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KNOW and Information Literacy: Access to Information

This guide offers ideas, suggestions, and above all else, an invitation to Puget Sound faculty to collaborate with librarians when designing student research assignments under the KNOW (Knowledge, Power, Identity) rubric.

Resources on the Digital Divide

Information Access & Inequality

Big Questions:

What are the effects of inequalities in the access to information?

What are the mechanisms and structures that aid, control, or hamper the flow of information?

Is access to technology and the Internet the only factor to consider?

Assignment Ideas

  • Ask students to keep a one-week journal of when they access the Internet, what device they use to do so, and when their membership in specific groups is required for access.  What would the consequences be if they had access to only a smartphone to complete all of their college assignments?  What would happen if they needed to apply for jobs online but had to depend on the hours of a public library to be able to access the Internet?  What would happen if they lived in a part of the world where an erratic supply of electricity made access to the Internet unpredictable? 
  • Identify groups in Tacoma or the wider Puget Sound area that are affected by digital divide issues.  Interview members of the group and identify barriers.  Create a policy recommendation for ways to help the group overcome any identified problems in digital access.

Information Poverty

"Information poverty" is a complex concept involving economic poverty and social and cultural aspects of information-seeking behavior. A reading list for students might include: