QUESTION: Technology

question / pregunta: 

Does anyone know of any popular writing that explains the concept of information poverty?

It seems like a powerful idea and way of speaking, but insofar as I can tell, doesn't seem to really escaped academia. Hooray for library scientists! I am mainly looking for a concise definition...thanks for all your help!

Hannah Miller


Answer posted by:

You are right that the term seems to reside more heavily in academia than popular writing, but I did find an article from The Ghanaian Times, providing a more concise definition:

One major cause of poverty is attributed to ‘information poverty’ —the lack of access to information and knowledge that could improve earnings potential.

The article goes on to discuss information & communications technologies and more on the digital divide.

Here is the proper citation for that source:
Darkwa, Dr Osei K. (2008, June 2). Providing ICTs In Rural Communities In Africa. The Ghanaian Times. Retrieved from

I think Jessamyn West of covers this issue very well from a library point of view, and also links to some articles that might sate your information need.

I like this quote from the Washington Post, "There exists "two Americas," as John Edwards, South Carolina's own son, likes to say: an America for the rich and an America for the poor. But what Edwards and the rest of the presidential field have yet to adequately address are the two Americas online: one that's connected to high-speed Internet -- socializing, paying bills, uploading debate questions to presidential candidates on YouTube -- and one that's not. This is the digital divide, now more than a decade old, a rarely discussed schism in which the unconnected are second-class citizens. In some parts of this so-called Internet ghetto, the screech of a telephone modem dialing up to get online is not uncommon. And with dial-up, YouTube is impossible to use."
Jose Antonio Vargas. "Binary America: Split in Two by A Digital Divide." Monday, July 23, 2007; Page C01.

I also recommend point #3 on Jessamyn's "why the digital divide is a library issue." (totally relevant outside the library context) and "why exactly the digital divide matters" where she writes, "We are a democracy. People who vote need to have access to as much reputable information as possible so they can make these and other choices. The internet is becoming an important 'place' to find this information. Unequal access to the internet creates unequal access to government."