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									Library Shuffles Its Collection By Cyrus Farivar
Story location:,2125,66756,00.html
02:00 AM Mar. 03, 2005 PT

Checking out a new iPod now applies to more than shopping trips or web browsing. This
week the South Huntington Public Library on Long Island, New York, became one of the
first public libraries in the country to loan out iPod shuffles.

For the past three weeks, the library ran a pilot program using the portable MP3 devices
to store audio books downloaded from the Apple iTunes Music Store. They started with
six shuffles, and now are up to a total of 10. Each device holds a single audio book.

The few library patrons that have checked them out seem to have had positive

Lee Jacknow, 61, a retired professor of engineering who currently has one iPod shuffle
checked out with the new John Grisham novel on it, said that having the iPod has
changed the way he listens to audio books.

"It's changed the books on tape from a car-only experience to a bring-it-with-you
experience," he said.

Jacknow said now he can listen to Grisham in his car, when he's working and even in

Ken Weil, the library's director, said that the library had been looking for a way to share
digital audio content with its patrons for some time, and that until recently, the existing
iPods were far too expensive.

"It's the right product with the right price," he said. "We said that this is a great way of
getting these out to the public."

The library currently offers several titles, including Grisham's The Broker and Azar
Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran.

"If patrons want a title that we own that we don't have on an iPod, they could request it,"
said Joe Latini, the library's assistant director.

Instead of having an entire book take up several CDs, one book fits within several MP3
files, usually ranging from 150 MB to 350 MB, he said. The library currently stocks both
of the two versions of the iPod shuffle -- six of the 1-GB model, and four of the 512-MB

Weil acknowledged that some older patrons might have some difficulty adjusting to the
new technology, but was hopeful that they would be able to catch on quickly, as was the
case when libraries began to switch from paper card catalogs to electronic versions.
In addition, the library has the potential to save a great deal of money. Latini said that
most titles on CDs cost the library around $75, whereas in MP3 format, they range from
$15 to $25.

"In the end, obviously, we're literally saving money," he said. "The units are paying for

The library even throws in a cassette adapter and an FM transmitter for use in a car.
Patrons do, however, have to provide their own headphones for sanitary reasons.

"I think it's a very clever use of the technology and I never thought about (using iPods for
audio books) until I saw the sign at the library," Jacknow said.
Information Use Management & Policy Institute
Research Planning Development Evaluation Policy & Education

Public Libraries & the Internet

U.S. Public libraries began interacting with and using the Internet in the early 1990s.
Since 1994, Bertot & McClure have conducted studies roughly every two years that track
the level of involvement, key issues, trends, and other aspects of public library Internet
use. The studies, funded over the years by the American Library Association's
Washington Office, the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science
(NCLIS), the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation, explore issues such as:

Public library Internet connectivity;
Public Internet access workstation availability;
Internet connectivity bandwidth;
Internet-based service and resource availability (e.g., databases, training, digital
Filtering of Internet-based content and services; and
Costs and issues associated with Internet connectivity (e.g., funding for technology
infrastructure, e-rate, maintenance and upgrades of technology, staff skills requirements).

As the context of public library Internet connectivity changes, so too does the nature of
the survey. The study continues to produce, however, important longitudinal data
regarding the level of public library involvement with and use of the Internet.

Uses of Study Data
The 2004 study is the most recent survey of Public libraries and the networked
environment conducted by the Information Institute. The data provided through this
survey serve to inform a broad cross section of the library community and policy makers
making decisions related to library funding and technology. In particular, the study:

Provides specific data regarding public library Internet connectivity, bandwidth, the
provision of technology training services and resources, and Internet service/resource
funding sources, to name selected key topics;
Enables librarians to compare their library to other similar libraries in their states and
across the country;
Enables the American Library Association, Public Library Association, and other
advocacy organizations, to make the case for continued and enhanced support for public
libraries and their provision of Internet-based services and resources to the communities
that libraries serve; and
Helps policy makers and others understand the needs and issues that public libraries face
when providing Internet-based services and resources.
Previous Study Usage
Over the years, data from these studies have informed the policy debates regarding the
role that public libraries play as a public Internet access presence within the communities
that libraries serve. Researchers, policy makers, advocacy groups, legal scholars, and
others have used the findings from previous studies in a number of ways, including:

The Supreme Court decision regarding the Children's Internet Protection Act (United
States v. American Library Association, 123 S.Ct. 2297 ) ;
Congressional testimony on a variety of issues related to the Internet and information
access; and
The Statistical Abstracts of the U.S. published by the U.S. Census Bureau (see Section
24, Information and Communications , Figure No. 1149).
Thus, the survey continues to be a significant source of information regarding the role of
public libraries in a networked environment.
Title: Bridge the Digital Divide for Educational Equity.
Authors: Mason, Christine Y.1
Dodds, Richard2
Source: Education Digest; May2005, Vol. 70 Issue 9, p25-27, 3p
Bridge the Digital Divide for Educational Equity

STUDENTS' technological savvy has challenged schools to make greater use of
computers and the Internet in their curricula. Unfortunately, not every student has the
same access to it, and the inability to keep pace has created a digital divide that continues
to widen.

The digital divide particularly affects students who are black, Hispanic, Native American,
and poor. They are far less likely to have computers or Internet connections at home than
their Caucasian or Asian peers. While two-thirds of white children have gone online, just
45% of black children and 37% of Hispanic youth have.

For students without a connection at home, schools are the primary source of computer
access and often the only place they can go online. In addition, many students with
disabilities cannot use computers or participate in online activity because the equipment
in their schools is not compatible with their learning or physical needs.

As technologies continue to advance and provide enhanced resources for learning and
research, critical questions arise: Will these technologies be available to all schools? Will
they enable schools to close or at least narrow the digital divide?

We seem to be at a pivotal point in addressing inequities. Failure to provide adequate
technological resources for all translates into failure to provide quality education, creating
an even greater divide between affluent and poor school districts.

Some insights into the possibilities of future technology can be gained by examining five
recent innovations likely to impact elementary schools in the next five to 10 years.

Wireless networks provide an alternative for schools that aren't adequately wired to
access the Internet. They can provide improved access to online learning as well as the
ability for students to receive distance learning instruction from teachers with certain
skills and specialties not available at their schools.

Electronic portfolios. As electronic storage capacity becomes greater and more
sophisticated, so does the ability of schools to establish and maintain detailed and
comprehensive electronic portfolios for all students. These cumulative portfolios would
document current student learning and record progress over the years.

Portable technologies. An example of the possibilities of small, portable technologies is a
projected high school in Philadelphia where every student will have wireless personal
tablet computers and personal digital assistants (PDAs), rather than traditional desktops.
Attractive technologies. The continuing enhancement of computer-aided instruction
utilizes features from video and computer games to motivate students and keep them
engaged. These software programs often provide immediate feedback and, with inclusion
of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), can provide information in formats
accommodating a wide array of learning styles and needs. A major time-saving feature of
UDL is that supports are built in as the software is manufactured and therefore are ready
when teachers and students need them. With UDL, teachers can dramatically reduce time
spent developing alternative materials or helping students with trouble reading and
writing. For example, students can use UDL to enlarge print, have materials read to them,
or even dictate test answers.

Virtual schools. A WestEd study estimated 40,000 to 50,000 students were enrolled in
online courses in 2001-2002 and at least 14 states have sanctioned online "virtual
schools." Many of these are privately-operated charter schools, some supporting home
schooling. While virtual schools began at the secondary level, a number are now
operating at the elementary level as well, supplementing instruction mostly in rural and
small schools.

To address the digital divide, schools must provide full access for special student
populations--especially those with disabilities--to the Internet, distance learning, and
multimedia materials. Some resources are now available as specially designed assistive
technologies. In fact, a software program using voice commands for a keyboard,
originally designed for the hand-impaired, is now a tremendous tool for students with
difficulty learning to use keyboards.

Some technology solutions are costly and require additional funding. However, many
useful low-cost technologies are available, and schools must consider them in evaluating
and ordering new technology.

While adequate funding is essential to close the digital divide, funding spent unwisely
will not help. Decisions on purchase of technologies should be integrated within a plan
developed with adequate consideration of educational, technological, and societal trends.

Solutions must address the different but critical needs of students in poverty, those for
whom English is a second language, and others with disabilities denying them access to
classroom technologies. These concerns require that schools have someone on staff,
perhaps a technology specialist, stay informed and up-to-date on technologies that will
facilitate learning for special populations, and that teachers receive sufficient training to
use them.

To ensure all students can access the Internet, students with special needs can benefit
from features like Web trackers, which let them make their own decisions on font size,
color, and other UDL features. Personalized features students use with their computers
stay "turned on" when they are on the Internet or participating in distance learning.
This type of behind-the-scenes support is available from ADA & IT Technical Assistance
Centers at These centers can help schools with technology planning and
purchasing decisions, as well as technology implementation.

Solutions to technology inequities ultimately rest with principals in their role as
instructional leaders. Their experience and wisdom will be tested over the next few years
as they strive to narrow the digital divide with policies based on fairness and
consideration for the technologically disenfranchised. Addressing the digital divide is a
small step that could make an enormous difference in educational equity for the nation's

From Principal


By Christine Y. Mason and Richard Dodds
One-Stop Searching Bridges the Digital Divide

Abstract: This article discusses several techniques for solving the digital divide problem.
The term digital divide is often used to describe the difficulty of making information
easily available, despite the explosion in networked collections on digital content.
Metadata or federated search is a technique which eliminated the need to query one
information collection after another sequentially to find the right answer. Through a
simple user interface, federated search tools allow an individual to launch dozens or
hundreds of searches with one query. Another advance is linking. Open URL-enabled
link resolvers provide end-users the direct link to available full-text information. Bridging
the gap between citations and the online full text of articles, these systems provide
maximum usage of the electronic journal subscriptions while satisfying the user's instant
access expectation. These new technologies represent major advances in search
technology and content delivery, and are key factors in driving research productivity
gains. As of July 2004, few vendors are in a position to provide a seamless solution
integrating federated searching and linking. By facilitating simultaneous searching across
multiple internal and external resources, and by taking the extra step of linking to the
desired content, there has been a major step in bridging the digital divide. INSET:
ENCompass and MuseGlobal.

The term "digital divide" is often used to describe the difficulty of making information
easily available, despite the explosion in networked collections of digital content. A lot of
information is available only from the so-called "hidden Web"--the collections of
publishers, aggregators, libraries, archives, etc., which are either not readily discovered
via a Web browser, or are restricted by digital access rights.

Even with current technology and authorized access, it isn't easy to find the information
required for a particular task. Researchers and knowledge workers face a steep learning
curve to figure out where to look for the most relevant information, and then understand
how to construct the most effective search query for each separate system. The practical
problem begins with the sheer number of disparate data sources, all having their own
sign-on and authentication processes, user interfaces and search query languages. The
information discovery process is not intuitive, and is often frustrating.

New Tools Improve Search Productivity
New techniques are now improving the efficiency and ease of searching, helping to locate
desired information wherever it resides.

One of these techniques, called "meta-search" or "federated search," eliminates the need
to query one information collection after another sequentially to find the right answer.
Through a simple user interface, federated search tools allow an individual to launch
dozens or hundreds of searches with one query. The federated search engine translates the
search into the required protocol and search language for each target source, returning a
single set of results.
Another advance is linking. Open URL-enabled link resolvers such as Endeavor's
LinkFinderPlus provide end-users the direct link to available full-text information.
Bridging the gap between citations and the online full text of articles, these systems
provide maximum usage of the electronic journal subscriptions while satisfying the user's
"instant access" expectation.

These new technologies represent major advances in search technology and content
delivery, and are key factors in driving research productivity gains. Few vendors,
however, are in a position today to provide a seamless solution integrating federated
searching and linking. Endeavor Information Systems teamed with federated search
technology provider MuseGlobal, Inc. to develop ENCompass™. One Endeavor
customer, the Loyola-Notre Dame Library, now experiences a 30-second wait for search
results instead of spending 30 minutes searching in multiple databases looking for the
same information.

Friendlier Federated Search
The ENCompass module for federated searching of e-content, ENCompass for Resource
Access, applies four different protocols to search remote resources: Z39.50; XML
Gateways; Web services; and HTTP searching. Because it searches for multiple formats
of resources, user productivity is enhanced with improved integrated search results. Users
get a single-source solution for searching all available e-resources, including licensed
content and local digital content.

Resource owners also benefit from a user-friendly federated search for e-resources. With
self-sufficient users navigating a single interface to search an unrestricted number of
resources, organizations find savings in staff time and have the opportunity to leverage
costly electronic resources and subscriptions.

By facilitating simultaneous searching across multiple internal and external resources,
and by taking the extra step of linking to the desired content, there has been a major step
in bridging the digital divide. To learn more, visit


By Roland Dietz, President and CEO, Endeavor Information, Systems and Kate Noerr,
President and CEO, MuseGlobal, Inc.
Title: ACCESS ISN'T ENOUGH , By: Blau, Andrew, American Libraries, 00029769,
Jun/Jul2002, Vol. 33, Issue 6
Database: Academic Search Premier



In February, the U.S. Department of Commerce surprised many longtime observers of the
"digital divide"--the gap between those with access to computers and the Internet and
those without. After issuing a string of Falling through the Net reports that played a major
role in publicizing the concept of a digital divide, the agency issued its latest report, A
Nation Online (, which announced that the digital divide
is rapidly closing. "With more than half of all Americans using computers and the
Internet," the report trumpeted, "we are truly a nation online."

That conclusion was controversial, and the data beneath the headlines paints a more
ambiguous picture; for example, home Internet use ranges from 82.5% for children in
families earning $75,000 and higher to 21.4% for those in families earning under
$15,000. But even if it's true that the inequality is diminishing, does that mean that the
work of closing the divide is over? That libraries can declare victory and move on?

No, says Martin Gomez, director of the Friends and Foundation of the San Francisco
Public Library and a library director for 12 years. "It's not a matter of winning and
losing," says Gomez. "It's a matter of staying in the game" as the technology evolves and
its uses expand.

Gomez and others describe a role for libraries that's more than just a safety net when it
comes to Internet access. Even as access increases, they say, libraries will play a key role
in helping communities and individuals navigate the challenges of new information
technologies. Andrew Gordon, professor at the University of Washington and director of
the Public Access Computing Project
(,which has been assessing the
Gates Library Initiative (AL, May, p. 2021), remarks, "If you believe in the purpose of
libraries in all their manifestations, then they will continue to be a place we want to have
computers," even as access at home, school, and work continues to rise. Gomez speaks to
that purpose when he says, "Our role is not only to provide the resources," noting that
libraries do far more than provide simple access to books. "We need to help people
learn," he adds. "Too many of us think of it as making computers and resources available.
But there's a higher plane."

The traditional approach and its limits
Traditionally, the divide has been defined as the gap between those with access to
computers and the Internet and those without. While this appears to be a simple and
measurable definition, experience over the last decade demonstrates that it suffers from at
least two serious flaws.

First, such a gap is harder to measure than many had thought. The idea that a person
either has access or doesn't gave way to the reality that while some people have no access
of any kind, access comes in many flavors: Some have it at home and others at work or
school or in the library. Some have a slow dialup connection, others a high-speed digital
line. And some people primarily use e-mail, while others primarily surf the Web. Rather
than being a clear divide, it turns out that agreeing on what constituted "access" was a far
more complicated matter than some thought. Steve Cisler, a noted author, technology
expert, and librarian, has written a sharp critique of this simple binary split that
characterizes much of the thinking in this area. In "Subtract the Digital Divide," which
appeared in the January 15, 2000, San Jose Mercury News, Cisler noted, "The reality is
that all of us online exist on a spectrum of connectivity."

Second, and perhaps more important, giving people access to a computer attached to the
Internet only begins to get at the divide that matters. In recent years, groups have added
issues from training to content to the distribution of computer-science degrees to their
definitions of the digital divide in order to link an array of social inequities to the popular
phrase. But they were also acknowledging that access to the Internet by itself didn't seem
to close the important gaps that troubled many.

Another part of the way people have thought about the digital divide is that as more
people got access, the problem would go away or at least become less serious. Instead,
the opposite is true. When 10, 20, or 30% of the population is online, the fact that 70%
are not online is not the same sort of problem as when the situation flips and 70, 80, or
90% of us are online. "That's when the digital divide gets very serious," says Gary
Chapman, a professor at the LBJ School at the University of Texas and director of the
21st Century Project there ( According to Chapman, "When
you have a small number of people who don't have access," it becomes "a huge problem
because that's when institutions will ignore them."

According to this view, the digital divide actually becomes more crucial as an issue as
overall access grows, because that's when lack of access will be not just an inconvenience
but a true barrier. Gordon reflects that "As we become increasingly reliant on computers,
the importance of the divide will increase," which means that libraries' roles will become
even more important over time. But why libraries in particular? Because, it turns out,
they are more than just access points.

"It took more than a machine"
Scholars, activists, and practitioners involved in closing the divide are increasingly aware
that if the old definitions no longer seem right, so, too, do the old solutions need to be
revised. One example: Traditionally, people thought that the problem of the divide was
solely about the resources that a person had. This assumption led to responses like Newt
Gingrich's famous proposal to give a laptop computer to every poor child in the country.
Increasingly, however, people involved in the issue have concluded that the problem can't
be resolved by simply transferring resources to those without computers. Instead, it looks
like solutions need to be modeled on the old-fashioned life preserver: The support needs
to be around you to keep you afloat.

Gordon finds that understanding this has been key to the success of the Gates Library
Initiative. What the Gates foundation actually offers, he notes, "is not a computer
dropped down on a desk. It's a package" that includes training and support (as well as a
computer designed for the rigors of public use in places where there may be few it any
computer technicians). Similarly, research at Carnegie Mellon University showed that
even in a program where people were given a computer and an Internet connection, many
people stopped using the machines at the first instance of a technical problem. The
university changed the resources that people had, only to discover the importance of the
resources around those people that could support them as they tried to get and stay online.
That's why, from Gordon's perspective, the old model of closing the divide by giving
people computers was not enough for the Gates initiative. "It took a lot more than a
machine to make this work," he conclude s.

Other scholars have begun to notice the same thing. Traditional analyses of the barriers to
Internet adoption pointed to either a personal economic issue (can't afford it) or a
personal psychological issue (don't see the value, not optimistic about technology).
However, scholars are increasingly aware that putting the individual's experience in a
wider social or institutional setting is key to understanding many of the barriers people

One factor is the social context and values that make getting access to the Internet an
important thing to do. Libraries are institutions built to promote access to information,
and computer access at the library is a superb example where context--the values of the
institution around the point of access--makes a difference. According to Chapman,
libraries are special because of the presence of the librarian and the context that
specifically values information-seeking. Gordon sees something similar: "Libraries put
computing in the context of books and other values of learning," which, he adds, is why
the Gates foundation put computers "in libraries, not in pool halls."

Another important set of resources is the range of social contacts people have available to
support and encourage their use of computers. Chapman, who has led and studied access
projects in Austin for many years, calls it "community competence." According to
Chapman, people in affluent communities often underestimate the importance of being
surrounded by others who use computers routinely and have expertise with the
technology. Only when individuals see the people around them using computers to
accomplish tasks they want to perform do they start to see that technology is useful and a
routine part of life.

Similarly, Chapman notes that if no one you know has an e-mail address, it's hard to see
how valuable that capability is; so attempts to close the divide must pay attention to the
environment surrounding the people who lack access. "That immersion is very
important," says Chapman.
Experience in libraries and elsewhere makes it clear that access can't be adequately
understood as an individual consumer issue; it is better understood as a social or
community issue, where the need for social support and resources comes into sharper
focus. Understood in this broader context, libraries and other community-based
institutions are essential components of any strategy that recognizes the factors that keel)
people from the benefits of the Digital Age.

That suggests, too, that libraries are not just teaching people about getting access to a new
tool; they are teaching people about getting access to new opportunities and just as often
reinforcing links to longstanding communities. Martin Gomez reports that when he was
director of the Brooklyn Public Library, new users from the immigrant population often
used the Internet to connect with the places they came from; recent research from
Trinidad and Los Angeles suggests that many people are strengthening their ties to their
communities as they move online.

The evolving understanding of the digital divide suggests that libraries will have a
continuing role to play in helping people manage the new literacies of the Information
Age in a context that also respects the traditional literacies upon which they are built. His
years at the helm of major urban libraries working daily to close numerous divides,
including the digital one, have taught Gomez that doing so successfully benefits not just
those getting the access, but also their communities and the library itself. "We get caught
up in smaller issues," says Gomez, "but that's not where the action is." The library
becomes more important as it demonstrates that, once again, it offers the unique cluster of
values, talent, and resources that can address the divides that matter.
Demystifying the Digital Divide

The simple binary notion of technology haves and have-nots doesn't quite compute

For much of the past decade, policy leaders and social scientists have grown increasingly
concerned about a societal split between those with and those without access to
computers and the Internet. The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information
Administration popularized a term for this situation in the mid-1990s: the "digital
divide." The phrase soon became used in an international context as well, to describe the
status of information technology from country to country.

Underlying disparities are real, both within and among countries. The Benton
Foundation, which promotes the public-interest use of communications technology,
reports that by late 2001, 80 percent of American families with annual household income
greater than $75,000 were online, compared with 25 percent of the poorest U.S. families.
Total home Internet access was 55 percent for whites, 31 percent for African-Americans
and 32 percent for Hispanics. Looking at the international picture, in most African
countries less than 1 percent of the population is online. Not surprisingly, such disparity
correlates highly with other measures of social and economic inequality.

Yet the simple binary description of a divide fails to do justice to the complex reality of
various people's differing access and usage of digital technology. An American who surfs
the Internet on a computer at a local library once a month might be considered to be a
digital "havenot," whereas someone in a developing country with the same profile would
be a "have." Indeed, couching the condition in black-and-white terminology can lead
those attempting to deal with technological inequities down the wrong path. The late Rob
Kling, who directed the Center for Social Informatics at Indiana University, put it well:
"[The] big problem with the 'digital divide' framing is that it tends to connote 'digital
solutions,'" that is, "computers and telecommunications," without a consideration of the
context into which that hardware would be put.

This line of reasoning led some to assume that the dearth of digital access of nations,
communities and individuals could be easily tackled by an infusion of computers and
Internet connections. Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt
Gingrich has talked about the virtues of giving every child a laptop computer, without
offering a solid plan for using the devices. And Bill Gates donated computers to small-
town libraries across America, believing that Internet connections would help stem the
exodus from rural areas. Although Internet connection through small-town libraries has
improved people's lives by allowing them to stay in touch with friends and relatives, it
has not stemmed the exodus-which largely depends on broader factors, such as
employment availability-and may even have contributed to it by allowing people to
search for jobs in cities. (To Gates's and Gingrich's credit, they at least had the issue of
technology access on their radar screens. Gates, recognizing the limitations of computer
technology in solving social ills, has since gone on to donate billions of dollars to broader
health and education campaigns around the world.)
This perspective is known in academic circles as technological determinism, the idea that
the mere presence of technology leads to familiar and standard applications of that
technology, which in turn bring about social change. The Harvard Graduate School of
Education's Christopher Dede has termed this the "fire" model, with its implication that a
computer, by its mere presence, will generate learning or development, just as a fire
generates warmth. Governments, the private sector, foundations and charities have thus
spent hundreds of millions of dollars to bridge the perceived digital divide by providing
computers and Internet lines to those in need, often without sufficient attention to the
social contexts in which these technologies might be used. (Dede notes that a better
model than fire might be clothing, which also keeps one warm yet is tailored for
individual fit and use.)

How does this application based on the assumption of technological determinism turn out
in practice? Over the past few years, I have traveled around the world to study
community technology programs in both developed and developing countries. I have
observed scores of diverse programs and have interviewed hundreds of participants and
organizers. As the following case studies show, two basics became apparent: well-
intentioned programs often lead in unexpected directions, and the worst failures occur
when people attempt to address complex social problems with a narrow focus on
provision of equipment.

A Minimalist Approach
IN 1999 THE MUNICIPAL government of New Delhi, in collaboration with an Indian
company called the National Institute of Information Technology, launched an
experiment to provide computer access to children in one of the city's poorest areas.
Government officials and representatives of the company set up an outdoor kiosk with
several computer stations. The computers, with dialup Internet access, were inside a
locked booth, but the monitors, joysticks and buttons stuck out through holes and were
accessible. In line with a concept known as minimally invasive education, the test
included no teachers or instructors. The idea was to allow the children unfettered daily
access so they could learn at their own pace rather than through the directives of adults.

The program was hailed by its organizers as a groundbreaking model for how to bring
information technology to the world's urban poor. Inspiring stories circulated on the
Internet about how illiterate children taught themselves to use computers and thus
crashed the barriers to the information age. These accounts led to additional kiosks being
set up in other locations.

My visit to one of the New Delhi kiosks, however, revealed a different picture. The
Internet connection seldom functioned. The architecture of the kiosk--based on a wall
instead of a room--made instruction or collaboration difficult. Most poor communities in
New Delhi already have organizations that work with children and that could have set up
educational training at a different kind of computer center, but their participation was
neither solicited nor welcomed. Over the nine-month duration of the experiment, the
youngsters did indeed learn how to manipulate the joystick and buttons. But without
educational programs and with the content primarily in English rather than Hindi, they
mostly did what you might expect: played games and used paint programs to draw.

Neighborhood parents felt ambivalent. Several embraced the initiative, but most
expressed concern about the lack of organized instruction. Some even complained that
the computer was detrimental. "My son used to be doing very well in school," one parent
said, "but now he spends all his free time playing computer games at the kiosk, and his
schoolwork is suffering." In short, the community came to realize that minimally invasive
education was, in practice, minimally effective education.

Nevertheless, an overemphasis on hardware with scant attention paid to the pedagogical
and curricular frameworks that shape how the computers are used is common in
educational technology projects throughout the world. But such technological
determinism has been challenged in the academic arena by a concept called social
informatics, which argues that technology must be considered within a specific context
that includes hardware, software, support resources, infrastructure, as well as people in
various roles and relationships with one another and with other elements of the system.
And the technology and social system continuously shape each other, like a biological
community and its environment.

Although grassroots teachers, parents or aid workers may be unfamiliar with the
academic term "social informatics," many already appreciate the implications of an
interwoven relationship of technology and public organizations. Social informatics has
recently given birth to "community informatics," which also considers unique aspects of
the particular culture into which technology is placed, so that communities can most
effectively use that technology to achieve social, economic, political or cultural goals.

A More Integrated Attempt
ONE EXAMPLE of a program based on a community informatics approach is the
Gyandoot (which translates to "purveyor of knowledge") project in India. In 2000 in the
southwest corner of Madhya Pradesh, one of India's poorest states, the government
established this digital effort to bring more economic and political power to the rural
population, nearly two thirds of whom are undernourished and illiterate. Each village
received a computer kiosk, which is connected to the others in a network. Local
entrepreneurs service the machines, and a small team hired by the government creates
content for the Gyandoot intranet, based on an analysis of the people's social and
economic needs.

This content includes updated prices of popular crops at the district, regional and national
markets, so that small farmers can decide whether to harvest their crop and where to sell
it, without wasting a day traveling to the district capital for price checks. A complaint
service lets villagers report local problems, such as malfunctioning hand pumps or
teachers failing to show up at schools. With viilagers quickly able to voice such concerns
digitally, government services have started to improve.
Local kiosk managers operate the computers, thus making the service, which costs a few
cents per use, accessible even to the illiterate. Kiosk managers also offer computer
training to village children for a small fee, thereby upping the collective computer skills
of the community while affording additional income to the managers. And Gyandoot is
used to connect with the area's broad socioeconomic initiatives, such as a "healthiest
child" campaign, which provides information about vaccinations and nutrition.

Gyandoot was inexpensive to launch, because it involves only one computer per village,
and it is partly self-sustaining, because kiosk operators are able to recover some of their
costs through small fees to users. With its emphasis on meeting user needs through small-
scale, locally run services, it has much in common with the earlier model of telephone
kiosks that helped to extend phone access throughout much of India. In the nine months
beginning in October 2001, the Gyandoot kiosks had some 21,300 users, 80 percent of
whom had annual incomes of less than $300. The number of users is a small percentage
of the population, but the benefits of the project, such as improved government services,
eventually ripple outward to friends, families and co-workers.

The magnitude of the Gyandoot success story remains to be determined. But the
underlying approach--a combination of well-planned and low-cost infusions of
technology with content development and educational campaigns targeted to social
development--is surely a healthy alternative to projects that rely on planting computers
and waiting for something to grow.

Fine-Tuning in California
A DOMESTIC CASE, which I investigated with doctoral candidate Jodie Wales, also
shows the importance of the community informatics approach. California high schools
offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses that give students college credit and facilitate
their admission to the best universities. These courses are available in dramatically
unequal numbers, however, largely in relation to the socioeconomic status and ethnicity
of student populations. For example, in 1999 Beverly Hills High School, which is 9
percent African-American and Hispanic, offered 45 AP classes. Inglewood High School,
in a different part of the same metropolitan area and with 97 percent black and Hispanic
students, offered only three such courses.

To address this problem, in 2000 the University of California Office of the President and
the university's College Preparatory Initiative engaged in a collaboration with the
Anaheim Union High School District, which has a large Hispanic population. The first
effort was an online AP course in macroeconomics, because many of their students, even
the poorer of them, had some access to computers and the Internet outside of school.
Attendees of several schools enrolled in the courses, thus potentially overcoming the
problem of small and dispersed populations of advanced students. The result: only six of
22 students completed the course. Some reasons became clear through student surveys
and interviews. The online instructional format--with students completing work
independently from their home computers--lacked sufficient structure, teacher contact
and peer interaction to maintain students' motivation to cope with the challenging
material. The Hispanic students commented most frequently that they preferred these
types of social support.

Still, the failure was fruitful. A revised program the next year brought students from
several schools to a computer laboratory at a central location, this time to take an honors
course, "Introduction to Computer Science and the C Programming Language." Although
the class was still taught online to take advantage of the distant expert instructor and the
computer-based curriculum, a local teacher joined the students to answer questions and
provide general assistance. The combination of online expert instruction and face-to-face
teacher and peer interaction proved much more effective: 56 of 65 students completed the
course. Based on these results, the University of California College Preparatory Initiative
abandoned the previous model of pure online instruction in exchange for the combined
online and face-to-face model. (Of course, students may find an honors computer class
somewhat more accessible than an AP macroeconomics course, or the former might be
better suited for the online setting. Such points must also be considered when devising
the mode of instruction.)

More and more evidence points to the need for a careful consideration of all potential
ramifications before applying technology as an educational Band-Aid. In fact, my
research--together with that of other educational investigators such as Henry J. Becket of
the University of California at Irvine, Harold Wenglinsky of the City University of New
York and Janet Schofield of the University of Pittsburgh-shows that computer use in
schools is as likely to exacerbate inequality as lessen it. The key issue is not unequal
access to computers but rather the unequal ways that computers are used. Our studies
note that kindergarten through 12th grade students who enjoy a high socioeconomic
status more frequently use computers for experimentation, research and critical inquiry,
whereas poor students engage in less challenging drills and exercises that do not take full
advantage of computer technology. In mathematics and English classes, where such drills
are common, poor students actually have more access to computers than do more affluent
ones. Only in science classes, which rely on experiments and simulations, do wealthy
students use computers more. Once again, a "digital divide" framework that focuses on
access issues alone fails to face these broader inequalities in technology use and learning.

Changing the Mind-set
PEOPLE ACCESS digital information in a wide variety of ways and usually as part of
social networks involving relatives, friends and co-workers. Literacy provides a good
analogy. Literacy does not exist in a bipolar divide between those who absolutely can and
cannot read. There are levels of literacy for functional, vocational, civic, literary and
scholarly purposes. And people become literate not just through physical access to books
but through education, communication, work connections, family support and assistance
from social networks. Similarly, technology can be well implemented to augment and
improve existing social efforts and programs.

The bottom line is that there is no binary digital divide and no single overriding factor for
determining--or closing-such a divide. Technology does not exist as an external variable
to be injected from the outside to bring about certain results. It is woven into social
systems and processes. And from a policy standpoint, the goal of bringing technology to
marginalized groups is not merely to overcome a technological divide but instead to
further a process of social inclusion. Realizing this objective involves not only providing
computers and Internet links or shifting to online platforms but also developing relevant
content in diverse languages, promoting literacy and education, and mobilizing
community and institutional support toward achieving community goals. Technology
then becomes a means, and often a powerful one, rather than an end in itself.

It is important to note that the Bush administration is cutting funding of programs that
foster access to technology. Some might argue that such cuts are appropriate if there is no
digital divide, but that reasoning is as specious as simplistic solutions based on the notion
of a divide. The opposite of divide is multiply. Policy planners should stop thinking in
terms of divides to be bridged. The combination of carefully planned infusions of
technology with relevant content, improved education and enhanced social support can
multiply those assets that communities already have.

More to Explore
Technology and Social Inclusion: Rethinking the Digital Divide. Mark Warschauer. MIT
Press, 2003. Who's Wired and Who's Not? Henry J. Becket in The Future of Children,
Vol. 10, No. 2; 2000. Available at

Reconceptualizing the Digital Divide. Mark Warschauer in First Monday, Vol. 7, No. 7;
2002. Available at

Athena Alliance: Center for Social Informatics:

Community Informatics Research and Applications Unit:

Community Technology Centers Network:

Digital Divide Network:

Overview/Technologic Logic
The concept of a "digital divide" separating those with access to computers and
communications technology from those without is simplistic and can lead to well-
meaning but incomplete attempts at a solution based on merely adding technology to a
given circumstance.

In fact, people have widely varying opportunities for access to computers and
communications technology and disparate reasons for wanting the level of access they
may desire.
A consideration of how people can use computers and the Internet to further the process
of social inclusion is paramount in any effort to install new technology into an
environment lacking it.

PHOTO (COLOR): NEW DELHI CHILDREN experiment with what is literally a hole-
in-the-wall computer in 2000. The minimally invasive education project was designed to
insert technology into the environment so that the children would learn to use the
computer without guidance. Without direction, however, the computer proved for the
most part to be merely a high-tech toy.

PHOTO (COLOR): FARMERS ACCESS the Gyandoot intranet at a community
computer facility in central India's Dhar district, where 60 percent of the 1,7 million
residents live below the poverty line. The intranet provides crop prices, official
application forms, and a place to hold village auctions and to air public grievances.


By Mark Warschauer

MARK WARSCHAUER is vice chair of the department of education at the University of
California, Irvine, and is also affiliated with the university's School of Information and
Computer Science and Center for Research on Information Technology and
Organizations. He is the founding editor of Language Learning & Technology journal
and author or editor of seven books on technology, education and development. The
editor of the "Papyrus News" e-mail news list reporting on technology and society,
Warschauer has conducted research in Egypt, China, India, Brazil, Singapore and other
countries, focusing on how diverse peoples and communities make use of information
technology for human and social development.

Copyright of Scientific American is the property of Scientific American Inc.. Copyright
of PUBLICATION is the property of PUBLISHER. The copyright in an individual article
may be maintained by the author in certain cases. Content may not be copied or emailed
to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written
permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
Source: Scientific American, Aug2003, Vol. 289 Issue 2, p42, 6p
Item: 10196576
Title:Diagnosis: Internet Phobia.Authors:Joseph, Nadine
Stone, BradSource:Newsweek; 4/25/2005, Vol. 145 Issue 17, p74-74, 1p, 1cDocument
Type:ArticleSubject Terms:*OLDER people -- Medical care
*OLDER people -- United States
*WEB sites
*INTERNET & older people
*COMPUTERS & older people
United StatesGeographic Terms:UNITED StatesAbstract:This article focuses on older
people's avoidance of computer and the Internet. While the rest of society has
enthusiastically embraced the Internet, a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation earlier
this year revealed that today's elderly are resisting new technology. Previous studies had
shown seniors migrating online en masse, but the Kaiser research got specific about
demographics for the first time. The results: fewer than 31 percent of seniors older than
65 have ventured online, compared with more than two thirds of the younger baby
boomers, 50 to 64. Of seniors older than 65 whose annual household income is less than
$20,000 a year an even slighter 15 percent have gone online. The new statistics worry
senior advocates and government officials. More than ever before, the Internet is being
used as a tool for managing health-care decisions. Advocates for senior citizens say their
online phobia is understandable.Full Text Word Count:738ISSN:0028-9604Accession
Number:16779818Persistent link to this
=16779818Database: Academic Search PremierView Links:
Check Catalog
* * * Section: Health for Life
                                Diagnosis: Internet Phobia

                   Seniors who shun the Web miss out. How to help.

Dorothy Harris took two buses through the pouring rain in south Chicago a few weeks
ago to improve her finances and possibly even her health--by using the Internet. With
help from a volunteer and a Web tutorial in a class cosponsored by The National Caucus
and Center on Black Aged, Harris, 81, went online for the very first time. She visited the Web site and, after entering information about her complex drug regimen
for heart-bypass surgery, Harris discovered she was eligible for $704 in savings on
prescription meds in 2005. After signing up for the federal discount-drug-card program,
she proceeded to explore the Web through the online tutorial and find photos related to
her hobby, quilting. Her children have long urged her to get online, and now Harris
admits, "You're never too old to learn."

Unfortunately, Harris is part of a disquieting minority in her age group. While the rest of
society has enthusiastically embraced the Internet, a study by the Kaiser Family
Foundation earlier this year revealed that today's elderly are resisting new technology.
Previous studies had shown seniors migrating online en masse, but the Kaiser research
got specific about demographics for the first time. The results: fewer than 31 percent of
seniors older than 65 have ventured online, compared with more than two thirds of the
younger baby boomers, 50 to 64. Of seniors older than 65 whose annual household
income is less than $20,000 a year--a group that makes up the majority of the elderly on
Medicare--an even slighter 15 percent have gone online.

The new statistics worry senior advocates and government officials. More than ever
before, the Internet is being used as a tool for managing health-care decisions. Federal
health-care reform now focuses on giving individuals new control over their medical
options, and the government is using the Internet to convey information about all the
available choices. Medicare participants, for example, are now asked to sort through a
dizzying number of drug-discount cards for the plan best suited to their location, medical
condition and drug regimen. The easiest way to find the drug card with the best
government subsidy, as Harris discovered, is to visit the Medicare Web site, Yet the Kaiser study found that only 2 percent of senior citizens older than
65 have done so. Tobey Gordon Dichter, founder of the Philadelphia-based Generations
on Line, a non-profit Internet literacy program for seniors, calls today's elderly "a
generation in digital denial."

Advocates for senior citizens say their online phobia is understandable. Computers
remain difficult to use and counterintuitive for those who grew up in the age of
phonographs and black-and-white television sets. Then there's the problem of elderly-
hostile Web sites with microscopic text and unnavigable labyrinths of information. Many
seniors also point to a frustrating experience that engendered their distrust of the
computer. Irene Brauer, 84, of Oakland, Calif., recalls using a PC a few years ago and
being inexplicably instructed by the machine to turn it off. "After that, I had no desire to
experiment at all," she says. "I'm not a very patient person at the computer."

But that doesn't mean seniors like Brauer aren't adapting. Her retirement community
often hires instructors for the computer room, and she'll cautiously surf the Web when
one is nearby. Five years ago, when she suffered from a sodium and electrolyte
deficiency called hyponatremia, she recruited a family member--another popular Net-
coping strategy among the elderly--to research the condition online for her.

There are also an increasing number of senior-friendly Web sites now that can make the
experience more comfortable. On these pages the fonts are larger, the layout is simpler
and the higher color contrast between the words and background improves legibility. The
site of Generations on Line, for example, offers a simplified version of the Medicare
discount-drug-card sign-up, at Another good site is,
by the National Institute on Aging, which has an easily navigated presentation on
diseases like Alzheimer's, arthritis and diabetes. NIA educational-research specialist
Stephanie Dailey notes, "If seniors can't get to the information in two or three clicks,
you're going to lose them." In today's Web-centric health-care environment, seniors and
society can no longer take that risk.
PHOTO (COLOR): Logged on: Brauer ventures into cyberspace with instructor David


By Nadine Joseph and Brad Stone

Copyright of Newsweek is the property of Newsweek. Copyright of PUBLICATION is
the property of PUBLISHER. The copyright in an individual article may be maintained
by the author in certain cases. Content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or
posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However,
users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
Source: Newsweek, 4/25/2005, Vol. 145 Issue 17, p74, 1p
Item: 16779818
Title: WITH ACCESSIBILITY FOR ALL , By: Moozakis, Chuck,, 1086-7821,
January 22, 2001, Vol. 6, Issue 2
Database: Academic Search Premier
Section: Networking
                           WITH ACCESSIBILITY FOR ALL

    New disability access regulations prompt ISPs to make changes on their own

For the estimated 40 million Americans with disabilities, overcoming obstacles that exist
in the real world is challenging enough. But the virtual world of Internet access poses
distinct barriers of its own-barriers that some service providers plan to dismantle more
aggressively, with some guidance from newly minted federal regulations.

Even though the official requirements are only for federal agency Web sites, some
Internet service providers (ISPs) are already taking steps to make sure subscribers with
disabilities can access their services. Some of their efforts are for the public good, while
others are designed to keep themselves from being sued as well as get more subscribers
online. Alternate forms of access include using design elements to make content
compatible with devices like screen readers, which are designed to translate visual
information on a computer screen into audible information and Braille displays, for

In a nutshell, the new regulations tacked onto Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act,
which went into effect in December, require federal agencies to construct and design their
Web sites using applications and technologies that make sure site information is available
to all users. Even though ISPs could legally ignore it, disability accessibility is a front-
burner issue at the U.S. Internet Industry Association (USIIA, Arlington, Va.). David
McClure, executive director of the trade association, found out how important
accessibility is when he received a scathing e-mail from a user who wondered how the
organization could say it was sympathetic to disabled access when its own Web site
wasn't accessible to the blind. "I realized that guidelines existed to help us do what needs
to be done," he says.

The new federal guidelines are derived largely from those already created by the World
Wide Web Consortium (W3C, Cambridge, Mass.), with help from government agencies
and industry advocacy groups like the USIIA. "We've been working on this for three
years," says Judy Brewer, director of the consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative. "It
was a dedicated effort to link [individual] efforts with a single solution."

The W3C guidelines center around the steps software developers and designers should
take to ensure that Web content is accessible to everyone. They reduce the complexity of
instructions for cognitively impaired users, for example, and make sure multimedia
components can interact with text-to-speech technologies, often using HTML tags for
graphics that give verbal descriptions for graphics. They also help software developers
design features like the ability to boost font size or toggle between speech and text.

ISPs already dealing with the issue say the new rules won't change their existing disabled
access policies. "We understand how important it is for people with disabilities to interact
with our service," says Michele Cavataio, who led the access effort at America Online
Inc. (AOL, Dulles, Va.) in her position as vice president of corporate relations. AOL had
already run into problems with advocates for the disabled when the National Federation
of the Blind (Baltimore) filed suit against the provider in November 1999, claiming its
user interface made it impossible for the visually impaired to interact with the service.
That suit was withdrawn last summer after AOL-with 26 million subscribers, the world's
largest ISP-took steps to add new accessibility features to its most recent browser, such as
adding the capability to support screen readers.

AOL is also forming a disability advisory committee, the goal of which is to develop
software to support all of the assisted technologies, like Braille keyboards and mice,
Cavataio says. The committee also plans to appoint an accessibility adviser and form a
disability advisory committee. AOL is also working with groups like the W3C to develop
next-generation accessibility guidelines.

AT&T WorldNet Service (Basking Ridge, N.J.) is working to make its own Web site
accessible even to color-blind people by offering alternative means of displaying
information that includes text tags on each illustration, says Mike Burks, a senior member
of AT&T WorldNet's technical staff. "Our principle is to build our sites to be used by the
largest audience possible," he says.

No matter how good their intentions, there are limits to what ISPs can do. They can't
force hosting customers to comply with current rules, for example. But they are paying
close attention to how the regulatory landscape could change. The Department of Justice
has already ruled that the 10-year-old Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) does apply
to the Internet, although no steps have yet been taken to apply specific ADA rules to how
the Web currently operates.

In the meantime, industry advocates say they plan to keep working to improve Web
access, expanding disabled access into Web authoring tools, for example. "We are
working on next-generation guidelines that will address more advanced Web
technologies," says the W3C's Brewer.



By Chuck Moozakis
Title: Silver Surfers , By: Ashling, Jim, Information Today, 87556286, Jul/Aug2005,
Vol. 22, Issue 7
Database: Academic Search Premier
Section: International REPORT


                                     Silver Surfers

Contents             Perhaps I have matured beyond the first flush of youth (and my hair
                     has a bit of distinguished gray), but I would never have considered
Chat with
                     myself old enough to be a "Silver Surfer." That is, until I learned
Your Librarian
                     about Silver Surfers' Day, a day dedicated to helping older people
Broadband            (anyone more than 50 years old) discover how the Internet and e-
and Wireless         mail can enhance their lives.
in Canada
Cable &              Silver Surfers' Day 2005 (, held
Wireless Back        May 27 and coordinated by U.K. computer training company
in Profit            Hairnet, offered about 400 events in U.K. libraries, colleges, pubs,
                     and community centers. As part of Adult Learners' Week, now in its
From Samuel
                     fourth year. Silver Surfers' Day is intended to help "mature" people
Morse to the
                     learn how to shop and bank online, find information, and use e-mail
                     and e-government services to keep in contact. Initial estimates show
                     that between 4,000 and 5,000 people took part in the hands-on
200 Million          sessions.
                      People new to the Internet were encouraged by the stories submitted
by the Silver Surfers of the Year and the Silver Surfer Entrepreneur of the Year. Two
entrants were jointly named Silver Surfer of the Year: Graham Newman (for his site that
provides information on prostate cancer) and Stuart Davis (a resident of a sheltered
housing group who assists other residents with computer and Internet access). The
Entrepreneur of the Year award was presented to John O'Nyons, who has developed an
interactive CD training course on basic food hygiene.

Silver Surfers' Day, sponsored by organizations ranging from adult learning institutions
to retirement home developers, noted that ProQuest Information and Learning provided
free access to its Know-UK database at the day's events.

                             Chat with Your Librarian

Newly trained Internet users may want to try a new U.K. government-funded service
called Enquire ( This free, 24/7 Q&A service is
provided by libraries in the U.K. in collaboration with U.S. and Canadian libraries. Users
can ask librarians a question via instant messaging and chat rooms.

Enquire was launched on May 19 as a service of the People's Network. It is managed by
the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and is delivered by OCLC PICA
and Co-East, a libraries' partnership in the East of England. MLA chief executive Chris
Batt said: "Enquire is designed to get answers to people wherever they are, night and day.
It is a route to the librarian's expertise without ever crossing the library threshold. This is
a demonstration of how the digital revolution can improve one of the greatest traditions
of the public library."

More People's Network initiatives are scheduled for release in October, including
Discover, a search engine service, and Read, which will provide access to online reading

                        Broadband and Wireless in Canada

Canada is now bridging another kind of digital divide. On May 25, satellite operator
Telesat ( launched a new two-way satellite broadband service,
bringing high-speed Internet connectivity across Canada. Dave Lahey, Telesat's vice
president of business development, said: "By delivering superior broadband access to
places where geography or economics prevent traditional DSL or high-speed cable,
Telesat is helping [to] make Canada's 'digital divide' a thing of the past."

The new service operates in the Ka band on the company's Anik F2 satellite and delivers
high-speed connectivity at speeds up to 2 Mbps. Telesat launched the first domestic
commercial communications satellite in geostationary orbit in 1972.

While some rural Canadian customers are getting their first taste of high-speed Internet
access, all Canadians will soon be able to use 500 new wireless hotspot locations, which
will comprise the broadest intercarrier Wi-Fi service in North America. The Canadian
Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA;, in conjunction
with four national wireless service providers (Bell Mobility, Fido, Rogers Wireless, and
TELUS Mobility), announced the Wi-Fi service on May 25. It will allow roaming across
Canada between carrier-run hotspots under a common brand. Other Canadian operators
or hotspot owners may be eligible for membership in the roaming alliance.

"Increasing the number of Wi-Fi hotspots and making the user experience simpler with
common connection methods and technology standards, as well as a brand identifier,
creates a solid foundation for widespread Wi-Fi market adoption in Canada," said CWTA
president and CEO Peter Barnes.

                           Cable & Wireless Back in Profit

According to increased revenues and profits announced in Cable & Wireless, PLC's
annual report for the year ending on March 31, carriers worldwide are expected to
experience healthy growth. Following a £237 million ($430 million) loss in 2004, Cable
& Wireless (C&W; turned a £302 million ($550 million) profit for
the total group; it made a profit of £277 million ($505 million) on continuing operations,
an increase of 20 percent from 2004.

Cable & Wireless is investing in network infrastructure, as seen by last year's acquisition
of Bulldog, a U.K. broadband operator that provides access to customers across the "last
mile," a portion of the communication network once controlled exclusively by British
Telecommunications (BT; Local Loop Unbundling now lets other
operators control the quality of service to users' PCs. Last September, Bulldog became
the first company in the U.K. to offer consumers a combined 4 Mbps broadband and
phone service package. By 2Q 2005, Bulldog planned to expand services to 30 percent of
homes and businesses across the U.K.

Over the next 3 years, C&W is set to invest £190 million ($345 million) in the creation of
a U.K. Next Generation Network. In the company's annual results, U.K. Next Generation
Network chief executive Francesco Caio said: "Our strategy is to establish a sustainable
position as an infrastructure-based competitor operating with its own access network;
building a strong customer franchise, both with consumers and businesses; [and]
investing in IP, broadband, and mobile to pursue profitable growth in new services."

C&W is second only to BT, which has its own timetable for the transformation of its
U.K. networks. BT's 5-year program was developed to underpin the next generation of
converged, multimedia communications services. Customers are expected to migrate to
the new network en masse beginning in 2006, with the majority due to be completed in
2008. BT's 21st-century network (21CN) program will begin to create the infrastructure
that will enable the growth of BT and the U.K. telecommunications industry. It is set to
completely transform BT's networks, delivering increased customer choice and control.

                From Samuel Morse to the Ubiquitous Network

World Telecommunication Day commemorates the creation of the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU; in Paris. On May 17, the ITU
celebrated its 140th anniversary. Back in 1865, ITU stood for International Telegraph
Union, which was created to develop cross-border agreements for sending telegraph
transmissions from country to country. Only 21 years earlier, the information and
telecommunication era started when Samuel Morse sent the first telegraphic message
from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore.

The 2005 anniversary, which was themed Creating an Equitable Information Society:
Time for Action, was celebrated at the Ubiquitous Network Conference in Tokyo
( ITU secretary general Yoshio Utsumi said: "At ITU, we
believe in communication as a basic human right. The theme of this year's World
Telecommunication Day highlights ITU's commitment to extending this right through
more equitable access to modern information and communication technologies for the
millions of 'information poor,' for whom modern communications remain far out of

Attended by 600 participants from various international organizations, governments, and
businesses, the conference reaffirmed the Plan of Action and the Declaration of
Principles that were adopted by the participants of the 2003 Geneva phase of the World
Summit on the Information Society. It confirmed the summit's vision for a ubiquitous
network society shaped through an inclusive partnership of all stakeholders. (The
conference's outline defined a "ubiquitous network society" as one that "will make it
possible to connect anytime, anywhere by anything and anyone.") Technology has
certainly improved in the 161 years since Morse's first telegraph transmission.

Ubiquitous access does not necessarily mean universal usability. In May, attendees at
Multilingualism in Cyberspace, a UNESCO-organized conference held in Bamako, Mali,
concluded that written national language policies are needed to address language on the
Internet. More than 130 participants from 25 countries concurred that standards are
crucial to the creation, dissemination, and preservation of multilingual content in
cyberspace, particularly for endangered and lesser-spoken languages. The role that
libraries and archives will play in the preservation was also discussed. The hope is that
linguistic diversity can be sustained through such activities as promoting reading and
making content in local languages available in both analog and digital form.

                                200 Million Laptops

Fine statements of policy were not the only things being discussed at the Tokyo
Ubiquitous Network Conference, according to an article in PC World

Martyn Williams' article, "MIT Eyes $100 Laptops," states that Nicholas Negroponte,
chairman of MIT Media Lab, attended the conference and promoted his vision of the
$100 laptop. If he can obtain orders for about 6 million machines for a pilot project, he
proposes to provide a laptop to any child in any country. With substantial orders already
expected from China and Brazil, Negroponte believes he is well on the way to starting
production in 2006. He originally announced his vision last January at the World
Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More details on the project, including
Negroponte's vision of producing between 100 million and 200 million units in the next 2
years, are available at the Media Lab Web site (




By Jim Ashling
Jim Ashling runs Ashling Consulting, an independent consultancy for the information

Copyright of Information Today is the property of Information Today Inc.. Copyright of
PUBLICATION is the property of PUBLISHER. The copyright in an individual article
may be maintained by the author in certain cases. Content may not be copied or emailed
to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written
permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
Source: Information Today, Jul/Aug2005, Vol. 22 Issue 7, p20, 2p
Item: 17609915

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