In a networked world, why is the geography of knowledge still uneven?

In the past the north controlled much of the world’s knowledge through printed media and the south tended to lose out because of the distance and expense of transferring information. The internet has the potential to change all that and access to the internet is now widespread. “Theoretically, parts of the world traditionally left out of flows and representations of knowledge can quite literally be put back on the map.”

However access is not the same as making use of the the opportunities offered. The ‘south’ is still under-represented on say, Flickr or Google’s databases, which “contain  more indexed user-generated  content about the Tokyo metropolitan region than the entire continent of Africa … In other words there are massive inequalities that cannot simply be explained by uneven internet penetration rates. A range of others physical, social, political and economic barriers reinforce the digital divide, amplifying the informational power of the already powerful and visible.”

For the full blog by Mark Graham see:

Jean Shaw, Phi

To friends and colleagues in the ‘south’: It would be interesting to know what you find to be the most difficult barriers to your use of internet facilities.

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About jgreigshaw

I work with Partnerships in Health Information which promotes partnership between libraries in Africa and the UK with an emphasis in African leadership. I have visited Kenya, Mali, Uganda and Zambia though Phi has contacts in many more African countries.
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