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CPSR Journal Vol 19, No 4
Volume 19, Number 4 The CPSR Journal Fall 2001

The Digital Divide Panel discussion
with Kate Williams, Salvador Rivas, and Dara O'Neil
by Dara O'Neil

[ Read the program notes ]

The Alliance for Community Technology sponsored a Digital Divide Doctoral Student Workshop in August 2001 at the University of Michigan. In this panel, three doctoral students from the workshop presented overviews of their research on the digital divide.

Kate Williams, a doctoral student in the School of Information at the University of Michigan, presented a synopsis of the Digital Divide Doctoral (d3) Student Workshop. Twenty-one doctoral students from 14 countries participated in the four-day workshop which included presentations and discussions of each student's research on the digital divide. Plans are underway to produce a special journal issue of the d3 papers for widespread dissemination of these international perspectives.

Salvador Rivas, a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan, presented an overview of his paper on quantitative survey methods for measuring the U.S. digital divide. Salvador discussed the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative survey methods and concluded by presenting the findings of several surveys that measure gaps in technology access among various socioeconomic groups in the U.S.

Dara O'Neil, a doctoral student in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech and a CPSR Board member, presented an overview of digital divide policy in the U.S. She examined policy justifications for addressing the digital divide and then categorized federal programs and policies to address the digital divide in three areas:

  1. access (physical assets)
  2. awareness (motivation to use information and communication technologies)
  3. application (integration of content and services).

Dara also presented emerging policy issues and concluded with five policy recommendations for addressing the digital divide generated from d3 participant discussions.

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