Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Final Exam Review

Just to start some conversation about the third exam, here is what I have for the readings from Week 12:

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?
Information Poverty is defined as information needs and information-seeking behavior of marginalized populations use secrecy, deception, risk taking, and situational relevance.

>> "information poor perceive themselves to be devoid of any source that might help them": This is similar to the mother in Legacy because with every attempt to find a job, she ended up blaming it on lack of education, resources, or babysitters. Eventually, she went to get help from the welfare people but even after she found a good job interview- she ended up missing it because she had no one to watch her children.
>> "a decision to risk exposure about our true feelings is often not taken due to a perception that negative consequences outweigh benefits": This idea relates to Legacy as we see the various stages of each of the Collin's reactions to Tyrell's shootings. During the third part of legacy, we see many of them finally accepting and confronting feelings they have held back for many years since his shooting.

Life in the round is described as a public form of life in which things are implicitly understood. Encompasses the idea of insiders and outsiders.
>>"life in the round works most of the time with enough predictability that, unless a critical problem arises, there is no point in seeking information": This connects to themes from the film Legacy. In the third segment of the documentary, the Collin's family expresses that if Tyrell had never been shot none of them would have ever moved out of the dangerous neighborhood or gone back to finish their educations, get off drugs, and make more out of their lives.
>> "individuals will cross boundaries if the information is perceived as critical, there is a collective expectation that the information is relevant and a perception exists that the life lived in the round is no longer functioning": Following my last point, after Tyrell's shootings the Collin's family realized they had to implement change into their lives in order to overcome the tragedy they were faced with. Perhaps the mother would never have found the motivation to persistently seek to continue her education and get a job, maybe Nicole would have never completed high school and gone on to college, etc.

What were the issues Jaegar found that still continued the digital divide?
Nature of sufficient bandwidth and broadband: Jaegar states that having connectivity is not the same as having sufficient connectivity. In order to use many sites you need a minimal amount of bandwidth. Libraries continue to increase their bandwidth - but demand for increasing bandwidth due to more complex websites etc. goes up as well.

Internet access in libraries: In this article, it is mentioned that the federal government documented a range of disparities regarding access to the internet in terms of geographic location, race, income, and other factors. Studies show that there are still significant disparities across public libraries' access to internet in terms of geography and connectivity levels. Specifically, rural public libraries are much more likely to have lower levels of broadband connectivity than urban and suburban libraries. Rural areas also have access to lower connection speeds. Additionally, 85% of libraries have inadequate number of workstations to meet their demand

Role of libraries as e-government access points: "e-government" refers to an increasingly important connection between citizens and the government using online websites to transmit government information and services. This is important because as more and more information from the government is available exclusively online, there needs to be sufficient ways for every citizen to access them (and thus, the internet)

The complexities of funding internet access:The internet is not a one time purchase - it is an investment that requires ongoing expenses for service fees, updates, etc. yet many libraries have no financial plans for upgrades and so it is difficult to continue providing sufficient internet resources

The impacts and contradictions of filtering: Filters on public access workstations limit access to the internet which inhibits the way users rely on the library. Many general health sites cannot be accessed through filters, as well as other relevant information library users may want to research. The purpose of these filters is for children, so they can be taken off upon request but many librarians do not know how to take them off or it requires a written request by the person who wants to view blocked information. This causes problems because people may be embarrassed about the information they need to view, or are simply turned off by the presence of filters and just leave instead of getting the information they need. Futhermore, libraries that chose not to have filters can be denied discounts on internet services and federal funding.

The chilling effect of homeland security: Patriot Act that was enforced post-September 11 allows for all information on what library users check out, search on the internet, etc to be saved and viewed by the government. This can also make library users wary of using the internet etc for fear of being questioned about such material.

Other issues mentioned: need for training (for seniors, patrons without internet access at home, and adults seeking continuing education), sources of funding for technology, and questions of public policy

Bishop: What were the information needs of the members of this community? What were some of the barriers they faced?
The information needs related to health, parenting, leisure activities, and employment opportunities. Computer use appeared to be driven by the external demands of particular work, school or other task requirements. The barriers faced by this community involve not having a computer in their homes, or having one that was broken or outdated. Computers could be accessed at some schools but only for specific assignments or during allotted times. Of the small portion of homes that owned computers, many were not networked. As a result, the majority of this community had very limited computer experience. Since many residents did not have their own computers, if they wanted to use the internet they had limited options - one of which includes using public libraries. This means their use is limited by rules, the resources available at the library, filters, etc.

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