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The Pew Research Center report on wireless internet use has some interesting findings regarding broadband access to the Internet.
- Wireless Internet Use, by John Horrigan, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project (Jul 22, 2009)
- Pew: minorities embrace internet via handheld devices, By Matthew Lasar, ars technica (July 26, 2009).
It says that African-Americans access the Internet via handheld devices more often than whites, for whom an online connection is more likely to come from an ISP-connected computer. “This means the digital divide between African Americans and white Americans diminishes when mobile use is taken into account,” Pew says.
This is a development that should be of interest to those who design web sites for libraries. If you need a reason to persuade yourself or your management that your site needs a mobile-friendly interface, this is it. OCLC announced a mobile interface this year.
Almost two weeks gone since Liberation Day. I got to say the signs are still thumbs up for the optimists who believe government, and its information infrastructure, can be a positive force in our country. Obama talks of upgrading the digital aspects of the health care system; parts of the economic recovery legislation moving through Congress want to throw billions of dollars at securing broadband access to areas and communities now without any easy access to the web. And the debacle regarding the switch to digital television by February 17 might be mitigated by a four month extension.
So librarians, and their allies, still have reason to hope — but there are some cautionary tales out there. In Slate magazine there is an article about the digital poverty in the National Archives. And the New York Times throws cold cautionary water on the hot possibilities the stimulus package would level the digital playing field. It is the old “if we build it they will come” debate. What I find more interesting is the intersection between this story and the delay in digital television switch over. The ostensible reason the broadcast TV grid is going digital is provide more of the public’s broadcast spectrum to other information streams, like accessing the internet. So where are the dots connected here? Here is an interesting article that touches upon these nuances — Broadband access for all: The economic and political implications of municipal wireless networks.
See you on Day 14.