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1Bishop, A.P. ; Shoemaker, S. ; Tidline, T.J. ; Saleta, P.: Information exchange networks in low-income neighborhoods : implications for community networking.
In: Knowledge: creation, organization and use. Proceedings of the 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science, 31.10.-4.11.1999. Ed.: L. Woods. Medford, NJ : Information Today, 1999. S.443-449.
(Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science; vol.36)
Abstract: The research reported here was conducted throughout 1998 under the auspices of the Community Networking Initiative (CNI), which seeks to increase participation of low-income, primarily African American, residents in a local community computer network. CNI project aims include analysis of information needs and exchange at the local level, delivery of computers and training to teens and adults, provision of technical assistance to community-based organizations, and redesign of Prairienet, the local community computer network, to make it a better tool for bridging the digital divide between low- and higher-income users. To analyze community information needs and exchange patterns--along with computing practices--data were gathered via in-depth household interviews, focus groups, written questionnaires, and a follow-up telephone interview that surveyed adult trainees about their use of equipment six months after they had completed their CNI training and received a computer for their household. In this paper, we focus on reporting and discussing results related to information exchange practices. We found that word-of-mouth exchanges with people in one's close social circle and contacts with community organizations appear to be the most important mechanisms for accessing and exchanging information about community activities and resources. Informal social networks also figured prominently in the exchange of information and support related to the CNI project itself. Based on our study results, the CNI project is seeking ways to introduce training and support programs that capitalize on existing social networks and are contextualized to community information needs and interests