, which is false.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Study Guide Review

In Response to the Study Guide:

Hsieh, Rai, Keil Article: How did computer use differ between disadvantaged (low-income) and advantaged (high-income) groups in this study?

Socioeconomic status (SES) refers to the differences in behavior based upon income and education.  The disadvantaged use the Internet for hedonic (pleasure) purposes, for instance entertainment; whereas the advantaged used the Internet in a utilitarian manner; in an instrumental way.  Through the implementation of TV Internet for the city of LaGrange, residents were given free Internet access with restrictions, including: no printing, limitations in sharing files, inability of browsing websites with a plugin requirement, and non-concurrent use of the Internet and TV.  While Internet TV fits the needs of the disadvantaged, it does not fit the needs of the advantaged.  When technology is made available to the disadvantaged, they still need to cross their personal psychological and mental barriers in use, as social norms don't guarantee a continued use of the technology.  Rather, "self efficacy and availability determine and intention for continued use for the disadvantaged." Whereas the disadvantaged do not readily own computers, the Internet TV gives them some access without a monthly charge commitment. Therefore, it is conclusive that the advantaged and disadvantaged behave differently toward technology.  "Access is not enough; material, cognitive and social reasons are required to address the digital divide."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Article 4 Summary

for some reason, it won't let me comment on article four, my groups article. so here is the summary:

This article focused on the findings included in the previous chapters of the authors' work.

One of the major findings of the book was that simply having access to the most updated technology does not necessarily mean that people understand how to use the internet or understand the benefits they can derive from it. Instead of asking the question how can we increase access? the authors pose questions about how to increase training and the creation of contact that would interest those groups that are currently not online. On the same level, they argue that technology alone cannot be used to fix many of the "historical inequalities" included in society today, it is simply a tool, not the answer. To help solve some of these inequalities, the authors propose an increased use of community technology centers, in areas around the country, and training for youth, both designed to close some current inequality gaps and prevent new ones from happening. According to the authors, many sectors of society have a vested interest in increasing technology access and knowledge, highlighting their importance. Additionally, although the internet plays a major role in our lives today, the article points out the continued importance of face to face community in today's society. To help increase community training and access throughout the nation, the authors advocate for better policies and stress the importance of starting technology training at a younger age, highlighting primary schools as an important place to start. The authors also stress this technology knowledge will be necessary as kids move into college and the workplace. Lastly, the authors offer suggestions for ways to increase technologies for all members of a community, including working with philanthropic organizations, community organizations and libraries.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Toward a New Agenda" in Bridging the digital divide: Technology, community and public policy

Your assignment, in preparation for our final, is to thoroughly discuss the remaining articles via our blog. Our collaboration will make the entire review a lot more productive for everyone.

Keep the following tasks in mind as you're blogging the article:

1.)Provide a summary
2.)Define key terms
3.)Analyze potentially weak points in the author’s argument
4.)Compare your article to our past readings
5.)Read the other groups’ blog posts and comparing it to your article
6.)Relate your article to the larger themes from the class

Feel free to comment on any other group's blog discussions as well. You should be reading them anyway, and providing extra commentary will help us all.

In addition, we'll be distributing a study guide later. Please use this same blog space to discuss that guide.

Building the Bridge: Learning from Seattle." in Bridging the digital divide: Technology, community and public policy

Your assignment, in preparation for our final, is to thoroughly discuss the remaining articles via our blog. Our collaboration will make the entire review a lot more productive for everyone.

Keep the following tasks in mind as you're blogging the article:

1.)Provide a summary
2.)Define key terms
3.)Analyze potentially weak points in the author’s argument
4.)Compare your article to our past readings
5.)Read the other groups’ blog posts and comparing it to your article
6.)Relate your article to the larger themes from the class

Feel free to comment on any other group's blog discussions as well. You should be reading them anyway, and providing extra commentary will help us all.

In addition, we'll be distributing a study guide later. Please use this same blog space to discuss that guide.

Understanding digital inequality: Comparing continued use behavioral models of the socio-economically advantaged and disadvantaged

Your assignment, in preparation for our final, is to thoroughly discuss the remaining articles via our blog. Our collaboration will make the entire review a lot more productive for everyone.

Keep the following tasks in mind as you're blogging the article:

1.)Provide a summary
2.)Define key terms
3.)Analyze potentially weak points in the author’s argument
4.)Compare your article to our past readings
5.)Read the other groups’ blog posts and comparing it to your article
6.)Relate your article to the larger themes from the class

Feel free to comment on any other group's blog discussions as well. You should be reading them anyway, and providing extra commentary will help us all.

In addition, we'll be distributing a study guide later. Please use this same blog space to discuss that guide.

Reading Race Online

Your assignment, in preparation for our final, is to thoroughly discuss the remaining articles via our blog. Our collaboration will make the entire review a lot more productive for everyone.

Keep the following tasks in mind as you're blogging the article:

1.)Provide a summary
2.)Define key terms
3.)Analyze potentially weak points in the author’s argument
4.)Compare your article to our past readings
5.)Read the other groups’ blog posts and comparing it to your article
6.)Relate your article to the larger themes from the class

Feel free to comment on any other group's blog discussions as well. You should be reading them anyway, and providing extra commentary will help us all.

In addition, we'll be distributing a study guide later. Please use this same blog space to discuss that guide.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A couple of things

So, in regards to Legacy, I thought the movie was one of, if not the best, part of the class thus far this semester. Unlike articles, which, no offense, for me at least, seem to only really strike a "I need to remember this for class" cord, the movie struck something much deeper. It really made me think about the struggles sectors of the society face each and everyday and how important is is the government, civic organizations, etc., work to help fix the problems. I think, like everyone else, the film really related best to Bishop since they were both stories that really, as cliche as it sounds, came from the heart and made you remember them because you were a human and they were "real life" stories, rather than the articles we've had to remember because we're students and are going to get tested on them.

That being said, I think that this also puts a very human face on the digital divide problem & points out just how important is it that we solve them as soon as possible:

See you all tomorrow.

Legacy and Bishop

For some reason my legacy post did not show up on the blog so I am trying to remember what I said and post it again.

First of all I really enjoyed watching Legacy. I thought it was a touching movie that gave me a deeper understanding about how some people are actually living in the U.S today. I also thought the movie did a great job of vividly bringing the information we are learning in this class to a actual example family. It was nice to see a real life example of some of the struggles and hardships that we were learning about in class. At least for me, it made the material seem more important and made it tangible.

It was also very easy to see many examples from the Bishop article come to life in Legacy. First of all, Bishop was talking about lower income African American families who were deprived of access and technology because of their financial status. This is exactly what we see with the collin's family (with and exception of Nicole). They had many other things to worry about in their life than getting the Internet. Keeping the children safe, trying to get off welfare, and looking for employment were issues that was keeping the Collins family on the bottom side of the digital divide. Many other concepts from class were brought up in this movie and I really believe that this movie did a great job of connecting the class to a real life example.

Here is a link to the video on YouTube:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Week 13 Readings

I thought it might helpful to blog about last week's reading because we didn't have a discussion session. Here is a summary of what I took away from the articles.

Reading Race Online-Byron Burkhalter

The article states that being a member of a racial class is now fundamentally determined by physical features. Although physical cues are lacking online, racial identification is not. It is a feature of many online interactions, relying on the person's perspective. This can produce consequences such as assumptions or stereotypes made based on the author's identity. There can be a discrepancy between their identity and perspective. The recognition of the interactional character can offer some insight into the reason that racial identity comes up in particular situations and not others. Situational ethnicity refers to the author's subjective perception of the situation and to the salience they attribute to ethnicity as a relevant factor in the situation. In general,iu racial self-identification is used by authors to establish a social position. They talked about various ways in which people's interactional organization responds to and uses the Usenet environment. In conclusion, modifying the author's identity allows readers to maintain the connection between racial identities and perspectives. Race is no less relevant in online interaction than it is in face-to-face interaction. Racial stereotypes may be more influential and resilient on the Usenet.

Understanding Digital Inequality-Hsieh

In this article, the study used income and education to differentiate between the socio-economically advantaged and disadvantaged in order to focus on their behavioral differences using ICT. Many authors believe in the idea that the digital divide can be solved with access to technology. This study uses user acceptance to represent individual's continuance usage intention of the sponsored technology to supplement access. The purpose of the study was to better understand the user acceptance of ICT provided to the citizens through a governmental digital inequality initiative. They hypothesize that the socio-economic status can moderate the relationship between behavioral control and its consequences in 9 different ways. The control variable was the ownership of an Internet PC. The results supported 6 of the 9 hypotheses. It was found that factors that influenced the individuals intention to continue using the technology were different for the two groups. Attitude was more influential for disadvantaged users. While subjective norms were not influential, social network still affects post implementation ICT acceptance through personal network exposure and the effect is stronger for the advantaged. Behavioral control, self-efficacy, and availability were more critical in determining continuance intention for disadvanted. On average, the advantaged had a higher level of ownership, but this had little effect on the disadvantaged continuance. The article also suggests that further research is needed especially for physical conditions, emotional variables, employment status, and family structure.

Hope this helps everyone and feel free to add anything that you thought was important.

Video Project-- Becca, Axel, Kaitlin, Katie, Jenna, and Mason


I don't mean to repeat everyone, but I think there was a real connection with Legacy and Bishop's article, and not really the others. Legacy put Bishop's findings regarding low-income black women into real life perspective with the story about the Collins family. Internet access was much less important to Wanda and Elisa because they were struggling to keep their children safe, fed, and educated while trying to find jobs and kick drug addictions for themselves. The women got the necessary information that they needed like information on jobs, education, and health care via means other than the computer. The only people who would really have a need for computer access were Wanda and Elisa's children that were in school and Nicole being in college. The other articles from last week really didn't relate like Bishop's article did

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Legacy and Bishop

I really enjoyed watching the Legacy filmed and i think it really opens your eyes to people who aren't as privelaged as we are. I did disagree a little with what the woman TA said yesterday in lecture about the girl not having access to AP credits and that putting her at a disadvantage. I am from a really small school and we also didn't have the options of taking AP courses at school and I don't feel behind or disadvantaged at all. Yea maybe I would have tested out of a few classes, but I can still get out in 4 years, etc.
For last week I read the bishop article and in some ways I think it relates to Legacy. In the article it talked about African Americans that were struggling financially, which in turn led to a shortage in access to technology. In Legacy, the Collins family also struggled financially and with access. The girl that went to the private high school was able to access the technology she needed, but the older generations greatly struggled. While they didn't go into great detail about the access issues the Collins family had, I think some were obvious and related quite well to the article. This was an interesting movie to show and actually showed real life examples. I think we all know they exist, but if the access issues aren't affecting us directly we tend to forget.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Legacy and Bishop Article

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Legacy film in lecture over the past couple weeks. I felt like viewing an actual family struggling with equality issues helped me understand the material much better. The video was also directed and produced very well, which caused the audience to feel a part of the Collins family experience. 

I felt like the Collins' story related very well to the Bishop article we were supposed to read for last week. Bishop talked about low income African Americans who were struggling to provide for their families, which was very similar to the Collins and their situation. Bishop also found a lot of his information through simple word of mouth. This was similar to Legacy because the Collins' story was told strictly through word of mouth. The women of the family expressed their desires and needs through interviews and other conversations. I didn't feel like Legacy touched much on the actual digital divide though. The Collins were going through a divide, no doubt, but the idea of a technological divide was only touched on once that I recall. However, the digital divide did not prevent Nickole from prospering as a student and as a young person. Overall, a great movie and great idea to show this movie as a real life example of the lecture material. 


The "Public Libraries and Networked Information Services in Low-Income Communities" article we read conducted interviews with low-income African American women. These interviews focused not on how they got internet, but what they used it for. Most of the findings showed that these women wanted internet to seek information about healthcare and education for their children. These uses are not absolutely necessary, but very helpful. 
These findings are very similar to what we have been watching in Legacy. It is obvious that computers and technology allow people to gather information much more efficiently. However, there are other ways to seek necessary information. Nicole, for example, did not have internet at home to do her school work, yet she succeeded at a very challenging high school. Also, when applying for college and financial aid she actually went and had face-to-face meetings with people to learn about programs she was eligible for. These are things should could have discovered online, but this movie, along with the article we read in class, shows that the internet is not the only way to receive such information.

Legacy in the Making

I found Legacy to be a really interesting movie, but I felt like there wasn't too much to talk about when it came to actual digital technology.  It concentrated more on people who live on the "other side" of the divide, but didn't directly address the problem of not having technology.  

I would have to say that Legacy has a lot to do with Bishop's article about how low-income communities use information services.  Legacy didn't really talk about libraries or computers, but it did address the ideas of education programs and health care information that most of the community is concerned about.  We saw that with Wanda going to rehab and Nicole trying to get scholarships and the principle giving her family a discount on tuition for her grandmother and mother working there.  Also, a lot of the information was passed on by word of mouth, which Bishop talks about.  Bishop also states that you don't need to use new services, but the services such as the Boys and Girls Club that Nicole worked at, the church they went to, the rehab and welfare services to help with that divide.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Jager and Legacy

The connection that I found between the readings and Legacy related to the idea of social inclusion. Jager states that the government has developed a "mission accomplished" view of the digital divide meaning that we as a country have overcome the lack of internet and computer access that was in issue in the past. In reality, as Jager points out, this is not the correct view to take. Though it is true that we have made great strides as a country in connecting more people to the internet, through libraries and other means, we have by no means accomplished the mission. We do not have a country of internet connected individuals, which is clear in the movie. At no point in the movie do we see anyone searching the internet, or using technology in a way that would make anyone believe that the mission combating the digital divide has been accomplished. This is especially an issue because of the advantages that having access to the internet would have brought to the family in Legacy. In addition to advantages in school work, and the potential for scholarship that the internet could provide for the daughter, access for the family would also have helped the mother in her job hunt, in communication with employers, and in access to government information that could help the family. The Jager article describes how the government should not claim the the mission of closing the digital divide is accomplished, and evidence for this shortcoming is visible in Legacy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Legacy Comparison

For last week's discussion I read the article by Sandvig: Public Internet Access for Young Children in the Inner City. The article described three different initatives trying to improve access, privacy, and prevent indecency specifically among children. A library in the inner city of San Francisco was researched to measure the use of the internet by the kids. It was found that most kids use computers for gaming and communication. A huge difference between this article and the movie Legacy is that the kids in the movie don't seem to have access to the internet or a computer in general. They live in a bad part of Chicago, but in the article the kids were also not from the best area of San Francisco. Another observation I had was that Nicole's mom tried to take a program for computers, but was unfortunately let go. She knew how vital technology is becoming in terms of careers. Training was hard to come by in their area. It wasn't until Nicole went on to college that I noticed her use of computers. I wonder what resources she used throughout high school. It seems to me that the kids researched in the article had much more access to computers than the kids in Legacy.

"Legacy" comparison

The article by Bishop parallels the living situation of the family in legacy, though computers cease to influence the daily living of the family.  First, indicated by the results of a study, low-income residents were most interested in information concerning the necessities of getting along in life, including: community services and activities, child resources, healthcare, education, employment, safety and reference tools.  Much as these residents who desired to use a computer for quick reference, recommendations and advice, the family in "Legacy" desired access to information to get along in life; job information, welfare information, etc. The mother was, in a sense, illiterate in the basic aspects of life due to not receiving an education, obtaining a well-paying job, and supporting her family. Therefore, she had to search and talk to countless people about obtaining a job, while still trying to support her family.  A statement in Bishop suggests, "Computer use will not really take hold among low-income community residents until they are able to find a way around a splintered ecology of access within which they currently live. " In relation to the family in "Legacy," without basics, a job to support her family, and education, etc., the mother would not be able to "move up in society."  At the point in the video we ended up in at lecture, we saw that the mother finally landed a secure job with the promise of receiving a GED and teacher certification, Wanda successfully graduated from a drug addiction class and is caring for her own children, and the grandmother was able to move into her own home. It seems the family has overcome some of life's basic hurdles to finally have a place, ever evolving, in society, much like the Article by Bishop emphasizes in information access for the low-income.  

"Legacy" and government policies

One of the articles from last week that did relate to "Legacy" was the article written by Jaeger. The article is about technology access policies state and local governments implement. This article highlights the standards governments set for bandwidths and connection speeds, which are not high enough to keep up with technology. The technology increasingly requires higher speeds which public libraries cannot afford for their low income patrons. The people who need technology the most are the ones left behind. This reminded me of a particular situation in "Legacy." When Nicole's mother, Lisa, tries to work with the welfare system, she always gets stuck. New rules are implemented, which leads to confusion of who to contact for information. Lisa loses a job because she doesn't talk to the right person about childcare. Both the article and the movie reveal that it is difficult for governments to keep up to date with vital information, and to give that information to the people. In both cases, those who lose are the people who need help the most.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hey Guys,
I already talked to Nate about this, but if this doesn't relate to our class, than nothing does! I also plan on having one of my reporters write a similar story for the Badger Herald tomorrow (Thursday).. so be sure to check it out there. (and yes, I just did a "sales pitch" for my paper.)

See you next Wednesday!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Exam Review: Five Days on the Digital Dirt Road - Online Lecture

This assignment was a Thursday online lecture done in 2007 about five different people living in North Carolina experiencing a lack of Internet connectivity. Here is a summary of each person's story:

Day One - Rhonda from Pemboke
Rhonda currently lives with dial-up because high-speed internet is too expensive to afford right now. The economy is bad everywhere, and this area of North Carolina is really getting hit hard because they're primarily a textile industry. Rhonda explains paying for groceries is more important than paying for faster internet.

Day Two - Jay from Person County
Jay is a farmer living in rural North Carolina on a 1,000 acre farm. He had dial-up right now but needs high-speed for the farm needs and his daughter in junior high school. The phone companies have said they would be out to install high-speed in the area but haven't followed through.

Day Three - Brooks from the Smoky Mountains
Brooks used to be a freelance writer before moving to a rural area in the mountains. He had to give up his writing career because the fastest internet connection he could get in the area was dial-up and it wasn't meeting the demands of his career.

Day Four - Layten from Spring Creek
Layten lives in a very rural area that only has dial-up internet access. Layten is also facing hardships brought on by the poor economy and may not be able to afford high-speed even if it was accessible.

Day Five - Sam from Rutherford County
Sam has a high-up position working for IBM. He lives in a rural area but absolutely needs a fast internet connection for his career. He has spent a lot of money and time building different infrastructures to get the fast connection that he needs. He went from a satellite on his roof much like a dish for satellite TV, to constructing a tall tower to get the fast connection.

Good luck studying everyone!

Exam Review

I am going to try and summarize the video: Bridging the digital divide, focusing on spanish communities. This video attempted to inform librarians and community members about a way to try and close the digital divide between spanish speaking communities. Many great points were brought up in this video about how we can incorporate certain things in our libraries that will make the spanish speaking community feel more comfortable in the libraries.

1) You need to find out where the spanish speakers are comfortable, REACH OUT!- worship groups, houses, schools, book stores, advocacy groups...etc.
2)Make personal contact with them
3)Build trust and personal relationships with customers- spanish signs and language sections
4)Be flexible issuing library cards
5)Location of spanish materials- front and center of back in the corner? Which one?
6)Take your time with them
7)Brush up on your spanish and have bilingual employees
8)Hire spanish speakers to work in classrooms and computer labs
9)Recruit spanish speaking volunteers to help out
10)Schedule classes around work schedules
11)Consider Childcare issues
12)Set up carpools

These were the main points that I got from the video. If anyone got any others they would like to add please do so. Hopefully these will refresh your memory of what the video was about.

Exam 2 Review

The main point of the film Afro@ Digital shown in lecture was to show the different emerging types of technology being used by Africans, and how this is a part of the Digital Divide. First, the video discussed cell phones. Many people interviewed said they were helpful in jobs- that old methods of communication were too slow, and this way they could reach someone much quicker. They talked about African cybercenters opening so that students could have access to computers for school and research. Also, if they gained enough computer skills, they could eventually go on and make that into a career. Computers were also used for business transactions- though many people were limited by the fact that they didn't have a credit card. They also discussed how computers were important for documenting memories. The other types of technology briefly mentioned in the film were recording studios and filmmaking technology.

The Digitl Divide as a Complex and Dynamic Phenomenon

Van Dijk defines access in four different ways mental access, material access, skills, access and usage access. Mental access is your personal interest in using computers, material access is possession of a personal computer or network connection, skills access is the skills needed to use the Internet efficiently and usage access is having a reason to the Internet.

Van Dijk defines digital skills more closely and breaks them down into three groups instrumental, informational, and strategic. Instrumental skills is the ability to operate software and hardware. Informational skills are the skills used for finding information using software and strategic skills are skills to use information for own purpose.

"Crossing the Divide"

The movie watched during discussion called " Crossing the Divide" can easily be compared to some of the terms and topics of discussion from week 7.

First of all, the term access can easily be related to some of the students and their families from the movie. Kep's parents specifically did not have access at home. They did not have a computer at home(device), there was a language barrier between them and their community which prevented their learning how to use a computer and the internet. (literacy) Lastly, Kep's family owned a private business and they had a large family so the cost of a computer and an internet connection may have prevented their access (conduit).

However, in comparison Sedra had more access based on her family's economic standing, her father's ocupation, and living in Silicon Valley. Her father worked for an important tech. company which increased the literacy of their whole family. They could also afford to buy computers for their home and pay for an internet connections.(device and conduit)

Lastly Travis was a good example of literacy practice, the capability to understand and communitcate that knowledge. Travis needed to design a peice of software, showing that he understood how the software worked, and he also had to explain how the software worked and what he was doing to his teachers and people on the school board. If he was unable to do this he would not graduate. So therefore he needed to demonstrate that he was literate and could practice that literacy.

Bridging the Digital Divide in Spanish Speaking Community

  • nowhere is the digital divide more evident than in the Spanish speaking community
  • 32% home internet access for Spanish speakers
  • Methods to reach out in order to bridge gap
  1. Teaming schools with libraries
  2. Spanish materials in own section
  3. Less strict library card rules (example: no photo id required)
  4. Computer/technology training for Spanish speakers

Louise Robbins’ A Question of Access

Although this lecture was a long time ago, I am going to try my best to sum up the main themes of it. There are three requirements for being able to participate in the global knowledge society. They are literacy, or the ability to read and write, content, which refers to the information being in one's language and being suitable to one's needs, and access to that content, which means having an internet connection, having transportation to libraries, etc.

The main theme of this presentation was that racism was very alive in libraries before the 1960s. In the early 1903s, there were very few libraries in the South. Franklin Delano Roosevelt introduced the Works Progress Administration, which developed suitable libraries. This helped to put a lot of libraries in the South. For example, Ruth W. Brown was fired for circulating Nazi propaganda, when she was truly fired for being an early integrator. Emily Reed was almost even fired in 1959 for circulating a book called "The Rabbits Wedding" because there was a picture of a white rabbit and a black rabbit on the cover. Finally, the ALA banned all segregated libraries in 1962.

The thing to take away from this lecture is that many racist acts were taking place related to libraries, but the wrong-doers would try to cover it up by rationalizing them in some way. World War 2 and accusations of communism were a few of the more popular excuses.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Week 8

Van Dijk defines access as four components:
Mental Access: interest in learning about digital technologies and experience with such devices
Material Access: possession of a computer and internet that will allow you access
Skills Access: Digital skills (refer to skills definition below)
Usage Access: reasons and opportunities to use

Different Types of Digital Skills
Instrumental Skills: ability to operate hardware and software
Informational Skills: operating digital equipment and sorting information
Strategic Skills: using information for one's own purpose

Week 7

Informationalism represents the 3rd industrial revolution where the computer and the internet play vital roles. Informationalism is characterized by advances in Science and Technology, a shift from material processing to information processing, the emergence and expansion of new forms of networked industrial organization and the rise of socioeconomic globalization. Basically, where the previous two revolutions made economies grow by the introductions of machinery (1st revolution) and electricity (2nd revolution), the current revolution is bringing the world together with rapid advances in science and technology that allow industries to grow multinationally without much trouble and where the computer and internet are key to success.

The new categories of workers are routine production workers, who are similar to blue collar workers of today, these are the factory workers, data processers, etc.
in-person service workers who still have relatively low skill or extra schooling, and are in the service sector (jobs like janitors, hospital attendants, taxi drivers)
symbolic analysts who make use of ICT for analysis and interpretation of data
Does anyone have a good definition of informationalism?
what is trend amplifiers?

Week Nine: Questioning the Digital Divide

How does James' critique differ from Compaine's?
James critiques Compaine's stance on the digital divide because Compaine believes the digital gap will close on its own. He uses other technologies as examples, telephones for instance, to show that there is little need for government intervention. As technologies increase, they will be cheaper to produce and use, and therefore, everyone will eventually be able to access them. However, James' critique says that the pooerer countries will always be behind the richer countries as far as technologies goes because when it finally becomes accessible to everyone, the richer countries are going to have developed a new and better form. Therefore, the gap will continue to increase without intervention.

What factors does Compaine suggest increase the adoption of computer and internet use?
Rapidle declining costs and increasing power of the hardware; improving ease of use; increasing availability of points of presence for local Internet Service Provider access; decreasing cost of internet access; and network externalities with email and chat.

How does Compaine describe access in this article?
Consumers' capital cost: Equipment and its upkeep; and the operating costs: Subscription and connection fees
Week Eight: March 10 & 12 - Defining the digital divide
Norris, P. (2001). “Understanding the digital divide” and “Social inequalities” in Pippa Norris, Digital divide: Civic engagement, information poverty, and the Internet worldwide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (26-38), (68-92).

• Understand the difference between stratification and normalization as it relates to technological diffusion.
• What are the characteristics of people who are more likely to be online?

Normalization is the path taken by previous technologies that were introduced.. such as television, radio, etc. In this graph, the lines make an S curve, representing the more elite groups that get the technology first, giving them an edge, with the middle class and lower classes eventually catching up as prices go down and the technology becomes cheaper. Eventually, prices become so low, the technology becomes saturated into the society, giving almost everyone access. Stratification is the opposite of this, and arguing that those who are given the initial advantage are likely to keep it because there will always be new technology and improvements to other technologies leaving the lower classes playing catch-up. As a result, the digital divide will always exist.

College graduates who are younger and white are the groups most likely to be online, as well as those who work in more professional and management positions.

REVIEW: Week Ten

Albert Hirschman's Theory of exit, voice, and loyalty

Members of a society have two possible choices when the neighborhood changes (race, income, crime): they can exit(meaning move out) or they can voice(meaning express their views through complaints or ideas to stop the negative change). When the citizens have strong loyalty, exit is minimal and voice is predominately used. Factors that contribute to loyalty are community organizations, stable jobs, and generational inertia.

Tipping Point

When something transitions from unique to common. In the book, this happens when the residents of the neighborhoods give up on their voice and loyalty and succumb to exiting the area. The rapid "invasion" of different ethnic backgrounds creates a sense of loss of control in the original community members.

Solutions suggested in Ch. 6

The authors suggest that these neighborhoods band together and set aside their cultural differences to build a better place to live. Essentially they say that these neighborhoods need to use bridging social capital.

Defining the Digital Divide--Norris

Understand the difference between stratification and normalizaiton as it relates to technological diffusion--
-Stratification is the pessimistic view of technology adoption that states that groups that are ahead in the digital world will always stay ahead of the curve and those behind the curve will never be able to catch up.
-Normalization is the optimistic view of technology adoption that claims that those who adopt technology as soon as it's introduced will be ahead of the curve until the price of that technology drops and the rest of the world is able to catch up.

Characteristics of people who are more likely to be online--
-Today, people who are more likely to be online live in post industrial societies. Not all of these people have college training. They are commonly people with modest incomes. While a gender gap in internet access in America is essentially nonexistent, in other countries, males are more likely to be online.


Access and Warschauer

Warschauer describes access in three parts:
  1. Device (computer, one-time purchases)
  2. Conduit (ongoing, monthly payments)
  3. *Literacy (set of social practices and cognitive abilites)
There are four resources also necessary for connectivity and informationalism: physical resources (access to devices again), digital resources (online information), human resources (literacy practices and education), and social resources (community/institutional ICT supporters).

ICT=Information and Communication Technology

Using these modes of access, the workforce will become less of a hierarchy of power and more of a network of colleagues working together with a more developed set of skills (opposed to repetitive, narrow skill sets).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Exam Review

How does Van Dijk define access? 
   Van Dijk defines four "barriers to access:"
--Mental Access: "Lack of interest, computer anxiety, and unattractiveness of new technology."
--Material Access: Lack of "possession of computers and a connection."
--Skills Access: "Lack of digital skills due to insufficient user friendliness and inadequate education or social support."
--Usage Access: "Lack of usage opportunities."

What are the different types of digital skills?
   Van Dijk's definitions:
--Instrumental Skills: "The ability to operate hardware and software."
--Informational Skills: Ability to "operate digital equipment and searching for information using digital hardware and software."
--Strategic Skills: "Using information for one's own purpose and position." 

Exam 2 Review - Week 7 Questions

Here is a start to the first set of questions. Please feel free to add to or adjust my answers!

How does Warschauer define access?
Warschuer defines access by devices and conduits, meaning ownership and obtaining a connection. The author also uses literacy to define access, meaning more specifically literacy practice rather than literacy skills because the application of literacy in social context is what is important, not the decontexualized cognitive ability.
What set of features and technologies describe the various industrial revolutions? The First Industrial Revolution, in the late 18th century, was marked with the invention of the printing press, steam engine and machinery. Work was done in workshops and the hierarchy of the time was: master-apprentice-serf. The second, in the late 19th century, was marked with electricity, internal combustion, the telegraph, and the telephone. Work was done in factories and large vertical hierarchies existed. The third, in the mid to late 20th century, was marked with the transistor, personal computers, telecommunications, and the Internet. The work was done in offices, with horizontal networks (teams).
Define and understand the concept of informationalism.
Informationalism represents a third industrial revolution. It is an information economy in which computers and the Internet play a major role. Informationalism has a driving role of science and technology for economic growth, focuses on information processing rather than material production, new forms of networked industrial organization are emerging and expanding, and socioeconomic globalization is rising because of informationalism.
What are the new categories of workers (as opposed to the old categories of blue-collar and white-collar workers)? What do workers in the new categories do?
The new categories are: routine production workers (data processors, payroll clerks, factory workers), in-person service workers (janitors, hospital attendants, taxi drivers), and symbolic analysts (software engineers, management consultants, strategic planners). All use computers or the Internet in their jobs, the first two in routine ways and the last for analysis and interpretation.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Difference Between James and Compaine

Hi all,

We didn't get to talk about the James article as much as I would have liked. To make up for it, I'm hoping to move our class discussion to our blog. The question comes from the list I sent out last week.

What are some examples of James’s evidence that he uses to argue against Compaine? How might Compaine reply?

James's article is replying directly to Compaine's--as well as a few others. You can see the number of times he cites him in his article. I'm asking us to give Compaine a chance to rebut. How might Compaine use James's evidence to argue for his point of view?

Please reply in the comment section of this post.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Like a couple of you have stated, OLPC has noble intentions, yet there other greater issues that developing countries are more concerned with than obtaining a slightly shoddy, toy-like laptop. I praise OLPC's efforts towards trying to close the digital divide by distributing technology aimed to make those recieving it feel connected to the rest of the world and equally priviledged. But, if one were to compare the quality of an XO laptop to that of one common in a developed country such as the U.S., you would see many differences and ineqaulities. Some characteristics of an XO laptop are listed below:

1). Instead of a large hard drive the laptop has 1GB of flash memory, similar to that used in some digital cameras.
2). The chip, made by AMD, is much slower than most in today's PCs, operating at a speed of just 433MHz. In comparison , some of today's high performance machines have multiple chips with speeds of up to 3GHz.
3). has no hard drive, CD or DVD drive.
4). can be difficult to physically use; very small keys and screen

Even though OLPC has a lot of work ahead before they can "put a laptop in the hands of every child on the planet," I still give them credit for caring and trying.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One Laptop Per Child

Hey all, as we talked about in class, we'll be using the blog to understand the OLPC program better. Please comment on this post with some new information about the program.

What does that mean for your responses? You'll have to read the post and the comments to make sure you're not repeating anything! We want to know as much as we can so we can make informed decisions about how this laptop relates to the issues we've been discussing in class.

So in relation, try to also provide some commentary about how your OLPC information relates to some portion of the class content.

This will be fun!


One of the most striking digital divides that I have come across, though unrelated to American libraries, is the vast difference between the technology available to children here, and that available to those in Africa. The One Laptop per Child organization strives to bridge that gap by donating inexpensive, interactive laptops to children in Africa. The article that I read described the program and stated how it lacks funding not only because we, technologically advanced nations, aren't giving enough but also because the governments of these countries are not willing to spend the money to test these unproven products that could take away from the standard teaching environment. The African governments are concerned about buying "an odd looking box with unfamiliar software" which is a valid concern. Relating this article to our class though, I think that this initiative is one that needs to be explored more. If we can provide children in Africa with internet access and computers, we will be able to further break down cultural and physical barriers between countries and people. This program will help promote business practices that can occur across any distance and can link up children in different countries to help with learning and understanding the size of the world. Further, children will get involved with technology at an early age and will have an advantage, or at least an even playing field in the business world in the futures. This is something that libraries in the US provide as well. While one laptop per child here too would be a stretch, every family having access to a computer and the internet is not. That is achievable thanks to libraries which, much like the One Laptop Per Child organization, serve to bridge the digital divide and bring those underprivileged individuals to the level that the rest of the world is at.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hey everyone! I didn't talk in lecture today either, but I had a bunch of thoughts. 

In response to the previous post on today's lecture... I know I had a reporter write about broadband access for farmers in a recent Badger Herald issue. Obama was increasing broadband access as part of his stimulus package, but I don't know anything more about taxes,etc. 

However, I really wanted to comment on the personal experience I had in Costa Rica in a library. I went to the country on a school trip in high school, and although I had some Spanish language knowledge, I didn't know enough about the language to go around the library myself, so I can only imagine how scary it is for recent immigrants here. 

In Costa Rica, the libraries were much smaller, darker and not nearly as welcoming. I don't know, or rather don't remember, anything about if you had to pay for services, but I remember that nearly everyone there was waiting to use a computer, which most people didn't have at their homes. Each person would only check out a few things and then someone else would have a turn. 

I thought it was very interesting to think about today because I hadn't thought much about the experience until lecture today. 

Lecture Today!

Hey guys!
So I get a little nervous talking in front of the entire lecture, so I didn't today. But my question was regarding the new online bills and internet access that President Obama is attempting to put in to action currently. I think it is an excellent idea to have broadband internet access for everyone in the country. However, I am concerned as to how these changes will be funded. Will there be new taxes? Will funds be taken away from other causes? I guess the issue here is whether or not we have enough funds to complete this task especially in our current economy. I feel that internet access for all is a just cause, but I don't feel like it is realistic to say that every single person in the U.S. will be provided with access. 

Let me know your thoughts. This was just something I was thinking about in lecture today! :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Informationalism and Division of Labor

Hey all, we didn't manage to cover all our discussion questions this week, so this week's blogging prompt is from the question list. As you're responding, please note your classmates' responses. Try to respond to each other as much as my prompt.

4. Robert Reich (former Secretary of Labor who also made a cameo in the “Digital Divides” video) has suggested “the principal division [in labor] is no longer between blue-and white-collar workers but rather among three new categories” (22). What are those categories and how are they different than blue- and white-collar divisions? How do these divisions play into our discussions about inequality, digital divide, and racial ravines?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Digital Divides Video

This week in discussion we watched a movie called Digital Divides. This movie focused our attention on youth, computers, education, and employment. I'd like you to post your initial reactions to the movie as well as provide more analysis about what this film adds to our overall class discussions. Please provide several paragraphs so that we can get a good idea of the point you'd like to make.

Some good starting points would be to compare and contrast the differing stories. We witnessed four different stories--those of Luisa, Cedra, Travis, and Kep. How do issues that we've been discussing in class relate to their stories? How can we think about their narratives in terms of racial ravines, 4Cs, or social capital? What sorts of differences allow some of them to do well but not others?

I'd also like everyone to reply to one of the responses. In particular, I'd like you to respond to a classmate that noticed something you hadn't. Was there any reason you didn't notice that particular point? Do you think about labor and race differently now because of that post?

Friday, February 20, 2009

LIS 202 Study Guide Post

This week will be used to prepare for the exam.

A study guide will be distributed later this week, and your online blogging assignment this week is to choose one part of it and answer a question for your peers. As others fulfill this assignment, try to choose something someone else hasn't answered. The test preparation will be much more effective if it covers a broader set of questions.

Cite page numbers, too! Part of good scholarship is allowing others to check your work. Be kind, and be as specific as you can about how and where you are getting your answers.

To keep this all organized, please respond in the comments to this post.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Children and Teenagers' usage of Cell Phone, it affects their brain to get cancer.

i read an article about Children and Teenagers' usage of Mobile Phone. As we know that technology is developing so quickly, as i say that, there are a lot of teenagers and children using mobile phone. It is not a big deal for them to have their own mobile phone. Some people have a opinion that, when you are growing and old enough to brain your storm it is time for you to get used to the new technology, which is cell phone for them. There could be bad affect for the teenagers who don't have a cell phone and low class family, because some teenagers have cell phone and despise them. Thus teenagers ask their family to buy a cell phone for them. This article talks about children and teenagers are using mobile phones a lot, and they are at risk, because their brain and nervous system is still developing, and also their head is smaller and thinner, thus the radiation penetrates deeper into their brains. we all know it but, nobody really really cares about it. people will not really care about it till they meet the result, thus rate of having cell phone in younger age will be increase year by year.
if you guys want to read this whole article here is the link

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thursday's Online Lecture- Community Analysis

Hey fellow 202ers! I am not sure if I should be blogging on the discussion blog or on Professor Whitmire's blog, but I figured I would share my answers to the questions from Thursday's online lecture!

First of all, the issue, as Professor Whitmire said in the online lecture, building new libraries and developing new resources for the less advantaged groups will take extreme dedication not only amongst librarians and politicians, but amongst the community members as well. As everyone is well aware during this time especially, money does not grow on trees. Projects like building new libraries and providing those resources to less fortunate groups will cost large amounts of money. Without the funding and resources, the digital divide and information gap will continue and spread even further. 

Also, when I did my comparison of libraries in Chicago, IL and Urbana, IL, I did notice similarities to the study Professor Whitmire presented. The library in Urbana was placed right in a collegiate area, thus was being used by more students and young people for studying, researching, and a simple gathering place. However, the urban Chicago library was not lacking in its use. I can see the parallel that could be drawn between education level and library use. Through my own education, I have learned so many new ways to gather information whether its through the internet, libraries, books, or interviews. I think that this knowledge that I take for granted may be one of the main reasons why less advantaged groups may not use the technological resources as readily. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stimulus and Digital Divide

So I just came across an article about how a part of the stimulus package is going to try and help. The package is giving about 7 billion dollars to "accelerate broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas and to strategic institutions that are likely to create jobs or provide significant public benefits." While the money may seem like a lot the "the amount is but a fraction of what is needed to establish the United States in terms of broadband versus other developed countries." One of President Obamas aides has said that the "broadband piece of the Obama agenda is not going to be done solely in the economic recovery package" and that the President "Obama will still pursue goals of expanding broadband access for the unserved and underserved and getting public safety officials a national network." I think this is interesting because when I looked for things about the digital divide and former President Bush I found articles on how little he tried to do. When President Bush entered office the US was 4 in broadband penetration and coming out of office the US was 15th. I think its interesting how the President can influence the digital divide. Also Obama is a man who e mails a lot and Bush didn't at all so its funny how there is also a generational gap between the two Presidents.

Stimulus and Digital divide

Bush and technology


Friday, February 13, 2009

Online Lecture

Am I missing something, or was the online lecture for this week not posted? I have no week four listed on Learn@UW...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Accidentally ignorant parents and the internet

This article published by on Tuesday, February 10th talks about parents unknowingly allowing their children to surf the dangerous net without guidelines and rules. The author, Chris Pirillo, gives a few suggestions to help clueless parents control what their children view on the internet, including investing in some parent controls and establishing firm rules about what kinds of websites are appropriate.

As Pirillo explains, it's not that these parents are intentionally being negligent in their parenting, but rather the disparities of age and even education are inhibiting them from making good decisions regarding what their children do in their free time. This article relates with what we've been learning about because people of our parents' age were not raised with the internet, and some therefore do not understand it and/or are familiar with it. This is a great example of two cultural disparities (age and education) getting in the way of understanding/accessing a modern information technology (the Internet).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

comparison of 2 libraries

Chicago Public Library
-total income: $90,988,539
-branches: 77
-interlibrary loans recieved: 4,340
-bookmobiles: 2
-public internet terminals: 1,500
-librarians with ALA-accredited MLS: 276.59 without: 10.17
-book and serial volumes: 4,896,854
-total circulation (per year): 6,746,110
-circulation of children's materials: 2,617,312
-Chicago's caucasian population is the largest, followed relatively closely by African American. Its largest age group is 25-44, and median family income is $56,151. Its total circulation per year is lower than that of Los Angeles'. This may be because Los Angeles' median income is lower than Chicago's and has a younger population, thus people may not be able to afford buying books and therefore visit the library more often to borrow books and utilize other servies.

Los Angeles Public Library
-total income: $108,260,972
-branches: 71
-interlibrary loans recieved: 312
-bookmobiles: 0
-public internet terminals: 2,502
-librarians with ALA-accredited MLS: 425.5 without: 0
-book and serial volumes: 6,393,429
-total circulation (per year): 15,694,601
-circulation of children's materials: 4,871,133

Technology Article Blog

Instead of picking an article that deals directly with technology inequalities, I picked an article that deals indirectly with it. I chose an article that deals with highering minimum wage. I think that a lot of libraries and people dont get the opportunities for technology because most can barely afford to live week to week much less afford extras such as computers cell phones etc. This might not directly affect technology use in libraries, but then again it might. It costs a lot to upgrade libraries, so they can serve technological needs, but not all of this funding comes from the state, some I believe is used in taxes. So people might go against upgrading because they can't afford it that way either. I think that raising minimum wage would give people more money or options to make technology upgrades

tech. divides

"Bridging the Global Digital Divide, One Laptop at a Time."

I thought this article was interesting because as the title states, it addresses global technological inequalities, specifically with computer/internet access. It seems that in areas of great poverty, access to computers is especially difficult and hard to come by. Because of their economic status, these people are put at an unfair disadvantage towards recieving information as well as the knowledge people who do have computers available are able to possess. Many computer companies and activists are trying to bridge this divide through the creation of easy-to-use and affordable laptops that have already been distributed around the world to underpriviledged developing countries, most noteably Africa in particular. The non-profit organization, One Laptop per Child for example, has already released its first model and is working on its second version. They are hoping these computers will not only bridge the digital divide, but also educate the people recieving this technology. Some are skeptical that such laptops will really improve these people's education, but I think that technology companies are doing a good job in initiating the first steps towards bettering citizens of third world countries' lives and making resources available to them. I praise their efforts for sincerely trying to create a small sense of equity in the world through their laptop programs.

Week Four Discussion

Hey Guys! I missed discussion this week because I wasn't feeling well last night. I thought I would post some of my comments about the reading just to keep in touch.

I thought that the article by Koontz did a very well job explaining throughout the whole article that you can not judge which libraries deserve to remain open and which ones should be closed by their statistics. Koontz explains this because libraries now do more than check out books. This is explained well when Koontz there is an increased "use of various media formats such as audio and video, CD-ROM, and eventually electric resources." Aggregated statistics also overlook the increasing amount of people who use the library for strictly internet use. I also think the fact that they were looking at diverse neighborhoods, aggregated statistics fail to examine at what the minorities use the libraries for.

For the Community Analysis article I liked there method of analysis better. I thought it was important that they performed the drive thrus they could witness for themselves what happens in these communities that way they can get a better idea of what the people are like. I also thought this analysis was better because it seemed like they were going as far as they could to get answers to all there questions. This was made apparent when the authors state, "the systematic and overlapping process continued as long as there were unanswered questions."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I'll admit, I had trouble finding an article for the project until I stumbled across an article on CNN about how Microsoft is coming out with an application store (similar to that for the iPhone) and will also be updating is software for so-called "smartphones," hoping to keep pace with Apple's gains while improving it's overall market share, as it fights with customers over brands like Blackberry. 

Let me just say, I have a "smartphone," and I love it because I continually have access to the latest information, either on CNN or Perez Hilton. That being said, I think smartphones really do contribute to the information divide, since some members of the population are give continual access to the latest information in the pocket, while others don't have that same access. For example, I was able to watch President Obama's swearing in ceremony on my phone despite the fact that I had class. Other students might have missed out on that experience just because they didn't have the latest technology in their back pocket. 

I think smart phones also contribute to a technological divide because they cost more and are becoming increasingly popular for cell phone providers to carry instead of traditional phones. As a result, people from lower income classes may no longer be able to afford cell phones at all, since they won't be able to buy the phone or the additional service that you often have to buy when you purchase the phone. Not only does this create a technological divide, I think it also creates a safety issue-- do we really want someone walking back from the library at 2am without a cell phone? If they were attacked, how could they call the police for help? Clearly, these type of innovations, while exciting and new, are likely to cause just as much harm as good. 

Technological Inequality in Television Switch

I found an article about the recent digital TV switch set to be instated on February 17th throughout the United States. In this Fox News article, it was discussed that President Obama is attempting to push back the digital TV switch due to inequity between class groups. Obama feels that if the switch is made, many rural, elderly, and minority groups will not have access to a working television. Also, switching from an antenna to the new technology requires a converter box, which may be too pricey for some families. The previous solution to this issue was to provide these families/people with converter box coupons, however, the waiting list for the coupons is currently exceeding 1.1 million people. The digital TV switch has many positive influences including freeing up airwaves to be used for other services such as emergency wireless lines. However, if minorities and many poverty-stricken people will lose this form of communication and information, are the benefits worth the cost? 

I can't really decide how I feel about this issue. I agree that people shouldn't lose access to this valuable communication medium, however, I understand the need for use of those taken airwaves. Does anyone have an opinion with some support on this issue?

Article: Can be found on under Obama: Let's Postpone Digital TV Switch

The Divide is Everywhere

I had been searching the technology portion of the New York Times for quite some time trying to find the perfect article that showed the digital divide.  It wasn't until I read articles about the Kindle, new blogs on Google, street lights that could be turned on by cell phones, podcasts, Twitter and chip plants that I realized how much technology our society depends on.  Think about it, if you had no money to buy a computer, or a cell phone, look at how much stuff you would be missing out on.  There would be no blogging, no podcasts, let alone a Kindle.  People on low incomes have to choose which technology is more important to them.  Is it a computer?  A cell phone?  If they choose to have both, maybe that means they don't have a car or can't make the rent payments.  The digital divide is much more prevalent than we think.  Even among those teenagers who have texting and those who don't, the divide shows.  Those that don't have texting tend not to be contacted as much as those who do.  The digital divide is all over the place, just looking through the New York Times reminded me of that.

Health Inequities and Green Areas

An article in the USA Today brought an interesting approach to the idea of inequity and inequality in health. A British study found that health differences between rich and poor could be narrowed with the simple addition of green, open areas.

"Dr. Richard Mitchell, of the University of Glasgow, and his colleagues noted that previous studies have shown that the presence of green space has an independent beneficial effect on health and health-related behaviors.... In areas with the most green space, the health gap between the richest and poorest people was about half as large as that in the least green areas..."

Though this is not directly related to Informational inequalities, the connection between social class and well-being is prevalent. This finding provides support for the idea that if people, regardless of class, have somewhere to be active in a good environment, their health will benefit. This is especially crucial, the article says, for those in poverty because costly health care creates a divide in who can and who cannot receive adequate health treatment.

This study shows how important a natural environment really is. Green areas not only improve standard of living by making people happier and more relaxed; they also can improve health and reduce the mortality rate of all incomes for preventable diseases such as circulatory disease and coronary heart disease.

This article made me think of the those that would be most affected by a hypothetical "green space" in a Metropolitan area. Those in urban settings, where a large minority population can be found, would benefit the most.

Las Vegas's Latest Gamble

The February 8th New York Times article, Roll of the Dice on Las Vegas's Shabby Downtown, investigates the mayor of Las Vegas's decision to raise taxes on the lower-income parts of the city during the present economic decline. Downtown, which is faded and ignored "like a worn-out show girl," is mostly filled with older bars, wedding chapels, cash-checking stores, and a few new things like outlet malls. Mayor Oscar B. Goodman wants to dump cash in the eroding area to revive its glitz. Consider some of the plans for the editions/additions:
The project would include a new city hall (never mind that the existing one, built in 1973, has an addition only six years old), a casino resort (the first in downtown in some three decades) and office, residential and commercial space (because, the developers of this project assert, the eventual economic recovery will create demand for it).
The project would include a new city hall (never mind that the existing one, built in 1973, has an addition only six years old), a casino resort (the first in downtown in some three decades) and office, residential and commercial space (because, the developers of this project assert, the eventual economic recovery will create demand for it).
While the idea of revamping a decaying or tired part of a city is admirable and part of a mayor's responsibility, the timing and choice of neighborhood is unfair to the rest of a city known for swimming in money. "For taxpayers, the bottom line could mean borrowing $150 million to $267 million, with tax revenue from new development paying it back over time," the journalist reports. That is a lot of money to invest in a hope for the "eventual" for an area struggling with rent, mortgages, and business expenses. Especially as the burden is on those who live there and the reason is to clean up the face of the main drag.
He [the mayor] thought little of suggesting that federal stimulus dollars help finance a planned museum — downtown, of course — commemorating the mob’s role in building up Las Vegas...The downtown casinos have, however, never matched the allure of the Strip or its gambling and hotel revenue, and the area, though popular with some locals, has long struggled with crime and blight.
The injustice of imposing taxes on struggling communities to build and buy sports teams, arenas, more casinos, land, unnecessary city buildings, 1,000-room hotels, etc. is unnecessary padding of reputation for the wealthy without concern for the critical economic climate of less-prosperous areas or impoverished areas. It's not unlawful injustice, but it's inconsiderate social injustice. The downtown will not gain the most from this makeover--even if the will accrue more business, it will take more than newly-painted walls and fresh pavement to make it safe, and welcoming, and the fall before the eventual decline could be widespread and caused by one man concerned with appearance. Improvements can only be made when people can afford it, and the mayor is risking the entire low-income downtown by raising taxes.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Technoligical Inequality

While researching the topic of this assignment, I came across an article that was very relevant to our class discussions and the overall theme of this class. This article explained the trends of homeowners owning a computer with Internet access. It concluded that the percent of families owning a computer and utilizing the Internet increases as the households income increased, and that income was the main reason why a family would or would not own a computer. The authors also discovered that African Americans and Hispanics still owned less computers than Caucasians, even if they were making the same amount of money. They explain that this may be due to the fact that Whites have a higher percentage of high school and college graduates than African Americans and Hispanics. In other words, just because one can afford the Internet doesn't mean they have the proper education to know how to use it. The article then goes on to talk about a program called "Computers for Youth" based out of New York, which basically gives out computers and educates inner-city students and faculty about how to use them. This is a very good way to increase the knowledge and use of the Internet, but there is still going to be a lot of work to do before inequality does not exist among everyone who should have a computer, no matter what their race or income is.

Health Technology

The article I was reviewing dealt with expanding health information technology in hospitals. It was not only focused on the large complex hospitals, but also on the smaller local hospitals. The basis of my article was that hospitals were adding computerized technology to decrease the risk of error and provide better care to the patients. Things like computerized physician order entry, computerized decision support systems and barcoding for medication administration were all being introduced into the hospitals to improve the quality of care. Not only did they believe that these new systems would improve care, they also thought that the efficiency of the hospital would increase. Today it is certain that we are living in a technological based society. Everything is run on technology now, but 50 years ago it was not. Thinking about all of these computer based programs being introduced into the hospitals you have to wondering if the elderly people are going to be able to figure them out. Young adults have been around computers for long enough that they know the basic functions of them. Older adults, or people without access to computers are not going to be as competent with the computer systems and they are going to struggle. So are these technologies really improving efficiency? For many people YES but for many others NO.
I compared New York City and Chappaqua, both located in New York. The differences I found were the the city of New York has a service population of 3,313, 573 and has 5 buroughs with 1 central library throughout them. The library has a circulation of 15,710, 007. Chappaqua is almost all white in population 91% and New York has 44.1% white members. The economic status of Chappaqua is generally speaking, higher than New York which explains the difference in race and visitors.

Cell Phone Rings Annoy

I read an article on regarding cell phone usage (cnn) that piqued my interest as it was in regard to cell phone rings, an all so common topic in today's modern society. In the beginning of the article there is controversy on whether or not ringtones are appropriate depending on the location-- one woman in Virginia had "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" as her ringtone and it went off at her wedding rehearsal dinner, causing upheaval and mistrust among the groom and his family. The article also discusses how the older generations (that don't necessarily understand how to customize ringtones or retrieve them) are allowing their younger counterparts to customize and set their phones to ringtones of their choice. When the phone goes off, a message is sent (regarding the political and message of the song choice) to the outside world that the older member of society who has an unequal view of technology might not have chosen, might not approve of, and might not know how to remove. Lasty, the article talks about the million dollar industry that is being created  as people are intrigued by this "new" feature and constantly purchase. People that can not spend money on rent, per se, are therefore buying  on average, about 10 ringtones, at about $2.99 a piece. It add's up. Money is being wasted on a fleeting trend that people may not know how to use, may not know is hurtful to their image and may not be able to remove.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Last Thursday's lecture/assignment!

Hey guys! I don't see anything new on Learn@UW and didn't get an email from the professor about Thursday's lecture or assignment. Did we have a lecture or assignment to go over? Let me know! Thanks! -Julie

Digital Archivists, Now in Demand

Due to the growing importance of technology in today's society, the demand for digital asset managers, or digital archivists, is greatly increasing. lack of technological knowledge can put people at a great disadvantage in the career world, especially when pursuing a career in any field dealing with business or information processing. Jacob Nadal is the preservation officer at UCLA and he stated in this article, "If you want to work in a library, you have to deal in electronic resources." These days, technology plays a huge role in information sharing, as well as most business transactions. Those who are not fortunate enough to have a strong bachground in these types of technology will haev to work much harder at successding in these fields of work, creating many inequalities among people pursing such careers.

That Digital Divide, Bridged in a Classroom

This article discusses the challenges of computer and technology use that older generations face while trying to advance in their careers. Today, many people are having to find second jobs or coming out of retirement in order to make ends meet. However, with a statistic of "computer use among adults 65 and older ...[at] 38 percent" finding suitable jobs can be really difficult. Luckily, many colleges and communities are offering computer classes for those who need them. Personally, I have noticed a divide in the use of computers in my family. My dad is not as familiar with computer programs, typing on a keyboard and using the internet as the rest of the family.But because he's the one who takes care of most of the finances and taxes, it takes him a little more time to do those things online, than it would if he was more familiar with the technology. I think that this often happens, and in some situations, people may avoid computer use all together because of their frustrations. This problem could expand to not just age, like the article discusses, but possibly race, ethnicity, and economic standing as well. Which in turn would create even more divides between all of these groups of people.

Technical college difficulties

This article describes the recent influx of students into the Wisconsin Technical College system. These students consist mostly of middle aged adults who have been laid off from their jobs because of the recent economic downturn. The students are seeking to re-educate themselves and gain a new career. Because these students have not been in school for a while, they often lack fundamental skills such as math and computer skills. Willingness to learn may seem to lessen the technology gap, but the economy may put learning to a stand still. Technical colleges receive much of their funding from state programs and property taxes. With the state budget in deficit, the schools aren't getting the funding they need. Likewise teachers and supplies are in high demand and low supply. Though citizens are willing to learn new technology, the state is unable provide.

read article here

Who Does the "Digital Divide" Effect?

I read an article about the "Digital Divide" and who uses technology, vs. who would use it more if it was avaliable to them. The article was interesting because it says that though research suggests lower classes would use technology more than upper classes if it was avaliable, upper classes use it more, and this is causing there to be a "electronic underclass", to which important technological services are unavaliable. However, they found that within those able to get online, the lower classes used the internet more. They had several possibilities as to why, including amount of leisure time, usefulness of the internet (for those who can't find the services elsewhere), and possibly the fact that lower- income people feel the cost of the internet is so high that they need to be on it more. This surprised me, because I have never had to pay for my internet, so trying to get alot of use out of it never occured to me.


This article focuses on Northwestern Indian College and the increase of internet use at the college. It describes how recently professors started relying on the internet to get information to their students. This is creating a problem for many of the students because they do not have access to the internet. The college is all wireless but most of the students cannot afford to have their own laptop computers and the they do not have enough computer labs for all the students at the college. Since the college did not want people to have to drop out of college because they could not access course work online, they college used a grant to purchases laptop computers that they could lone to the students. The laptop loan programs works like checking out a book, they students simply request a computer from the library and then return it when they are done using it. This program has proven succesful to help bridge the digital divide at Northwestern Indian College because the computers are available to anyone and they create another option for students to be able to connect to the interent.