Page 40

3.2.2 ICT and information skills

In addition to text and language skills, the information and ICT aspects of literacy are also becoming increasingly important. An increasing number of companies and government agencies are starting to focus on digital and information skills rather than physical skills,38 and the enormous growth in the amount of digital information produced worldwide makes it more important to be able to deal with such information. Acquiring these skills involves more than just learning basic computing skills; more specific skills such as searching, selecting and evaluating information, as well as strategic skills relating to the use of digital media for personal and social development, are also very important.39 Despite the increase in the importance of information skills, different studies show that many people do not yet have the skills required. Older people often lack medium-related, or basic computing skills, and children and teenagers often lack the more information-specific skills.40 Even though they are growing up in a digital age, young people are less skilled in their use of the Internet than is often thought. Research shows that this group – although it would not think so itself – often has difficulty in defining a problem and processing information. There is a lack of patience, little reflection, an inability to use different search strategies and a tendency to click on everything they see and to follow just one search path.41 With regards to the extent to which people are able to maintain the required information skills, it is possible that a new digital divide has formed: an almost unbridgeable gap in the ability to work with computers and the Internet, between and within different user groups. This gap used to be determined by access to Internet, related to the socio-economic status (SES) of families, in the sense that families with a low SES were generally less likely to have a home Internet connection.42 However, almost all Dutch households now have a computer with Internet access and more and more people have access to the web using mobile devices.43 The new digital divide is most likely to be related to education level, and to differences in strategic and tactical skills rather than differences in access. The Internet provides fantastic economic and social opportunities, and it is mainly highly-educated people who are able to benefit most from this to achieve their objectives and make the most of their opportunities, for example in their own careers. Less highly-educated people are generally less able to use the Internet in this way, and therefore less capable of improving their position.44 Even in the future, there will still be some groups that are disadvantaged. People who are computer illiterate, have special needs or low literacy skills will find it difficult to make use of digital services. Extra help must be made available for people who are unable to make use of services independently, either digitally or analogue.45

Profile for Library of the future

Library of the future by SIOB  

Library of the future by SIOB  

Profile for siob