Rochelle has just given a great example about why the digital divide and technology skills are so damned important. How do you choose one of the over sixty Medicare prescription drug plans? By typing in all of your prescription information into a complicated buggy jargon-filled web page of course.
I’m back from Tucson/Phoenix. I had a great time getting to spend the day with the students and faculty of the University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science. I gave a variant of my digital divide talk The Information Poor & the Information Don’t Care Small Libraries and the Digital Divide (the notes look the same but all the talks are really really different). While I was in Arizona I also got to see the downtown branch of the Phoenix Public Library, the North Valley Regional Library (my first big suburban library!) and the Tucson Pima Public Library. I also did a quick walk around the University of Arizona library but got quickly distracted by the amazing art exhibit Reading Our Remains (waxed and sliced books, fascinating) and didn’t take a lot of other pictures.
This is the talk I gave this evening: The Information Poor & the Information Don’t Care: Small Libraries and the Digital Divide. Thanks very much to all who attended, it was a fun talk and you have a lovely library.
“The Information Poor and the Information Don’t Care: Small Libraries and the Digital Divide” Wednesday, October 26, 2005 from 7 PM to 8:30PM, San Jose, King Library, room 225b. Can’t come, listen to me streaming live and [maybe] answering questions asked via IM.
Please enjoy these data excerpts from the recent Pew report on the Digital Divide in the United States.
68% of adults use the Internet, 32% do not. Sometimes this lack of use is by choice and sometimes it isn’t.
73% of adults live in a household with an Internet connection and 27% do not.
22% of adults have never used the Internet and do not have access in their homes.
38% of adults living with disabilities have access to the Internet.
22% of adults over 70 have Internet access whereas 53% of adults between 60 and 69 have access.
11% of Internet non-users say that getting access is too difficult, frustrating or expensive.
The Pew survey splits Internet users into three general groups: cold, tepid and hot. Hot users are engaged with the Internet, they use it at home, they use fast connections. They are likely to be under 50, and college graduates. They can get online when they need to and are comfortable in the online world. Cold users are the 22% who have never used the Internet, they are often have a high school education or less, and they are often over 65. They would have trouble getting online if they needed to. Tepid users account for 40% of Internet users in the US. They usually either have a slow connection, or no regular connection, are generally younger than the “cold” users, and could go online if they really needed to.
I’m in the process of putting together a talk that I’m giving at SJSU on the 26th, so I’m sure I’ll be mulling these answers over quite a bit in the near future — there are more tidbits that outline race vs connectivity in ways that are fascinating — but these are just to toss out for people who may not want to read the whole report.