Wednesday, May 13, 2009

reading race online

Supposedly the Internet can be an anonymous environment where people can pretend to be whoever they want to be. It can be an equalizer where people can be anonymous and not face discrimination based upon gender, age, race/ethnicity or class because the usual clues are absent. However Burkhalter suggested that racial cues can still be read online.

I think that Burkhalter is correct in his suggestion. Race is a result of physical qualities depicting how an individual is treated. Race is more of a social phenomena rather than solely skin color. Keeping this in mind it makes sense that when people use the Internet they can, to an extent, be identified This is because even without the physical there are still the consequences of that social relation between that individual and the actions and treatments of society. The result of the skin color is still present in a person's character and personality and therefore is only natural that it can be identified without the physical cue of skin color.

Exam 3 review

Chatman's theories about life in the round are similar to the experiences in Legacy in this way:

Chatman believes that life in the round sis a public form of life in which things are implicitly understood. In this round, there is a small world that establishes primary insiders. Also within the round there are social norms and types which tell us if our behavior is appropriate or not. Also, these norms and their acceptance (or lack thereof) help to create our worldview, held by boundaries of language, values, and symbols. Without a particular need or urgency, people in the round will seldom cross boundaries of their world to seek information.

These ideas of life in the round can be seen in Legacy because these characters have set for themselves worldviews that they are unwilling to cross. Due to self-protecting behaviors, we will not do something that others in our round deem inapporpriate, therefore limiting ourselves to only living in our world. The characters of Legacy were very stuck in their worldviews and ideas of social norms that they only began to cross them when it became clear there was a pressing need, and that their lives in the round were no longer functioning in ways that were beneficial to them.

one laptop per child

i guess i never did this post either...

I think the concept of One Laptop Per Child should be our ULTIMATE goal, however deploying diffusion strategy NOW should not be an IMMEDIATE goal. I think when it comes to technology and developing countries, it becomes a "What came first?" equation. Do we give these countries all the technology they need in order to develop faster and remove themselves from poverty and war, or do other things like food and government intervention need to come first in order to achieve the level of technology desired? I believe the latter strategy must be deployed.

In my opinion, I don't think the issue is "will these kids be able to use this?" as much as "is this practical in these child's lives now?" is. Referencing Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, food and shelter comes much before entertainment and mental stimulation. I think our eagerness to see these countries in Africa get on a fast track towards 1st world status has blinded us to the actual needs of these countries. While OLPC may be slightly practical in nations such as South Africa, who have a greater deal of development, it would gain much less momentum in a nation like Sudan. I think instead of asking wealthy nations to contribute to the program, ask them to contribute to one meal per child, or one home per family.

Disregarding my beliefs that One Laptop Per Child should not be our first initiative in Africa, I do believe in what it is trying to establish. Even though these children receiving the laptop may have no idea how to use it, there is a level of curiosity that I guarantee will be generated. I think that by sparking even the smallest bit of curiosity in what this machine is, and how it works, the rest will come. Getting these children started early in the processes of research and learning will be so beneficial for countries and will breed a new generation more eager to change their current situation.

week 12

•Jaeger et al. (2006) 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?

- sufficient of connectivity: ex: broadband access
- main point: how gov't is now becoming internet and digitally inclusive.......counting how many people are on the internet as opposed to not on the internet.....this drastically effects funding!
- number of work stations in public libraries
-CIPA banning content deemed as unsuitable to minors--> this leads to less internet freedom and could decrease access.


ahh! Sorry I forgot about this one! After reading everyone's responses, I would have to say that I agree with the majority of people's concerns like the issues of access, what if the kids grow out the computers, will they know how to use them and doesn't Africa have more important concerns on its mind. However, I would like to say that we are being too negative about this great initiative and step in the right direction. I don't think we are giving kids enough credit when it comes to learning how to use the computer. I think that as long as there is someone to guide them through the first steps of turning it on and opening it as well as using the other programs then they will be able to figure out the rest- kids are a lot smarter than we notice. Secondly, I think that they will be grateful enough to have a computer that even as they grow up they will still use it. However, I think that a lot of the issues we have with the program are future ones, not present. I think that while this project could have a positive influence on the kids receiving the laptops there are bigger issues at hand. I really feel that if these laptops were delivered to people in starving areas of the country they wouldn't really care about them, they would be more worried about where their next meal is coming from. I would expect that most of them would sell the computers in exchange for food or other necessities, and to be honest, who wouldn't? People's lives are a lot more important than having a computer. As Compaine said in his article, "a society that has more important issues, such as feeding and housing its people, providing safety and security, and creating general well-being would place access to entertainment and information well down on the list of priorities." I would totally agree with the African government being skeptical about these computers because they have real, pressing issue to deal with. Although this idea is a valiant one, it might be better for people in stable environments that can make use of the computers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Exam Review: Servon, Chapter 8

Which Seattle residents were less likely to have access to computers (page 201)? Compare these statistics with the Collins family. How many of these characteristics did the Collins family share?

African Americans in Seattle had significantly less access than compared to Caucasians and Asian-Americans. 35% of African Americans did not have access to the Internet at the time of the study, and only 52% of African American respondents had a computer at home. More than half of the people without computer access were over the age of 65, 68% had low incomes, and 36% had a high school education or less. These statistics go along very well with the Collins family -- they were African American, low-income, and the parents had a high school education or less.

Be able to describe some of the solutions that various organizations in Seattle designed to help close the digital divide. Would any of these solutions benefit the Collins family in Chicago? If so, which ones?

  • Citizens' Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board: use money from the Citizens' Literacy and Access Fund to create a citywide IT planning position within the Department of Information Technology (formerly Department Technology Division). This made Seattle the first city to have a community technology planner.
  • The Citizens' Literacy and Access Fund also includes a Technology Matching Fund, which gives money to increase access, support IT training, and/or "encourage IT applications that support neighborhood planning and action" to organizations that provide their own volunteer labor, materials, professional services, or want donations matched.
  • Information Technology Indicator Project: aims to build a "technology healthy community," in which technology enhances the local economy, is equitable and affordable, meets needs and solves social issues, promotes relationship-building and community development, and supports the "sustainability of residents' quality of life."
  • NNC: helped establish more than fifty CLCs (computer learning centers) in Washington. The long terms goals are to provide each center with internet access, to form alliances with small businesses, to make all centers accessible to the elderly and disabled, and to establish a software clearinghouse.
The Collins family likely would have benefitted from the Information Technology Indicator Project (meets needs, solves social issues, supports residents' quality of life), the CLCs started by the NNC (with internet access, finding jobs or getting a GED/college degree would have been easier), and possibly the different projects supported by the CLAF (like the IT training).


If anyone has not seen or wants some more information on Legacy, there are some good things on the PBS website about the documentary and how it came to be made. 

Study Guide

•Jaeger et al. (2006) 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?
o Insufficient bandwidth and broadband
o Rural libraries have less access to workstations, non-filtered workstations, high-speed connectivity, and wireless Internet
o Public libraries are running out of space to provide sufficient workstations
•Significant disparities exist as to whom has access and where adequate public access to the internet is possible. At issue are
o The degree to which it should be national policy to reduce these disparities and work toward providing equal access to Internet information and services
o The rights of citizens to adequate access of the Internet and the range of information and services the Internet allows
o The societal or financial costs associated with being digitally inclusive versus digitally exclusive


1.) Providing a summary
This article dealt with how Seattle combated the digital divide - they were deemed most successful of any town by the author and should be an example for other successful works against the digital divide.
2.) Defining key terms
Although more than 75% of Seattel residents have a computer in their home, groups who do not tend to be older, low-income, low-education and African American or Latino.

The city established public workstations with access to the web in neighborhood and community centers across the city, provides free hosing for community organizations online. The Technology Matching Fund provides resources to neighborhood and city organizations for citizen-driven technology literacy and access projects.

They still have a problem with maintenance for CTC’s, and there is a group working to increase public awareness about the digital divide. They established indicators to measure success of their plans and then have collaborated with the corporate sector and a community college to get support.

3.) Analyzing potentially weak points in the author’s argument.

I think the argument was solid, especially because the author addressed how far Seattle still has to go and how things still aren't great even though they are sufficiently improved from where they have been.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bishop Article Review

What were the information needs of members of this community?
  • Community Services - Organizations
  • Resources for children
  • Healthcare
  • Leisure activities
  • Employment information and resources
  • Education
  • Crime and Safety
What barriers did members of this community face?

The members of this community who partook in this study found information barriers in:
  • Cost
  • Lack of informational and technological knowledge
  • Lack of convenience
Many members of this community expressed the need for IT access in more convenient and applicable locations.  Many felt that to have the only public access in libraries was not very convenient.  Suggestions were made to have terminals in places where they could be used more purposefully such as stores, hospitals, schools, and courthouses.

How were these issues similar or dissimilar to to those faced by the Collins family in Legacy?

This study did not deal with members from the community facing mental barriers; participants in this study were very optimistic and excited to use information technologies and gain information.  This is a big contrast with the family in Legacy; especially Nicole's mother was very apprehensive to seek any sort of information and faced many mental barriers of fear and distrust.  Some of the other barriers did exist in both this study and the documentary.  The Collins family faced the barriers of cost and definitely lacked informational skills and knowledge.  
Another important point of Bishop's study was outlining reasons for seeking access.  These included self-improvement, fear of being left out, the desire to advance, and desire to obtain educational information.  We can see many of these same desires in the Collins family, especially in Nicole.  We can see how Nicole overcame many of the barriers her family was stuck behind to obtain the information and life she desired.

Exam Review-Dervin Lecture

Just a couple things on the review sheet. Hope this helps a little!

In-class lecture about Dervin and Chatman
-Dervin viewed a community information system as an organic whole compromised of individuals, their information needs and problems, information sources, and solutions to needs and problems. Also identified “societal, institutional, physical, psychological, and intellectual barriers to access and use.

-Chatman examined the information needs and information-seeking behavior of marginalized populations. Four key concepts being

1. Security

2. Deception

3. Risk taking

4. Situational relevance

-Chatman proposed information poverty is associated with class distinction, is determined by self-protective behaviors,

-Life in the round: a public form of life in which things are implicitly understood. Members in the round will not seek out information or cross boundaries to do so. They will only cross boundaries if the information is seen as relevant or critical.

-Concepts of insiders and outsiders

1. (four concepts) 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 hard to escape. People who live in the round rarely are encouraged to leave it, and it seems almost impossible to do so. It is thought that people in the round will not cross boundaries to receive information unless the information is seen as relevant or critical. I would argue that the Colin’s family is a direct representation of a family who lived life in the round. There was no immediate need to seek information, or to get out of the projects, until a catalyst (the cousin who died) made it essential that the Colins family sought out information so that they were able to move on with their lives, and move out of the projects.

Exam Review: Jaeger et al. article

Here are the notes that I got out of reading the Jaeger article. They help to answer the question from the study guide, and there are some key terms that might be on the test.

• One issue was that there just weren’t enough work stations in each library and so patrons were not able to have access, even though it was available in the actual library. Rural areas have the least about of work stations and it also depends on poverty level
• High speed connectivity is not evenly distributed across libraries. Urban libraries have higher connection speeds.
• Demand for bandwidth is increasing
• Current government view is that we are now “digitally inclusive”: concentrating on how many people are online rather than how many people are not, and viewing how many people there are online as an accomplishment
o This leads to cuts in funding but funding needs to be ongoing and continuous.
• Children’s internet protection act (CIPA): puts a limitation on a great range of information that people want to reach
o High cost of compliance
o Possible need for extra staff and extra staff training
o Does this fringe on imposing on our rights? Should public libraries ban things that should be available to everyone?
• Many people say that they are anxious to use libraries in public libraries because they have inexperience with technology.
o With CIPA, having to request certain information can be embarrassing.
• Patriot act has caused libraries to not keep records that would normally help them gain funding, knowledge about what they need to improve, they are now just trying to protect their patron’s privacy
• Suggestions: add wireless connectivity, definition of “quality” of internet and workstations is needed.