Telecentres and the provision of community based access to electronic information in everyday life in the UK

Abstract

This study explores community access and use of electronic information (EI) in everyday life arguing that current plans to expand community based access (CBA) to Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) need to be informed by research which examines what helps and hinders use of both EI and existing CBA sites, such as telecentres. The study has three themes, firstly everyday information seeking and the extent to which EI is being used in everyday life. Secondly, use of telecentres and the extent to which these organisations are being used to access EI. Finally community involvement strategies are examined to identify levels of community involvement in the design, development and implementation of telecentres. The study’s contribution to knowledge is that it adopts a community-centred approach by focusing on the views of users and non-users of telecentres to develop a framework to inform future community based ICT initiatives. The study builds upon past research which called for user-centred approaches to information seeking research and system design rather than system based approaches. This idea is extended by considering the views of non-users. A wide range of factors helping and hindering use of EI and telecentres were combined to form a framework, which contains four main elements; service requirements, cost, skills and network issues. The methods used to develop the framework demonstrated that community involvement in ICT initiatives can be about asking the right questions rather than technical knowledge. Interviews were undertaken with 47 users and non-users and seven key actors across the three telecentres studied. Document analysis and observation

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Cite this paper

@article{Ellen2003TelecentresAT, title={Telecentres and the provision of community based access to electronic information in everyday life in the UK}, author={Debbie Ellen}, journal={Inf. Res.}, year={2003}, volume={8} }