Author Archives: Erin

About Erin

Ever curious, exploring the world through words.


At the risk of being random, and lowering the overall quality of posts on here, I came across some rather interesting stats about internet use/access the other day, which seemed relevant after our recent class discussions about the changing sources of information in the world today.

National Geographic has produced a series of statistics based on dividing the world up by average per capita income level.  They produced four groups: low-income level ($995 USD or less a year), lower middle (up to $3,945), upper middle (up to $12,195), and high (more than $12,196).  There is then a range of statistics about these four sections of the world, but the ones I found particularly interesting were the number of internet users per 100 people: 2.3, 13.7, 29.9, and 68.3 respectively, and the number of personal computers per 100 people: 1.2, 4.3, 11.9, and 60.4.

We’ve been hearing a lot in class about how the internet and electronic resources are the way of the future, perhaps at the expense of traditional materials, and while the world may certainly be moving in that direction, it seems to me these statistics prove we’re not nearly there yet.  Sure, there may be some countries in Europe that are striving for 100% access to broadband internet, but when you mix them in with all the other ‘high income’ countries in the world, it sill only brings per person access to internet of any kind up to 68.3 and computer use up to 60.4?  That’s just not widespread enough for me to think it is justifiable for information professionals such as ourselves to lose sight of the importance of traditional sources of information.  After all, literacy rates world-wide are much higher than internet and computer usage rates (66%, 80%, 93% and 98%) which indicates to me that for a significant part of the population literacy skills are important not for technological applications but rather for access the same traditional materials that have been available for years.  In saying this, however, I must admit that the study also pointed out that “Most of the world accesses the Internet through computers shared in libraries, offices, or Internet cafes.” (my emphasis), so providing access to technology isn’t something information professionals can ignore either.  I suppose the question, as always, is how to get the balance right.  At least for me, a study like this one suggests that it might be more on the side of traditional materials than our western-centered, future-focused classes may suggest.  Or is it possible that I too am guilty of choosing to pay most attention to the statistics that support my opinions?



Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Please find me a home?


Essay hints and tips

Essay IWM15

An analysis of the relationship between information professionals and national information policy


  • Your work should demonstrate an awareness of the responsibilities of information professionals in the shaping of information policies and their relevance to the general welfare of society.
  • The essay should also demonstrate an appreciation of policy debates explored in the module.
  • Good papers will show an understanding of information professionalism, key developments in information policy, issues principles and effects.
  • Relevant examples will engage with critical discussions of technological infrastructure, political and economic agendas of different stakeholders, implications for culture, social organisation or everyday life.

Assessment criteria

  • Clarity of structure, writing and argument.
  • Evidence of wide and critical reading.
  • Level of analysis of concepts, issues and relationships.
  • Appropriate and consistent referencing.
  • Quality of sources used (range of journals, books etc. AND policy documents).


  • Focus on one debate for example; public library policy, use this example to illustrate the relationship between IPs and NIP through more general ideas. Look at CILIP – how have they responded.
  • Examples – Digital Economy Bill passed by labour government, current government revisiting it, what has been happening – this will tell something about what happens in general policy making.
  • What general lessons are learnt through the example? Take the example and use it to explain general relationship between IPs and NIP.
  • Having used the example, explain what message it sends through government policy and social responsibility.
  • Define your terms – IP etc.
  • For example you could use Intellectual property and then bring in other information professionals.
  • Needs to be NATIONAL LEVEL POLICY but doesn’t have to be UK.
  • Need to show understanding of conceptual issues
  • Use the example to exemplify the relationship between policy and information professionals.
  • Way up the arguments
  • Don’t go through the whole history of a policy; try to focus on recent changes or developments.

Essay Style

Introduction – define what you are going to talk about.

Conclusion – in answer to the question… On balance….

Structure – one point per paragraph.


  • Use journals and books to frame the issues.
  • In-depth research – web, journals, newspapers.
  • Acts of parliament
  • Bills of parliament
  • Audit commissions
  • White papers
  • Green papers

Bibliography – range of resources (see above) can include Wikipedia.


General Notes:
Case study = specific example as a way to illustrate how policy making in general works. Preferably start with a particular national policy, or possibly one event or happening and consider the essay as a snapshot or slice of the issue – consider focusing in on one report or response to the issue.  Keep it a definable/limited area to talk about.  For example: Digital Economy Act: the progression, how it began, underlying philosophy, the impact.  Outline the process and what it says about the policy process in general.  Examine the case in depth with details.
Ask who are the main players and how do things happen?
Use traditional materials/resources to frame the question.
Analyse the debate and draw out alternative views.  Provide a balance of views or situations.
Government publications and CILIP studies are good relevant sources.  Also try looking at Acts of Parliament, Bills, Government papers, statesments or reports, and reports by the Information Commission for policies. Policy can come from any nation, does not have to be UK.
News and web are acceptable sources as long as they are part of a range of sources presenting a balance in the resources.
The CILIP/ALA/professional body response could be considered the information professional response, and in this case consider the position of the organization in relation to the governmental policy process.  Consider checking professional blogs for individuals’ responses.
Shona’s Example: Library cuts: the grassroots response may be overtaking the professional response. Local authorities are directly cutting due to a general national direction to cut their budgets.
It is not necessary to PROVE an argument in this essay, rather to present all the views.
Layout how you will approach the topic in the beginning (introduction), for example, how you will use a particular policy to exemplify general issues, and draw out the relevance to these general issues at the end (conclusion).
Meaning of terms is important; use terms accurately.
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Coursework Help


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