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Title:The global library: responding to information needs in a globalized world
Author(s):Ambikar, Rucha
information needs
community needs
Abstract:Information behavior the world over has rapidly changed with the increasing and enormous popularity of information and communication technologies (ICT). Newer technology such as the internet and computers has allowed for increased information to be accessible to people, aiding processes of informed decision-making, particularly related to decisions about their own development. Public access to information and to ICT is an important way in which the gap between those with access to ICT and those without can be reduced, empowering people with access to information and technology relevant to their lives. Our poster addresses this realm of public access to information and ICT and is based on a large-scale project that was conducted in 25 countries around the world. Our aim was to explore how diverse populations can and do access and use ICT. We study key venues that offer public access to information and ICT to understand how venues such as public libraries meet the information needs of communities and what barriers and successful strategies affect their effective access and use. In partnership with local research partner teams we engaged in comparative analysis focusing on factors such as physical access to technology, affordability of the technology, human capacity and training available for the use this technology, sociocultural factors, local economic and political environment, and the legal and regulatory framework of each country. This poster highlights the results of comparative analysis of public access venues in 25 countries and focuses on public libraries. We present key findings in terms of information needs of communities. We focus on the role of public libraries in fulfilling these information needs by looking at factors such as basic infrastructure, digital literacy, the role infomediaries, ICT training, and political will and public support for libraries. We draw on success stories and challenges in our sample to showcase some of the barriers and success factors in public access; and arrive at policy recommendations to strengthen libraries. Through this we discuss the changing information needs of communities and how libraries might successfully respond to such changing needs to truly be integral parts of community information networks.
Issue Date:2009-02-08
Genre:Conference Poster
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-03-29

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