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Evaluating a digital divide index in a regional context

Beynon-Davies, Paul ORCID: and Hill, Rebecca 2007. Evaluating a digital divide index in a regional context. Journal of Systems and Information Technology 9 (1) , pp. 46-59. 10.1108/13287260710817683

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Purpose – The purpose of this research is to show that the provision of an increasing range of remote, electronic access channels by private and public sector bodies is predicated on a critical mass of citizenry utilising such access channels. However, a major concern is that the increasing use of ICT for private and public sector transactions is seen as potentially creating a “digital divide” between those with access to technology and those who do not. This paper adapts an index of the digital divide documented in previous work and utilises this instrument to analyse the depth and breadth of this phenomenon in a UK region – Wales. Design/methodology/approach – The paper discusses the construction of a “digital divide index” (DDIX) for Wales based upon the previous established work of Husing and Selhofer. The DDIX is applied to data collected as part of a major European-wide project – UNDERSTAND. Findings – The DDIX situates four citizen segments in terms of internet access and usage – gender, age, education and income. There are no significant digital divides evident within the Welsh region in terms of gender and income. However, there are significant digital divides in terms of age and education. Research limitations/implications – The DDIX as formulated considers a limited range of possible dimensions, both in terms of citizen groups and internet access and usage. Other possible dimensions for consideration are discussed in the paper. Practical implications – Our application of a DDIX has been useful in highlighting the multi-faceted nature of this phenomenon within a regional context. Further research is required both to refine such an important information society metric and to apply it in further domains of analysis. Originality/value – The paper will be of interest both to academic researchers and policy-makers interested in understanding and measuring the digital divide.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Communication technologies; Social alienation; Wales
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 1328-7265
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 10:15

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