Saturday, February 28, 2009

Video Response

I thought it was a little disturbing that Luisa had to save up for three years to buy a computer. The technology gap article that I wrote about previously stated that a Bangladesh worker would need to save for his salary for eight years to buy a computer while an American would only need to save one month’s salary. This movie shows that a disparity this large is not just an international problem. Luisa put a face to the racial ravine and the way income gaps lead to information gaps.
Equally disturbing is a high school with no music, arts, or sports. This seems very Brave New World to me. Were these kids learning about history? Would they even know about the warnings of 1984? I agree with the woman who said that schools shouldn’t be “training grounds.” If schools train their students to think well, then they should be able to learn these computer skills quickly in the workforce if they need them. It is important to be well rounded. When Travis went to get a job, he even said it was hard because there are 10,000 other people who can do the same job. But if he had had some extra or special skill, that would have been an asset.
I also thought Travis’s friends were interesting. They had a content problem (from the 4C’s) because as Travis said they just weren’t interested in computers, not even in chat-rooms or email. This is odd to me since from personal experience I have seen these kind of personal interactions are what draw people to the internet. Perhaps the problem here is that they don’t have anyone on the other end. For example, I have had an email address since I was seven, and I would regularly email family members, but if these kids don’t have family or friends who are connected to the internet than it has no appeal. But someone has to initiate this kind of online social capital. Someone has to get an email address first. Maybe Travis was the first step and will eventually inspire them to learn to use computers.
Someone in the movie also mentioned that technology was a new civil rights movement. This is an interesting perspective since it seems to have alienated minorities more than empower them. The important point here though is that it has the potential to empower these groups if CTC’s are available and they take advantage of their access to information and improved communication abilities.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Video Response

What does it mean to fill the digital divide or to eliminate the racial ravine? The perspective I gained from this movie is that, "The American dream is a competitive dream;" filling the digital divide means increasing the competition. It also, of course, means more equal employment. The reason there is more competition is that it's fairer, yet someone is still stuck job hunting.

As for why some are more successful than others in the job market, I don't have much original insight, but effort is obviously important. For example, Kep, unlike Travis, never used a computer before high school. Travis procrastinated in his final project, while Kep graduated with honors.

Digital Divides Video

      I enjoyed that the movie addressed the controversy involved with technical colleges. I thought it made the movie more respectable and credible because it showed the potential advantages and disadvantages associated with technical schools.  The film also helped reinforce several class concepts and key terms.  I liked how I could relate to the situations of the various students within the movie.  I also appreciated that the movie put an emphasis on how people entering the manufacturing workforce after high school have difficulties supporting their family.  Similarly, people entering the computer and technical workforce are often faced with adversity when it comes to keeping up/ahead of cutting age trends and endure a high level of competition.  Lastly, I enjoyed how the movie placed an importance on social skills, working in groups, and the application of learning directly into workforce situations.
      Kep was the immigrant who faced several challenges when he moved to America. He was trying to learn English and had never worked on a computer before he went to technical school. Kep embraced these new challenges and became passionate about his English class as well as computers. Kep had access to great connectivity and had the capability coupled with the desire to learn. Through school, he learned about how the content and competition of the computer industry created his urge for cutting edge innovation and context. He thrived in this environment receiving a full ride scholarship for college.
     Luisa left her "bonding" gang member role, found her love for computers, and began technical school as well. She came from a low income household and worked full-time while attending school. She was apart of the "racial ravine" by not owning a computer (at first). She fell behind in school because she was working so much and lost a potential job opportunity by not being able to master PhotoShop 4. This is a perfect example of the digital divide and how low income communities can put forth effort, but have trouble crossing over the divide.

Digital Divides Video

This week in discussion we watched a movie called Digital Divides. This movie focused our attention on youth, computers, education, and employment. I'd like you to post your initial reactions to the movie as well as provide more analysis about what this film adds to our overall class discussions. Please provide several paragraphs so that we can get a good idea of the point you'd like to make.

Some good starting points would be to compare and contrast the differing stories. We witnessed four different stories--those of Luisa, Cedra, Travis, and Kep. How do issues that we've been discussing in class relate to their stories? How can we think about their narratives in terms of racial ravines, 4Cs, or social capital? What sorts of differences allow some of them to do well but not others?

I'd also like everyone to reply to one of the responses. In particular, I'd like you to respond to a classmate that noticed something you hadn't. Was there any reason you didn't notice that particular point? Do you think about labor and race differently now because of that post?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

·    Define “gentrification.”  How did this come into play with the Near North Branch, Cabrini Green and the Gold Coast?

gentrification is the (according to

the buying and renovation of houses and stores in deteriorated urban neighborhoods by upper- or middle-income families or individuals, thus improving property values but often displacing low-income families and small businesses

this came into play when dealing with Cabrini Green and the Gold Coast because eventually the Gold Coast began expanding into Cabrini with the renovation of buildings and shops (aka gentrification).  A lot of the low income housing units were torn down, the liquor store was replaced by a park, and many of the older residents were displaced because they could not afford the increased cost of living.  While it did clean up the neighborhood and make it overall safer, the problem with gentrification is alienates some of the oldest residents that have been living in that area.  

Monday, February 23, 2009

Midterm 1 Review

To understand "racial ravine" it is definitely important to understand "the digital divide". Based on the articles and class discussion, racial ravine is basically another interpretation of the digital divide where you can see inequality in cyberpower based on ethnic differences. This term came from page 1 of Social Capital and Cyberpower in the African-American Community. This is an important concept because the term racial ravine means basically the same thing as the digital divide, it just makes the digital divide more specific by pointing out where the divide can be thought to be.

Midterm, Exam 1

Week 2 Readings: Social Capital: What is this? Can you define it?

" capital has both an individual and a collective aspect- a private face and a public face. First, individuals form connections that benefit our own interests". Page 20
"...'networking,' for most of us get our jobs because of whom we know, not what we know- that is, our social capital, not our human capital". Page 20
Social Capital= whom we know.
"however, social capital also can have 'externalities' that affect the wider community, so that not all the costs and benefits of social connections accrue to the person making the contact". Page 20
"... positive consequences of social capital- mutual support, cooperation, trust, institutional effectiveness- can be maximized and the negative manifestations- sectarianism, ethnocentrism, corruption- minimized". Page 22
"The forms of our social capital- the ways in which we connect with friends and neighbors and strangers- are varied". Page 27
-Quotes are from Bowling Alone


What is the "CARI model"? What are its four perspectives?

The Community Analysis Research Institute (CARI) model of research was formulated by Greer and Hale and its purpose is to collect, organize and analyze data about communities beginning with the question "What do we want to know?" This process then procedes until the questions are answered, formally and deliberately. The four perspectives include characteristics of individuals, the formal and informal groups they form, the agencies which serve and interact with them and community lifestyles. Historical research, statistical analysis, personal interviews and structured observation are all research techniques employed to collect this data. (pg. 11-"Community Analysis")

Midterm 1 Review: Racial Ravine

What do the authors mean by the term “racial ravine”?

The racial ravine is a term from the first page of the article Social Capital and Cyberpower in the African-American Community. It is from a quote from the US Department of Commerce which said "'The digital divide has turnedinto a "racial ravine" when one looks at access among households of different races and ethnic origins.'" (Alkalimat, Williams, 177)

The digital divide is the gap between information communication technology (ICTs) haves and have nots. The Department of Commerce was getting at the fact that race is a strong determining factor in which side of the divide you fall on, seeing as it is linked to many other characteristics that could affect such an outcome including income, education, and location.

Midterm, white cathedral, Hall

Now describe the “white cathedral.”

- (p.32) The white cathedral was another library that Hall begs her mother to to take her to.  She notices the staff is multiracial. They spoke in quiet voices (in a library of course), and seemed to like children.  Her mother and her needed to "cross the tracks" in order to get to this library.  She claims the white cathedral almost taunted the yellow place saying "there's something inferior about those people who live over there".  She goes once with her mother, and they never return again.  Even when she grew up, able to go on her own, she did not go.


Circulation statistics, an easy measure to take, come back up in this article. Why are these problematic? What kinds of materials do they miss? What kinds of use and users do they miss?

"While this simplified picture of public library use and collection of library use statistics worked well when books were the primary medium of information transfer and communities were more homogeneous, this approach is not effective today as it ignores information that could be key in making critical decisions about today's public libraries." pg.29 People use libraries for a variety of media in addition to books. Some of this uses do not involve checking anything out from the library. "Research indicates that public libraries are vital in diminishing the information gap between the technical elite and the technical poor. Given the demographicsof this century's potential new library users, it is critical that public library decision makers have data that enable them to measure performance and use, and assess needs, in vulnerable and diverse neighborhoods." pg. 30 Computer use has become an important service offered by public libraries for people of low income who do not have computer access at home.
"The common practice of aggregating public library use statistics can mask particular usage patterns and unmet needs of minority of low-income neighborhoods." pg.31 Minority populations frequently do not have the same access to technology and subsequently have fewer computer and internet skills. This means that internet access is an important feature of the public library that is not recorded by circulation statistics.


Give an example of both bridging and bonding social capital. Which one is inclusive and external, and which, exclusive and internal? Which one is “glue” and which one is “WD-40”? 

-  An easy example of bridging social capital, and a subject we briefly discussed in discussion, could be something such as the Civil Rights Movement.  Because the Civil Rights Movement attempted to unite people of all races, not just African Americans, it "bridged" the gap between whites and blacks.  Bridging capital is designed to help more than just an individual or a small group, but rather a wide range of differing populations.

- An example of bonding social capital could be a church youth group who meets once a week.  They work together to broaden the religious scopes of one another.  The group is more close-knit, and individuals converse with one another to share religious views and perspectives.  If this group decides to go to a soup kitchen for the homeless, it becomes bridging social capital as well.

- Bonding is inclusive and external, while bridging social capital is exclusive and internal.

- Bonding acts as the glue, by creating stronger relationships within the group, they may also create stronger out-groups.  Bridging social capital is the WD-40, which makes out-groups and society run a bit smoother.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


What is GIS and how did researchers use it in the context of this study?
How did researchers define neighborhoods?

GIS stands for Geographical Information System. It's the type of software used in this study to collect information about library service areas. The way it works is that information is collected about a specific area and recorded in the software by location. This makes it easier for researchers to break up their data into physical areas and also to locate physical divides within a community. It also allowed the researchers to analyze different service areas individually. Another purpose of the GIS software was to allow representation of the spatial access to a library. As noted in the study, "The smaller the size of a library service area, the more accessable the library branch would be to the residents in the area and vice versa."

The notions of space in the study were very important because they directly affected access to the library (see quote above).

Finally, the researchers defined a "neighborhood" as an individual local library service area.

**All of this information can be found on pages 451-452 of "The Library Quarterly" from the second week's reading.

Midterm (w2)

To what does Putnam attribute the change in the social interactions of groups since the mid-20th century to now?

America has placed a high value on individualism. Putnam notes that individualism has been celebrated by famous authors (Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman), and suggests that its importance has been overemphasized through historical figures (Paul Revere). This overvaluing of individualism decreases bridging social capitol: ". . .[[disposing] each citizen to isolate himself from the mass of his fellows and withdraw into the circle of family and friends . . . [leaving] the greater society to look after itself" (24).

Friday, February 20, 2009


What do the authors mean by the term "racial ravine"?  

I think that the authors mean the digital divide has turned into a division among race and ethnic origin.  Studies have shown the number of white Americans with internet access compared to minorities lacking internet access is increasing.
pg 178


What were some barriers to Hall's access to the white cathedral? How did this change her view of the yellow palace?

One barrier to access to the white cathedral was that it was across town "on the other side of the tracks." It was difficult for Hall to get transportation there because her mother did not have the time to take her across town, and she was too young to go by herself using public transportation. There was also a class barrier because the white cathedral was located in a wealthy neighborhood. After visiting the white cathedral, Hall became very angry. She was confused that the yellow palace and the white cathedral could have the same lending system, when they were so obviously different. Also, she saw the other inequalities between the two libraries in respect to space, hours, furniture, and the librarians. This changed her view of the yellow palace because it showed how inferior and unappealing it was.



Describe Hall's childhood local library, the "yellow palace." What were its features and/or barriers? Where was it located within her community?

The yellow palace was Hall's local library. It was located downtown surrounded by the police station and the neighborhood jail. All points of entry were covered by anti-theft bars. There were only two small reading areas inside- one for adults, and one for children. It was called the yellow palace because the inside was painted a yellowish color, that seemed to change in different sunlights. Even though it was no haven, Hall loved the yellow palace, as did the rest of the community.



What is the problem with leisure?

In the '50s and '60s, Americans had more time to spend on recreational activities, and they weren't spending as much time in work or school, but they were very involved in church and other activities. A 1958 study of the Center for the Study of Leisure said that "the most dangerous threat hanging over the American society is the threat of leisure." The problem with leisure is that Americans really don't know how to take life easy. In the '60s everyone ran out and joined a club to keep themselves busy. So, sure they were improving the country and the community with their work ethic, but what's going to happen when people want to spend their leisure time actually relaxing? They stop joining clubs and groups to keep themselves occupied. Which is exactly what did happen. Not only that, but times have changed politically and socially as well. In the '60s there was the Equal Rights movement, and while things still had a long way to go, people were fighting for the rights of not only African-Americans and women, but also LGBT groups were active, (although I'm not sure if they were called LGBT groups at the time...) While not everyone has yet to receive truly equal rights, most of the hard work of getting publicity for these causes has already been done, and most people don't have something to fight for, even if it's for something trivial like better roads, or they just don't care about anything, and so they also don't have that sense of civic duty in general. The article wasn't very specific about leisure, so some this is my own extrapolation.

LIS 202 Study Guide Post

This week will be used to prepare for the exam.

A study guide will be distributed later this week, and your online blogging assignment this week is to choose one part of it and answer a question for your peers. As others fulfill this assignment, try to choose something someone else hasn't answered. The test preparation will be much more effective if it covers a broader set of questions.

Cite page numbers, too! Part of good scholarship is allowing others to check your work. Be kind, and be as specific as you can about how and where you are getting your answers.

To keep this all organized, please respond in the comments to this post.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Give an example of both bridging and bonding social capital. Which one is inclusive and external, and which, exclusive and internal? Which one is “glue” and which one is “WD-40”?

According to Putnam in Bowling Alone (pg 22) bonding will “reinforce exclusive identities and homogeneous groups,” while bridging will “encompass people across diverse social cleavages.” He gives the example of “church-based women’s reading groups” as an example of bonding social capital because it brings together people of the same gender, faith and interest. An example for bridging social capital that he gives is the civil rights movement, which has united people of different religions, financial and educational backgrounds and even races to work for a common cause. Bonding is exclusive and internal and is “superglue” because it connects already similar people. Conversely, bridging is inclusive and external and is “WD-40” because it unites people from different backgrounds.


thomasjasengardner Thursday, February 19, 2009
Information Divides and Differences in a Multicultural Society
SLIS 201
Associate Professor E. Whitmire
Teaching Assistant: Nathan Johnson

MIDTERM: Week Five Readings;

Alkalimat, A., & Williams, Kate (2001). “Social capital and cyberpower in the African American community: A case study of a community technology centre in the dual city.”

• The authors suggest that the digital divide may be anti-democratic. Why do you think this is so?
• I guess you are asking me if this article was written under the presidium of Huey Newton or William Ayers. Throughout the reading the writers talk about the injustice distributed to the poor. On page 204, they conclude by writing how democracy is necessary for citizen involvement. As Jefferson proclaimed, an informed citizenry is the backbone of a democratic system. Citizens use information to make decisions and to confront obstacles to equality and justice.

• What do the authors mean by the term “racial ravine”?

The digital divide is segregationist philosophy at its worst. Inner city black people are isolated from the technical, educational, informational advances of white society. Computer related skills will advance underemployed and underpaid black people with job skills, learning software, community awareness, and personal confidence. On page 177, the writers discuss the polarization of American society between the haves and the have nots. They add that the ‘racial ravine’ is a valley where people of colour find it impossible to climb the walls of empowerment in order to earn social capital.

• What is “public computing”? What is a “Community Technology Center (CTC)”? Define.

What a lovely place ‘public computing’ implies for a community without computers at home, school, or work. On page 178, the writers state that low income communities should be given free public access to computers and the internet. Opportunities to garner computer use skills and computer resources should be provided at places like the ‘Community Technology Centres’. Social spheres for computer access is traditionally at places of work, computer coffee houses, and copy shops. A CTC is a generic name given to a place where computers are open to the public. The authors hope that CTC’s located in poor communities will enhance social capital.

• 1960s-1980s: Rise of a Black middle class, but also increasing growth of an impoverished class. Urban poverty, in particular, causes disengagement and social exclusion.

On page 180, the writers state that the exodus of the black middle class from urban communities left a social and economic vacuum that enabled its members to depend on economic and social peers to help advance the agenda of the community. As the author implies, the black middle class climbed one rung up the ladder of economic and social empowerment, could not climb higher and because they had been released from Aristotle’s ‘cave’ they could not go back down the ladder because there is no room at the bottom. Traditionally the black middle class was a welcome part of the community. Recently, the black middle class has been called traitors to their black heritage by black extremists. The disengagement or voluntary segregation has left the poor black community without social, human, and material capital. I believe Alkalimat believes, that another disruptive social process is necessary to advance the generational second-class status of black America (p. 179). This missing social buffer has helped to create a permanent underclass.

• The authors invoke Castells’ “dual city”? What is it? Briefly identify.

• Castell’s definition of a dual city (p. 181) implies that there are two distinct worlds that exist side by side in the city. These worlds differ economically, socially, education, and housing. The part of the city that is disconnected usually consists of the disenfranchised. low paid over worker residents. I like his phase ‘black information holes of informational capital’ in describing deepening divide between ‘social structures and power relationships’.

What is “cyberpower”? Define its three forms: individual, social, and ideological.
• cyberpower: interacting online activity is internet power, that empowers the user(s) (p.183)

• Individual cyberpower: gaining computer skills and social connections for one’s self

• social cyberpower: a social environment that complements individual goals. Technology in the community (computers, fax machines, cell phones, MP3 and etc.) is another advocate for continuing the struggle for information freedom. I think I also understand how a learning environment and staff behavior affect the environmental and teaching barriers of clients. I like how the Community Math Academy made use of the internet and educational software to improve and increase productive correspondence between participants and school administrators.

• ideological cyberpower: information technology is the major ingredient for a successful revolution. Marginalized or/and socially segregated groups can actively pursue dialog within the community that results in a common goal that benefits all concerned.

How do CTCs/computing and Internet access create, enable or enhance “cyberpower”? Take examples from the cases given in the text.
• The three examples of organized resistance the writers used were excellent. The fight for human survival, community activism, and organized rebellion showed how social capital obtained from the Internet can counter the misinformation of corporate media. I was back in Seattle visiting my son, and could not believe the power cell phones and text messaging had in assisting organized opposition. The police expected rabble-rousers and were not prepared for controlled defensive strategies. While the web was used to advocate certain actions and to coordinate defense, it was cell phones that empowered the demonstrators (p. 185).

What partnerships (a.k.a. bridging and bonding social capital) were established between the Murchison Center and other groups or community stakeholders?

While I am not receptive of the religious propaganda used to promote the agenda, it is obvious that this bridging social capital helped to organize the participants into a cohesive unit.

stage one: the church and the centre: drug prevention program established. programmes, such as job counseling, computer training, and counseling were included. This bridging social capital increased positive relations between black parishioners and black drug addicts. But as the writers say on page 201, if Cyberchurch spiritual awareness enforces the personal, cultural, and political lives of black people from cyberspace interactions, then I cannot condemn this association. But I concur with the writers that bridging social capital does nothing more but regurgitate familiar themes that reinforce your possibly ignorant beliefs.

stage two; the state and the centre: This bonding of social capital increased city officials awareness of stage one’s success in the community. Reciprocity between the church’s volunteer, Mrs. Henderson, and government bureaucracy (CDBG) helped the state associate a familiar trusting artifact with the center. This constant dialog helped the state to understand the needs of the community and what specific resources were needed to address those needs. Still, the formal requirements established by government reminded me of how banana republics have to follow the detection of the IMF in order to get funding. Time constraints do not work where grant and business proposal knowledge is limited. Government should be familiar with these obstacles and provide a liaison to help complete the application process before the due date. Unlike middle and upper class communities, neighborhood residents do process the bonding social capital to help bridge the community’s needs. .

stage three: the university and the centre: I believe when the organization spilt into two separate entities, it became a third stage. The changing ideological landscape forced the separation of church and state. But the addition of University of Toledo and King School created a cyber community whose power reached beyond the neighborhood.

The following is an article detailing a personal history of lacking high-speed internet in rural America. The speaker says third world countries have better internet connections then Americans. what we also have to remember is how cable companies are trying to create a two tier system of internet access. as students and educators our resources may be severely limited because of limited financial resources. These organizations are effectively organized to provide the black community with world empowerment.

From the review sheet...

· Social Capital: What is this? Can you define it?

The discussion of Social capital arises from the article we read from the book Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam. On page 19 he defines social capital as "connections among individual's social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them" In a nutshell, social capitalis the social gains obtained by an individual who is a member of a community. In class, we discussed the idea of a neighborhood which is rich in social capital. In a case like these, members of the community frequesty engage in communication with one another, and may share simular belifes and goals. The bennifit the obtain by doing so is to be "amongst friends" if you will, in that the members of their community are more likly to look out for the indivduals should the need arise.

Social Capital: Bonding and Bridging - Midterm

What is social capital? According to Putnam's Bowling Alone, (page 19) social capital refers to connections among individuals. But this can be further seperated into two distinct groups: Bonding and Bridging.

Bonding social capital: On page 23, Putnam describes bonding social capital like a superglue which is also exclusive. Bonding social capital is bringing people together. Usually these people have the same interests and are very much alike. He gives an example of the Knights of Columbus. They "...bonding along religious and gender lines." Other examples are: church based womens reading groups, country clubs and ethnic fraternal organizations (pg. 22).

Bridging social capital: As for bridging, Putnam similates it to WD-40. Makes the community work better togather (like WD-40 is used in car engines). There is less friction then. These are bringing groups togather. Perhaps they had a conflict in a matter and by bridging them, they can resolve this. Why the WD-40 analogy works well. He also used the Knights of Columbus as an example. He said, "...created to bridge cleavages among different ethnic communities..." (page 23). This bridging social capital is inclusive. Other examples include: civil rights movement, religious organizations and many youth service groups (pg. 22).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Early Childhood Technology Inequity

My article discussed how the exposure to computers/Internet at an early age can "exacerbate inequalities". Not only the lack of exposure slows development, but also the type of exposure as well. In many lower income communities, programs with a repetitive emphasis were used. In higher income communities, computers/Internet were utilized to do research projects or collaborative learning. The article also gave several tips to maximize the effectiveness of technology exposure.

I would have to agree with the article. At a very early age (1st or 2nd grade) our school pushed the use of the Internet to do research. I was from a small, relatively wealthy, mostly white town. We always had the latest programs and computers, and there was scheduled time in the computer lab each week. This exposure could be part of reason for my academic success. Children in less wealthy schools are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to utilizing technology for education.

Inequity in the work place

I found an article discussing how black men face inequity in the work place. Often times they feel they have to dress more professionally than their coworkers or speak more softly. Testimonials from black workers explain various situations in which they felt there was discrimination involved not based upon their work ethic but the way they looked. One such story was when a black worker asked the secretary if his packages had arrived, and to his astonishment she got really upset, thinking that he was yelling at the secretary. Such preconceived notions are hard to overcome but must be dealt with almost on a daily basis for black men. The article discusses this inequity in more detail.

Here is the link to the article itself:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Technology and Inequity in Healthcare

This article focuses on Korean health care. Increasing technology in the medical field is generally a good thing, except when it increases the inequity gap. State of the art machines are replacing existing machines, which in turn are being shipped over seas to poorer countries. The Koreans who are wealthy or have health insurance that covers the new technology procedures will benfit greatly from this. However, if patients are not able to afford the new procedures, they have no options because the old machines and procedures no longer exist.

The fact that I found most interesting is that all of the National health care plans did not cover the new procedures. This will lead to an increased visibility of classes in the health care industry. If this Korean system does not work out, it could possibly be used as a learning mechanism for other countries in the future.

The article is here

Censorship of the Internet

With the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, one of the main concerns on everyone's mind, besides how many gold medals Phelps had already won once he stepped off the plane, was the issue of censorship of the media, specifically the internet, by the Chinese government.

Chinese censorship of the internet is an issue that is causing unrest both in China and abroad. According to Amnesty International, China has the greatest number of both journalists and cyber dissidents in the world. However, the internet, being an infinite media, has resisted being completely censored in China. For the most part the censorship in China is very random, one site may be blocked, while another much like it can continue to be viewed.

The question that all of this poses is: How does censorship affect the internet as a third space?, and what effect does this discrepancy in information between Chinese nationals and other citizens of the world have on the Chinese? 

The most easily observable answer is that the loss of the internet as an impartial third space causes civil unrest. Surveys show that the Chinese people have the biggest problem with internet censorship on the local level. Local leaders are seen in many parts of China as self-serving and corrupt, censoring information that could compromise their standing. As a result, both arrests for cyber crime and protests regarding internet censorship policies have increased.

What result does all of this have on the Chinese people? One can only speculate. My intuition, however, seems to be that the suppression of information could only hurt the Chinese people as a whole, and that not having everyone being able to access all of the information on the internet could lead to the slowing of both social and technological reforms.

Sources: How far will unrest escalate in 2009,

Nude Art Clothed in Response to China's Internet Policies,

Global technology inequalities

The article I read entitled "Global Technology Imbalance Causing New Inequalities" basically talks about the digital divide across a global scale. The article points out some successes of the increasingly technological world like 1 billion internet subscribers around the world for example. It then counters saying that 80% of the world is not connected to the internet. This lack of access to information primarily occurs in the "third world," while industrialized and developed countries/governments such as the United States and Canada have invested in information technologies and not left that task solely up to it's citizens. The article claims that this governement investment is key to developing information systems, and that left to their own devices, citizens will not make the effort on their own. The article also stressed the importance of research and development of human capitol as well. Countries with a well developed system for educating their citizens and enhancing their scope of understanding are typically more technologically sound. These countries also tend to be more active in voicing input to information systems while underdeveloped countries tend to be merely receivers of information and rarely offer input of their own. The article also offered up some statistics, one that I thought was ridiculous that said "In the most developed countries, there are 563 computers per 1,000 people; but in the most backward there are only around 25 per 1,000 people." This statistic to me was insane and really highlighted the information divide we are experiencing on a global scale.

the link to this article is All in all I would say it was pretty insightful and highlighted the information inequality of the world pretty well.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Is the conversion to digital the NEW digital divide?

While searching for articles about a technology, I stumbled upon television and its new digital divide. This is the same topic discussed in class, but I thought this article was very interesting.

The article states that the conversion from analog to digital is another example of the digital divide and another example of the "haves and the have-nots." The conversion will be a good thing for most people. It will allow for a better television signal and according to the article, "allow more space on the airwaves for public safety communications." The problem is that many low-income people will no longer have access to television- TV that they've probably had for their whole lives, or if not, a very long time. Is it fair to suddenly take away their access to television information just to better everyone else's TV service? This article argues no. According to this article about 21 million households still rely on analog television, and most of these households are racial minorities. Almost 13% of African American and 13% of Hispanic people are not yet ready for the transition. These people rely on their televisions. Not just for entertainment, but for the news, public service announcements, severe weather warnings and educational television programs for their children. It simply isn't right to take away these people's rights to information through the television.

This issue seems to be a very important one, especially at this time, since the conversion is less than a week away. I understand that TV is a privilege; however, I have a huge problem with taking away someones access to a source of information that they still deserve. The fact is that this is a digital divide issue, because, sure people can BUY the converter boxes, but when the choice is between TV and a babysitter so that someone can go to work, the choice will be made to sacrifice access to television.

here is the link to the article:

Cell Phone Digital Divide

My article discussed the social inequalities resulting from possession or lack of possession of a cell phone. It stated that for teenagers especially if a person does not own a cell phone they are essentially ostracized from many social groups. The idea is that if a person's phone number is not in your address book than they do not really exist. Teenagers seem to be on their cell phones even when they are with other people It seems to be the primary form of communication and therefore for teens who do not have a cell phone it is extremely difficult to socialize.
The article also said that teens are not the only ones who are dependent on their cell phones. Adults too appear to use their cell phones to do things like business calls as well as socialization. Cell phone users are able to call ahead when they are running late. Most cell phone users had a difficult time during the period of a study when they had to give up their phones for a few days. It seems that having a cell phone has become an important part of many people's lives. It is a primary form of communication and connection to other people.

Blog Response

What astonished me was how research shows the Clinton administration predicted that because the farm economy of rural America would transfer into the mercantile economy of the 21st Century by the 1990’s. The internet was a necessary ingredient for supporting this new economy. . The industrial factories of urban America has already become gentrified service industries that reflect this new information revolution This falls in line with Prof. Whitmire’s statement about how small cottage industries ar e competing on internet band widths with libraries, schools, and students. Her statement concurs with Bertot’s reading about how bandwidth and free wireless access affect usage statistics.

Using Public Libraries to Provide Technology Access for Individuals in Poverty: A Nationwide Analysis of Library Market Areas Using a Geographic Information System reports that library internet access and transportation access to libraries in low income areas increases the economic vitality of a community. Libraries as third places provide telecommunications where Internet access is becoming an increasingly important information source for American society for personal correspondence via e-mail, up-to-the-minute news, online shopping, information search and retrieval, and product information.
While this same study agrees with Prof. Whitmires findings about the rural and urban poor as well as rural and central city minorities. It did not dawn on me that rural/urban young poor households, and female-headed poor households were among the low income groups to be “least connected” because of work/home time constraints in underpaid/low-skilled jobs with transportation access barriers to and from the library. I cite this statistic because these citizens are the most vulnerable members of society (National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 1998).

I did my study on New York City libraries vs. Town of Woodstock libraries. I remember the Woodstock library as a quaint place out of a Faulkner novel. However, research shows that another library formed to serve the upper class citizens of new housing in the area. The New Woodstock Library, while in the same service area, is separate from the Town of Woodstock library. a WDST radio announcer told me over the phone that the new library was a semi-public environment that commandeered funds from the historical library whose residents ‘lived on the wrong side of the tracks.’ Online statistics reveal it is a small library serving less then 900 people with a ¾ staff member.

Anyway, these are the stats for New York City Library vs. Town of Woodstock Library.

Woodstock, New York:

Wikipedia Demographics:
2000 Census: Population; 6,241 people, 2,946 households, and 1,626 families. The poulation density is 92.5 people per square mile. There are 3,847 housing units in an average density of 57.0sq/mi. The racial makeup of the town is 94.25 percent white, 1.30 perecent black, 0.21 percent native american, 1.57 percent asian, and 0.02 percent pacific islander. Hispanics are 2.56 perecent of the population.

Median Income;
The average household income is $49,217. About 10.2 percent of the population live below the poverty line in 2000. reports that 11.4 percent of residents lived below the poverty line in 2007. The majority of poor residents are white female headed households according to their survey. Thirty-seven percent of these households are the working poor. The poverty rate for high school graduates is 16 percent compared to 85.2 percent poverty rate for high school dropouts.

Woodstock Public Library District:

the district has only one library which serves 6,241 members in its service area. the library has 9 public internet terminals and one for the librarian. The number of people using the computers in 2005 was 12,792 according to the Institute of Museum and Library Services. I could not determine their broadband type. the library has a total staff of 5.69 with 1.75 being accredited librarians. The total expenditures totals $433,280. Most of that comes from local taxes. The library has a book and serial volume collection of 53,400.

The library had a total of 165,299 visits in 2005. Total circulation for the year was 72,028 with 26,705 reference transactions. Circulation of children’s materials totaled 14,124 with 3,444 children attending events. Average hours open was 41.5 per week. 151,056 visits to the library were made in 2005

New York Public Library:

While New York State averages 9 terminals per library, New York City averages 26 terminals per library. Population of the legal service area is 3,313,573 people.
4,925,870 requested the use of computers in 2005. Average hours open is 37 hours a week. 15,181,566 visits were made to the library in 2005.

New York City has a high degree of income disparity. In 2005 the median household income in the wealthiest census tract was $188,697, while in the poorest it was $9,320. Almost 21.2 percent of residents live in poverty. According to the most recent U.S. Census data, in 2006 there were a total of 3.3 million low-income New Yorkers – a number greater than the population of Chicago – totaling 42 percent of the city's population living at or below the poverty level.

New York has 87 branch libraries serving a legal service area population of 3,313,573 people. White persons make up 44.7% of the population. Black persons make up 26.6% of the population. American Indian and Alaska Native persons make up 0.5%, and
Asian persons 9.8 percent. Hispanics or and Latinos comprise almost 27 percent of the city’s population.

The system has over 20 million books and serial volumes. Almost 14 million visits were made to the library in 2005. The system has 3.6 million types of children’s materials while 246,166 children attended library activities.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

inequity in UK

Article Link:\

This article talked about a study that was conducted in UK in regarding to the connection between technology availability and early childhood education. The article said that they didn't find any significant connection which indicated that technology will lead to better early childhood education and better test scores but did claim that technology provides an essential tool for the children.

My reaction to this article is quite mixed. I have a love- hate relationship with my technology. I love the fact that i can access the world all while sitting comfortably in my dorm But i detest how much i rely on my computer and the internet. I'm pretty sure that if i was separated from the internet/computer i'd suffer symptoms similar to that of a crack addict and cocaine. So therefore, my beliefs agree with the study's conclusion in that introducing computers to early childhood education won't significantly improve their education. It will help them become more tech-savvy in the growing technology dependant soceity but the good come with the bad and
they might grow dependant on it.

However a number of other points in the article disappointed me. "... also suggests an indirect influence of ICT on pupils learning, not through direct links with learning in each subject, but via improved self esteem, engagement and desire to learn." I feel like this is saying that we are teaching kids to want to learn because they get to do stuff on the computer rather than learning for learning sake. Back in my 3rd grade elemtary class we would get math quizes and those that finish the quiz early got to mess around on the computer while the rest of the class finished up. Every single time, there will be a person that just rushes through the quiz just so they can have computer time and not spend actual time thinking through the problems and learning from them.

I guess overall, I disagree with the article's promotion of computers and ICT in schools because introducing computers in childhood education - to me - is just providing another unnecessary stimuli to the already overstimulated youth. And the argument that disadvantaged kids do not have access to computers is invalid because litterally everyone has a computer or can gain access to a computer on a regular basis.

I love me some Google News (Digital Divide Article)

My group decided to discuss the digital divide in the transition from analogue to digital TV in class last week. In order to find an article to post for this blog I jumped into Google's News feature and typed digital divide, and surprise, surprise: an article about the very same thing was the first hit.

The article I found was from the Palm Beach Post. The article talked about the transition to digital in the West Palm area of Florida. They, like us in Madison, are among the most prepared areas for the switch, with only 3% of households not owning converter boxes. That might seem great, but that's approximately 22,000 households that would lose service on the newly extended switch over date of June 12.

The article went on to say that the people in that 3% were mostly the ones who would be hurt by the transition: the elderly and people in rural communities.

The article then took a broader look at the conversion. Approximately 6 million households still need to buy the $40 converter boxes before the switch. The government has already outspent its $1.34 billion budget for converter box coupons, leaving people waiting in line. That clearly was a major factor in the delay.

The other side of the issue is that the broadcast companies are pushing to switch over before the new deadline. Keeping both an analogue and digital signal running is extremely expensive, and that is added to the over $500,000 cost of installing an all new digital line.

The final issue the article discussed was that those who bought the converter boxes still found themselves spending more money. They needed new, difficult to install antenna in order to receive the digital signals, because the old rabbit ears were not strong enough to get the signal. Many people in the West Palm community found themselves with static or blank channels, among an array of other problems.

All in all the digital conversion is creating a large digital divide, not just for those without a converter box, but also for those without the technical know how to set up their new antenna or the funds to buy one.

The full article can be found here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Quantitative Look at How Technology Drives Wage Inequality

    As people graduate high school every year, students decide their next big step.  Some choose to go to college and further their education, others may decide to enter the workforce immediately.  Their decisions affect the economy directly and contribute to the increasing wage inequalities in the workforce between the skilled and unskilled workers.  The wage inequality has increased (especially since the 1980s).  Currently, college graduates make almost double the wage of those that entered the workforce with a high school diploma alone.  The number of college graduates has increased and in economic theory it was expected that their relative wages would not continue to increase as well.  The article I found has studied the above premise.
     Within the article, researchers focused on information technology concerning equipment and software occupations that need workers with technical skills.  The researchers created a model in which the production of new capital equipment was compared to the quantitative technological changes on wage inequalities and skill formation.  They came to the conclusion that if technology alone was viewed according to the change in technology in the equipment and software sector; The skilled workers were benefited in an unequal manner than the unskilled workers.  The results accounted for a huge portion of the wage inequality.
      In conclusion, it is plausible that education and various technology software within college programs attribute to the wage inequality.  Even though there are a higher supply of college students and it doesn't seem like their wages would continue to increase, technology is increasing at such a rate that skilled workers are needed to keep up with it.  Enforcing higher wages among those more educated compared to having a high school diploma boils down to basic economics surprisingly.  Increasing software and technology equipment requires more skill to keep up with its evolving status.  Even though there is a surplus of college graduates, their wages will continue to increase with the growing technology (even though economists expected a decrease in wage).  The article makes me feel a little less skeptical about a college education and more reassured that continuing education will get someone more bang for their buck.

Inequalities of Cell Phone use in Developing Nations

This article is about the use of cell phones in developing nations and whether or not they make inequalities worse or better in said nations. The article talks about how in the present, the people with cell phones are mostly wealthy, but they are becoming more available to the less wealthy classes. Cell phones are actually helping these nations become more developed because of some very innovative uses including cell phones that can be charged from peddling a bike where electricity is scarce. They can also be a source of income for certain people. However, that's just it... only certain people even have cell phones. The article argues that the success of cell phones in third world countries are exaggerated because not everyone has access. The author does believe that with time that cell phones will reduce inequalities, but that is not the current situation.

Here's the link:


This article discusses the effect of technology improving schools and education, as well as reducing social inequities. The research project involving this idea looked at what characteristics improved schools and how technology aided that. It also looked at how technology reduced inequities between pupils and they performance, as well as how technology aided those students with learning disadvantages.

Their findings were that technology does not necessarily lead to school improvement or helping close the gap between the disadvantaged students and the rest of the student body. But they found that technology definitely is essential for facilitating change, improving effectiveness/functioning, and helps to track student progress. Technology helped disadvantaged students by offering a more independent learning environment. The visual and interactive aspects of technology also raised motivation. However, there was not a direct link between technology and improving learning, but it did help motivate students to learn and raised self-esteem.

I thought this article related to our discussion because the use of technology/computers/internet in libraries has definitely made libraries more useful and helpful to the public. I felt that the same would be true for schools--since both are open, helpful, learning environments. I was surprised by the findings of this study. I felt for sure that there would be a positive correlation between technology in schools and improving schools, especially for disadvataged students.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


This article explores the effect English-speaking ability has on US immigrants' computer and internet usage. Although overall internet usage has increased, the gap in computer access between immigrants and natives has actually widened from 1997-2003. The authors of this article use data from the Current Population Survey and the 2000 US Census to suggest that English-speaking ability plays a significant role in strengthening this gap.

What I like about this article is that it takes into account more than just a person's physical access to a computer. Yes, most Americans have computer access through the public libraries, but not everyone is proficient in English and not everyone has the basic technical skills needed to use a computer.

Text Messaging and Driving

I had a hard time coming up with ideas for this blog post. I did some searching and was lost. My cousin came to visit me this weekend, and after a car ride, I knew I had a topic. I think we are all guilty of this at sometime in our lives, including me. But it never occured to me, until I rode with somebody. Texting while driving is dangerous. I couldn't believe how close we came to numerous accidents, running a few red lights, and swerving on the road. And everybody does it at sometime.

The article I found is a couple of years old, but the basic principle is still there. Texting while driving is dangerous. And to fit it into an inequity, I think it goes with health and lifestyle. Your health is affected if you do get into an accident and your lifestyle is in "danger" with people like this on the road. Text messaging is the start though. Now its Blackberry's and the email, web and GPS devices now all playing a role at distracting the driver. And people thought radio and cd's were bad. Its not just young people either contributing to the problem. A quote from my article, "...53-year-old male driver checking his e-mail caused a five-car pileup on Interstate 5 outside Seattle..." Literally, young and old are prone to these hand held devices. It even has its own acronym of - DWT - Driving While Texting. Washington State is the first in the nation to actually have a ticket for it. A $101 fine is expensive price for a little text message. That brings up all sorts of questions, how will they inforce this? Because its a inequity of the cell phone users' lifestyle. Its very interesting to think about, since the size of the problem is enormous.


Technology Inequality

This article is particularly interesting because it brings in a global aspect. The internet allows the wealthy countries to educate themselves and provides them with seemingly infinite resources. Poor countries lack this advantage and must watch as the rich get richer thanks to their ability to network and self educate. The large gaps in education cause large gaps in wealth and quality of life. On a local level it is easy to see how the educated succeed and can afford luxuries unavailable to the less educated who have lower paying jobs, but this is also true on an international level. In fact, disparities among a community are small relative to the global disparities. That is countries that have collectively better education also have an overall better quality of life, so the inequality in Madison is small compared to the inequality between people from the United States and people from Senegal. The article states that a worker from Bangladesh would have to save his salary for eight years to be able to afford a computer, while an American would only have to save one month’s salary. This wealth gap creates a barrier to accessing the internet, which is now a necessity to staying competitive in the global market. The article also states that “The assets of the 200 richest people exceed the combined income of 41% of the world's total population.” And how did former richest man Bill Gates make his fortune? Computers. He was able to recognize the potential of software. There are billions to be made for those who can think of a creative new website (like Google for example), but these billion dollar ideas are hard to come by. And it is impossible for people in poor countries to make such discoveries when they have never used a computer. The article ends with “In its conclusion, the UNDP calls for more technological aid to be delivered to poor countries, warning that they risk being left out in the rush to monopolize the world's knowledge.” “Technological aid” may seem a bit ridiculous at first. Do we really need to be dropping off laptops to children in Africa when they don’t have food or clean water? But technological aid is exactly what libraries are providing in the rich countries. The United States uses libraries to keep everyone on the same level as much as possible because it believes the elite should not hold all the knowledge and therefore all the power. Since poor countries cannot afford the luxury of public libraries, it is equally as important for the rich countries to ensure that poor countries can keep up and succeed.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I think it is interesting how libraries are becoming places to hang out more so than to read books. Traditionally, much of a libraries inventory, especially in a university, is composed of reference books of some type. Now, all of that information can be stored on a computer database, almost eliminating the need for all of those books. The books are kind of just taking up space, which creates opportunity cost. That space could be used for tables and chairs for people to use and socialize. Also from a business perspective, the overhead costs that go into storing thousands of useless books could be allocated in a more productive manner.


I was skeptical about all the stats associated with our understanding of the digital divide. But after I saw how her Tuesday lecture helped to confirm the emotions I felt after reading 'Race & Place.' I saw how the stats help solidify qualitative research. Besides, I thought, the Prof. is a librarian. This profession lives on information. Despite the effects of gentrification, I was impressed with how THE CITY OF CHICAGO DECIDED TO USE LIBRARIES AS COMMUNITY CENTERS

the third place

i posted earlier but i just wanted to comment again that I am totally in the thought process of the internet and blog being a third place. Its all about fostering communication and building social capitol which we are doing. It also creates a real comfortable setting for people to voice their thoughts...i mean don't get me wrong i like talking to you guys in discussion but im sitting here in weeks right now just chillin voicing my thoughts on my labtop which is just super easy. But by doing this I feel like I am connecting in a certain way because when I throw my opinion out there you guys are either accepting or rejecting that and odds are we're gonna find out we have some common beliefs.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Internet as a third place....

I dont think there is really a right answer yes or no answer. the internet is what you make of it. If someone decides to go on the internet to better network with others and build social capital then that's great. Reconnecting with some old college/high school buddies would prolly be a great way to get a job or help others out and get them jobs. But If a crazy stalker decides to try and be friends with kids in middle school then obviously that completely illegitimates any notion of internet being a third place. Furthermore; we must also take into consideration the amount of time that could be safely devoted to the internet as a third place since WoW addicts would argue that spending 10 hrs a day on azeroth is 10 hours well spent making social networks. But i feel that at a certain point, (maybe the 8hours/day mark) is when the third place becomes your first place (home).

Socioeconomic inequalities and technology and their affect on health

      I recently came across an article that attributed more health mortalities to the less educated.  People with less financial resources, including being restricted from technology, unstable employment, and with little or no health insurance, and do not have a high school education have a profound increase in the mortality rate of all death causes.  Meanwhile, a contrary study was conducted among "educated" men and women in which the mortality rate was significantly lower.       I thought this related to what we have discussed in class not only on a community level, but a global level.

Am I in a third place right now?

I don't think I am in the 3rd place right now typing this. I think this will continue to be a major topic in the course considering the course title includes 'the digital divide'. So rather than be redundant I would like to analyze the idea of digital divide and how it relates to this not being a 3rd place. I'm thinking of my divide right now from all of you as being separated by distance, time (you all mostly posted already and won't be able to give me immediate feedback), and attitude. I say attitude because we all approach this blog differently and some of us probably don't really care about it, that doesn't seem very playful to me. Again though I do feel that blogging has its place even if it has a divide.

Just a note..

The definition of a third place does not implicitly say this, but a third place does seem to be a place where people can feel safe and secure. So, since the internet/blogging allows people to be whoever they wish to be--a 50 year old man pretending to be a teenage girl for example--does the internet really offer a safe haven?? And because you really don't know who you are talking to, can you trust anything that is said? Can you really develop your social capital with people whom you aren't positively sure who they are??

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Third Place Debate

The internet can certainly be used to provide congregation spaces for people looking for a neutral place to converse and cultivate social channels. IRC channels have been used almost since the dawn of the internet for people to discuss common interests, share writing, and pretend to be fifteen year-old schoolgirls. Second life is a modern example of the internet as a third space. Second life is a virtual world in which people create avatars to represent themselves and interact with other people. Second life has become so popular that it has its own economy where there is real world money tied up, and its own music scene. The internet has proven itself as a solid source of third spaces, and i think that this blog has the potential to become a third space if people are comfortable enough to use it in a conversational manner.