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Minorities embrace internet via handheld devices

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.

The Digital Divide: Guide, Discussion, Links

Your Guide to the Digital Divide, by Mark Glaser, MediaShift. PBS (17 January 2007)

The digital divide is the chasm separating the haves and have-nots in digital technology. On one side are people who can afford or who have access to computers, a high-speed broadband connection and the plethora of services from online banking to social networking to blogging. On the other side of the equation are people who cannot afford the technology, cannot get broadband access because of their location, or who have learning or cultural limitations to using the technology.

There are many digital divides: Rural and urban; poor and rich, African-American and white; old and young; disabled and able; developing nation and developed nation. All these factors have been studied and solutions have been debated for years.