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Libraries' Hosts Book Talk with Authors James Pick and Avijit Sarkar

ImageOn January 24 the UCI Libraries hosted a book talk by James Pick and Avijit Sarkar, the authors of "The Global Digital Divides: Explaining Change." University Librarian Lorelei Tanji gave opening remarks at the lunchtime book talk in the Roger C. Holden Faculty and Graduate Student Reading Room in Langson Library. Tanji welcomed the speakers and attendees and encouraged all to recognize and reflect on digital divides around the globe.

Pick and Sarkar's presentation explored some of the topics and findings covered in their book, which analyzes data on the world's changing and growing access to and uses of information and communications technologies (ICT). They defined the "digital divide" as "the gap between individuals, households, businesses, and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels with regard both to their opportunities to access ICTs and to their use of the Internet for a wide variety of activities."

Overall they found that the following factors are major determinants of technology adoption and use throughout the world: socio-economic status, infrastructure, urbanization, innovation and affordability. Two new factors that they contributed to the scholarly conversation on the global digital divide were: societal openness - "more free and open societies with effective ICT laws and legal institutions foster adoption & use" - and social capital - "tight-knit communities with stronger social interaction and access to resources are more likely to have positive peer influence."

Pick and Sarkar engaged with audience questions about data collection and future research directions. They suggested that future research will focus more on specific aspects and mediums of usage, as well as specific user outcomes associated with internet usage (e.g. using the internet to seek employment or search for health information). They explained that country-level data collection on user outcomes is less consistent than the existing data on ICT usage and will need to be much more robust to allow for significant analysis. After the presentation, three lucky attendees won copies of their book.

ImageThe event was sponsored by the Partners of the UCI Libraries and Librarians Association of the University of California-Irvine (LAUC-I).

James Pick is a professor in the School of Business at the University of Redlands and Director of the Center for Business GIS and Spatial Analysis. Avijit Sarkar is a professor in the School of Business at the University of Redlands.

To view photos from the event visit the Libraries' Flickr account.