Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Government Policies

I wanted to make a quick post about our discussion on how government policies have affected libraries lately.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 provisions of the law emphasized the importance of public libraries serving as Internet access points for the communities they serve.

The Children's Internet Protection Act requires a library that receives certain types of E-rate and LSTA funds to filter Internet access in the library.

USA Patriot Act have wide-ranging implications for libraries including increases in the circumstances of records that can be searched, the allowance of tracing and searching though electronic communication, and the gag order placed on investigations.

From: P.T. Jager, Government Information Quarterly 23 (2006)

Legacy

In our study of legacy, I think it would be valuable to relate this video to broader concepts. I think the family did live life in the round. Terrell's murder was a signal to the family that life in their social world is defunct, and thus, they need seek new information and resources to lead a better life. Terrell's murder signaled that droping out of school, living in the projects, and doing drugs was all part of a social world and social norm that doesn't lend itself to life and happiness, and thus, the family had the catalyst they mention to improve their lives and do better.

Review

Jaeger et al (2006) found that 99.6% of all public libraries provided Internet access on their public terminals. However, there were still things related to that access that continued the digital divide. What were the issues?
  1. Sufficient bandwidth and broadband
  2. Perpetuation of the digital divide of Internet access in libraries
  3. The role of libraries as e government access points
  4. Complexitiites of funding internet access
  5. Impacts and contradictions of filtering
  6. chilling effect of homewland security
  7. Sifficiency of conncetivity (# of workstations)
  8. Levels of Public access
  9. The need for training
  10. Continuing gaps in access
  11. Sources of fuding for techonlogy
  12. Qustions of public policy

Chatman's Theory: Information Poverty & Life in the Round

Information Poverty:
1. Secrecy
2. Deception
3. Risk-taking
4. Situational Relevance

Life in the Round:
1. Small world- The Projects and their members had their own little world and community built up in there.
2. Social norms- Their lifestyle and habits become the social norm.
3. Social types- their life seems normal and accepted becuase no one has any motivation to change it.
4. Worldview- they are not motivated to change their life and they won't cross their own boundaries until something TRAGIC happens. Their cousin, Tyrel, was shot, and once that happened, they decided they needed to change their life. So they were seeking information since it was critical, relevant, and their old life was no longer functioning.

Understanding digital inequality:comparing continued use behavioral models of the socio-economically advantaged & disadvantaged

Hsieh, Rai & Keil

How did computer use differ between disadvantaged (low-income) and advantaged (high-income) groups in this study?

-Hedonic outcomes were more influential for the disadvantaged than the advantaged (111).
-Personal network exposure was stronger for the advantaged than the disadvantaged (112).
-Perceived behavioral control, self efficacy, and availability only affected behavioral intention for the disadvantaged. Disadvantaged individuals still need to deal with psychological and material barriers that are not directly addressed by technology center interventions (112).
-The advantaged had a higher level of PC ownership than the disadvantaged (112).

Thoughts on Class

As the class comes to a close, I just wanted to sum up what I have learned and how the class effected my views on the issues presented.  I'd also like to see what everyone in the class thinks too. 

As the class began I didn't really think Libraries were important and didn't have much of an understanding of how restricted access is to some people.  The two articles that changed my views the most were; Building the Bridge: "Learning From Seattle" and "The Policy Implications of Internet Connectivity in Public Libraries. " 

"The Policy Implications of Internet Connectivity in Public Libraries" shed light on the fact that even if most people can get to a library to use the Internet if they really need to, the wide range of inequalities those people face severely limit the usefulness of that utility.  It shed light on the fact that for many it is a struggle to get to the library and once they are there they face possible lines and time limits for Internet usage.  On top of that, public Internet access is subject to censorship, limiting the possiblities that many others enjoy.  These realities effectively make the internet a barrier to improving people's lives rather than opening possibilities and resources to them.

"Learning From Seattle" showed what I took away to be a very good way to deal with the situation.  The programs were started for and by the people of the area to improve eaveryone's lives.  They researched what people needed and wanted most and responded to those requests accordingly.  I thought that the way they involved the people, government, and business in funding the program was a very effective way to mke sure that they got money where it needed to go, instead of just dumoing it on the situation.  In making funds available, yet also requiring locals to match funding, they got people to take a personal interest in the programs.

At the end of "Learning From Seattle" the author discussed where we should go from here, in terms of funding and policy on the issue.  Should the Federal government continue to stay out of this process or should it be nationalized somehow?  I believe that the answer is somewhere in between.  It's important that the people living in a given area want and are willing to work at improving the situation.  If no one wants a new library or doesn't really understand all the possibilities that are there, building a library won't matter.  The matching funds idea that Seattle used would be usefull to others as well.  That said, I think it is important to streamline the process so other communities can learn from each and responding faster and better to their constituents.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Final Exam

How did Elfreda Chatman’s theories about Information Poverty and Life in the Round match the experiences of the Collins family in the documentary Legacy?

 

            Elfreda Chatman’s theories about information poverty explained way why information seeking behavior is like the way it is.  One main way that her theories related to the Collins family in the documentary was the idea of people who are poor often view themselves of being devoid of any resources.  With the mom and aunt in Legacy I believe both felt like there was no resources for them to get out of their situation.  For example when the mom tried to get a job she was unable to do that because of the lack of resources such as childcare.  When she asked for help none was provided. 

 

Another Example of Chatman’s theories were the idea that deception and secrecy are both mechanisms used due to the mistrust of other people being able to provide useful information.  An example of Legacy was the mistrust of the system that was provided to the family.  The older members of the family often had a hard time trusting people to help them with getting through issues they had. 

 

The other concept that Chatman brought up was the concept of the small world.  This explained that life in the small world is something that is just understood and that’s the way it is.  This was prevalent in the neighborhood that the Collins family was in.  Things were expected to be a certain such as many from there were not expected to get out of that bad neighborhood, many were not expected to go to college, and drugs, violence and pregnancy at a young age were just considered the norm.  

Week 14: Servon, Chapter 9 Toward a New Agenda

Policy Makers: pages 226-227

"Policy must work to close remaining divides, focusing specifically on the disabled, African-Americans, Latinos, and those living in rural and inner-city areas."
"Policy makers must create and expand programs to address the training and content dimensions of the digital divide."
"Policy makers at the state and local levels should also continue to use flexible federal funding sources..to support innovative programs that address the digital divide and simultaneously confront other issues such as the IT labor shortage and persistent poverty."
"Policy makers at all levels of government should view the digital divide as an issue that cuts across departments and programs; failure to do so will have the effect of continued fragmentation and lack of unified response."

Community Technology Centers (CTCs) pages: 227-228

the article gives 2 visions that people have CTCs..
The first is to use the CTCs as training institutions, family learning centers, and gathering places
The second is to use CTCs only to fill present voids in other institutions, meaning that once those voids are filled CTCs would not be necessary
..Servon says that on their own CTCs probably won't help fix the digital divide so they need to work with other organizations and it will be most realistic for CTCs to partner with CTOs, libraries, or schools to help institutionalize their goals and reach more people.

Primary and Secondary Schools: pages 228-229

"Rather than creating separate computer classes, teachers should be given incentives to learn about IT and integrate it into their existing curricula."
"Government programs can also create incentives for collaboration between the schools and local CTCs."
..it also says that programs that are designed to be "scalable and adapt to students needs,should be studied in order to understand and document their potential and limits." and that federal programs should be used to institutionalize programs in schools, which will make for more equal access.

Post-Secondary Education: page 229

(by post-secondary education they mean 4 year college, community college, community-based training programs, employer-led training, and for-profit post secondary schools)

"Schools need to have flexible curricula, provide after-program services, and be responsive to employers' changing needs"
..it also says that all of the different types of post-secondary schools should work together and share their successes with each other so they can all improve.

The Corporate Sector: page 230

"Investing in areas that have not benefited fully from the information society simultaneously promotes larger social goals and enhances corporations' bottom lines."
..it says that corporate support is needed to help but that it is complicated to do

Philanthropic Organizations: page 230

"All of the actors that support digital divide work - corporate, government, and philanthropic- should share learning more widely and figure out how to complement each other's work."

Libraries: pages 230-231

"Libraries and CTCs need to engage in information sharing of what they have learned thus far in terms of how to apply IT."
..just before this this quote it says that library staff have had training in information science, which is an extremely important skill for CTCs and many CTC staff members have not.

Community-building Organizations: page 231

"CBOs (community-building organizations) can use new technology to increase the scale of their work."
"These organizations also have the ability to do creative and flexible programming."
"One of the most important roles for the CBOs will be to share these lessons with policy makers so that they can learn from this grassroots work and employ it to influence policy."

Reading Race Online

Burkhalter's article shows that race is not as anonymous and free online simply because there is a virtual space between online individuals. Burkhalter argues that while it might seem like this may be the case because physical attributes that directly inform what race someone is aren't present, other factors enable others online to figure out what race the person is. Usually this happens by the way the individual writes messages, and how he/she conveys their race. Specifically on Usenet, but web site Burkhalter analyzed, the race of individuals can be determined based on the content of their message and the attitude of their message. Therefore, race is just as salient online as it is offline.

The study mentioned in the study guide is interesting because the names of the students are given, which directly imply what race they are. In Burkhalter's study, individuals seemed to have 'screen names' that weren't their actual names that directly linked them to their race. However, this study shows that just because physical signs of race are not present from which to make judgments about others, names, the content of one's message, and one's word choice can be just as telling as one's physical attributes.

Reading 1 outline

Since this study guide is vague compared to the other ones, I thought I would post an outline of the first article that I thought covered all of the important things.  

Looked at Public Libraries and the Internet 2004 Survey

·      Policy issues related to public libraries

o      Suffiecienty of connectivity, levels of public access, need for training, continuing gaps in access, sources for funding for technology

o      Method - Used web-based survey approach from director of library

·      Study findings

o      Public libraries provide internet connectivity for almost all US residents

§       99.6% of libs connected to the internet

o      progress due to:

§       federal grants for tech through Library Service & Tech Act (LSTA)

§       e-rate discounts for infracture and connectivity

§       public/private support, including Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

o      public libs reaching a plateau in terms of the number of public workstations available for use and that these workstations are not enough to meet demand (especially rural – less workstations, slower connections)

·      Key policy issues

o      Bandwith

§       Average bandwith to operate is increasing, libs must inc to keep up

o      Digital divide v. digital inclusion

§       Digital divide – geographic location, race, income, other factors

§       Digital inclusion – focus on how many ppl are currently online

§       Still divide in US

·      Considerable divides b/w rural and other libs

o      Rural areas being left behind in terms of speed of connectivity and the broadband access

·      Access to bandwith vary considerably state-to-state

·      85% of libs reported that there are times of day when there are an inadequate number of workstations available

·      libs serving the populations that have the greatest need for internet access are the least able to meet demand for it

o      expectation of public libraries as a universal access point

§       e-government: public library important link b/w them, the networked environment, and the govt

§       level of technology in some libs reaching a plateau

·      endless upgrade cycle, tech support, maintence costs, space limitations

o      funding internet access

§       connectivity, assess services, etc not a one-time investment

o      filtering, CIPA, E-rate

§       Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires libs that receive e-rate and LSTA funds to filter (if do not filter, don’t get $)

·      Filters only disabled if adult patron asks for it

o      Blocks health information, including sex health

o      Hesitant to ask to remove filters

o      Having to ask can simply limit internet use in general

o      Homeland security

§       USA Patriot Act

·      Battle of protecting patrons and monitoring patrons

·      Act allows for survelliance of expanded records and gag order for librarians

·      So libs not taking as many usage stats, but this is useful information, but the libs want to protect patron privacy

·      Conclusion

o      Public libs moving toward digital exclusion

o      We must define quality public Internet access service provision with the public library context 

Reading Race Online

Considering the findings of the above article and Burkhalter's article-- what are some of the issues related to racial identity and online use?

The issues related to being racially identified online is the same as being racially identified in a non-virtual plane. Some people will hold biases, prejudices, and all sorts of other feelings about people of a certain ethnic origin, these beliefs will show when they are interacting with a person of that ethnicity. The only difference with the online environment is that you can have an identity to others that is different from how they would view you if they saw a picture of you. Online you are judged by your alignments on certain issues, by the way you compose your sentences, and by the words you choose. In this situation others will fit you to a stereotype based on the text rather than the skin color.

If people perceive you to be of a race they aren't particularly fond of, they will act accordingly. They will not be as friendly, personable, and tolerant. The service provided won't be as good. With race online it is possible for you to mask your true racial identity if your interactions online resemble that of another race. But in general there will be hatred, abuse, and intolerance vented by people, even moreso online because of the certain level of anonyminity.

Sorry if this was kind of all over the place. Here's what I believe to be the main issues in these: discriminiation, intolerance, verbal(textual?) abuse of others.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Jaeger Article

Jaeger et al. (2006) found that 99.6% of all public libraries provided Internet access on their public terminals. However, there were still things related to that access that continued the digital divide. What were the issues?

  • Although nearly all terminals provide internet access, the problem lies in the quantity of terminals available. Many people were still not able to access the internet due to the fact there are simply too few terminals available to use. Also, providing access, and providing adequate access are two different things. True, many libraries provide access, yet there are many rural areas that are being left behind in terms of connectivity speed and bandwidth. Urban areas provide the highest connection speed and bandwidth. More and more bandwidth is being required to withstand the heavy traffic on the servers, and without federal funding, this is becoming increasingly more difficult to accomplish.
  • The government has moved to a “digitally inclusive” standpoint, focusing on how many people are online rather than how many ARE NOT online, leading to decreases in funding. Funding needs to be continuous to keep up with advancing technologies.
  • The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) prevents access from much of the information available on the internet-asking for access to such banned information can be embarrassing and leads to less freedom.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Group 1 video

For my group video I helped come up with the projects original idea and helped put together questions that we would ask the people we were interviewing. I was also one of the interviewers on the video. Our idea for the video was to ask random people at college library about there views on internet access since coming to college.

Group 2 participation

In our group, I filmed some of the scenes/skits, helped determine what we were going to say/act, and I also acted the scene relating income/career to technological know-how. In that scene, I played the richer, upper class individual who is very tech-savvy and, as he stated, uses such technology for his job quite frequently. Such frequent use improves technological abilities, and allows for him to be better off as opposed to the poor/homeless individual who has no technological know-how. Also, I helped with editing the video.

Group 1 Video Participation

For my role in our group's video project, I did a lot of brainstorming and then acting in the video. As a group, we sat down and shared ideas and created the basis for our video. Then we all took turns acting and recording different parts of the video.

I really enjoyed working on this project. Our basis for our video was being over and under connected. It was interesting to try to imagine the major problems people face every day from connection issues. The simplest message can get lost. Over all this project and this class really showed me valuable information about technology. It is important for every one to be connected in our society, but communication can also get lost when people have too many means for communicating.

Group 3 Participation

My contribution to our project was in the planning stage. I helped with brainstorming ideas, and I assisted the group on site in analyzing the libraries and finding unique and pertinent material to cover related the ideas of access.

I thought this project was very unique and interesting. Being my first real college project, it was a refreshing change from papers and exams. Furthermore, it really made me think about the concepts that we covered and their real life effects. It was interesting for me because in doing this project I went to the Madison Public Library for the first time, and it was interesting to think could I gain value from the provided services? What if I needed to use the computers for school work; could I have performed all necessary information retrieval, aggregation, and creation tasks to investigate the multimedia resources recomended by my professors and research and write my papers? I probably could, but with time constraints on computer access and limited access to computer database conduits and software, it would be harder than using College Library, my laptop, or any of the other libraries on campus.

Studying the libraries made the material seem real. Being from an upper-middle class town, I have little experience with libraries that serve such a diverse community as the Madison Public Library does. Living in a town that has more taxes per capita than Madison, my first impression was that being an older facility, the Madison Central Library would be subpar. What I discovered was something in between a taj mahal and a "yellow palace," lacking in adequate computer resources for a library of that size, the Madison Public Library still offers a vast array of community resources and reserves to serve the community of Madison.

Overall, this project was a great capstone to LIS 202, and far more engaging than the numerous trade articles in the reader.

Group Three Project Participation

For my participation in our group 3 project, I helped with the input of ideas as to what direction our video should go (comparing computer and internet access differences at the Madison Public Library and College Library). I also helped with the editing, which I found to be a long and difficult process because of all the things we had to take into account while doing it. For example, we had to insert a few slides because we wanted our audience to be able to follow where we wanted the story to go. I think our final product is a well-edited video that tries to explain the differences in computer and media access between the two libraries. In terms of working with technology, as Dean mentioned, we had some trouble with 'lost' footage. Also, while editing our project on the Mac computers in College Library, our computer crashed because it was overloaded with data. This goes to show, as does our lost footage, that a certain confidence is needed to use technology, given its unpredictability. As college students, we are familiar with technological problems and are quickly able to recover from any issues we have. However, for someone not familiar with computers, our computer crash could have been an incomprehensible crisis.

I really enjoyed working on the project, and seeing the Madison Public Library-Central Branch. Comparing the libraries and working with the group members was a fun activity and a nice wrap-up project before our final exam for the class.

Group 3 Video:

video

Sunday, May 3, 2009

group 3 participation

My group and I worked well together in coming up with scenarios for our video. From the beginning we knew we wanted to look at libraries and I think everyone's personal ideas came together well. For my participation I helped with the idea process for our video and acted in some of the scenes. I think this assignment helped our class come together and learn technical skills many of us were not familiar with. On our first day we were filming the project we thought we got a lot of good shots and later realized that the video camera did not actually get them. We were never really sure with what happened to the lost footage but it is an example that even people who are in college and have worked with similar technology can still have problems with new or unfamiliar technology. This makes me realize how unfortunate it is for people who are falling behind (into the digital divide) because what some think are simple tasks can be impossible for others to figure out. I especially feel this way because I am not good with technology at all, and it's not that I don't have the access, I just don't feel the need or have the use to be up on all of the "new" things. So when I learned of this assignment and that we had to shoot a video, edit it, and post it online, if I did not have a group to help with some of those steps I'm not sure I would have been able to complete it. Before this class, and more importantly this project, I never realized that I too am falling behind with technology and if I don't start getting help or learn new things soon I might always be playing catch-up in the digital divide.

Group 3- Participation

I found this project to be a really good way of actually conceptualizing the ideas we learned in this class.  As a group member I was able to contribute by collaborating with the other members of my group to come up with a great concept for our video project.  We all did a good job with working with each other to come up with ideas on how to represent a idea which we learned in LIS 202 and communicated well with each other in sharing our ideas.  I was also able to contribute to the video by acting in some of the scenes.  

I believe this project was really helpful in understanding key concepts from class.  It was also very interesting in being able to apply these concepts to personal settings around Madison and see how access can really affects us on a personal level.  It was also a good experience to learn to work with the camera and editing.  Overall, I really enjoyed the project because it was a fun and interesting way to apply the teaching of this class and was a good rap up to the whole class.