Public libraries play an important part in the development of a community. Today, they are seen as more than store houses of books. Today’s library is responsible for the dissemination of online and offline information. Public access computers are becoming increasingly popular as all demographics increasingly understand the need for Internet access. Using a series of surveys conducted in 12 libraries across the state of Michigan, the current study is a step towards understanding why the computing facility is widely used and what are the motivations behind its use. In addition, barriers and other factors that hinder usage are also discussed. The findings from this study will help policy makers and library administrators evaluate the current allocation of scarce resources, help them promote greater use of the library’s resources, and guide their future course of action. The study is conducted as part of a federally funded public computing center grant.
This study examines the relationships between information and communication technologies (ICT) usage, the benefits a company derives from membership in a rural business cluster, and the success of rural companies. Analysis of 333 rural businesses located in northern lower Michigan showed a strong relationship between (a) ICT adoption and benefits derived from the membership in business clusters, (b) ICT adoption and self-reported business success, and (c) benefits derived from business clusters and business success. Although analysis indicates that these relationships may be industry specific, results suggest that ICT adoption by rural enterprises may have advantages for the region’s social capital and
business success and may help reduce the digital divide experienced
in rural communities.
As the fastest diffusing ICT in history, the mobile has attracted substantial scholarly interest. However, the historic penetration rate of the mobile phone in the developing world seems discordant with the paucity of evidence linking mobiles to productivity gains in microenterprises. In this study, we address the dilemma: we are seeing mobile phones everywhere but in the productivity statistics. We believe that there is a disconnect between mobile phone penetration rates and productivity statistics because businesses take time to learn how to exploit the technology for productivity gains. Findings from our study indicate there is latency between the time of mobile phone adoption and the time when this adoption starts to generate economic value. We estimated that it would take approximately three years for the benefits of mobile phone use in business processes to surface in the economic statistics. Practitioners and researchers should take this finding into consideration especially in the planning phase of ICT4D projects.
Efforts to promote sustainable broadband Internet adoption urge new attention to the classic diffusion of innovations paradigm. For this study, innovation attributes were reconceptualized following Social Cognitive Theory (SCT). In a sample of inner-city residents, the model accounted for 36% of the variance in intentions to adopt broadband technology and services, primarily from the SCT variables of expected outcomes and self-efficacy. Prior habitual use of the Internet was also a predictor. Price sensitivity was unrelated to adoption. Among demographic variables, only age had a significant (negative) relationship to broadband adoption after accounting for the SCT variables. Recommendations for the design and monitoring of sustainable broadband adoption interventions are made based on these findings.
In recent years, an increasing amount of attention has been placed on improving access to Information and Communication Technology in the United States. With the rapidity at which broadband construction projects are dotting America, it is important to understand the social impacts of these infrastructural projects. One particularly salient issue is whether access to the Internet would decrease the involvement of youth in their home communities since youth and issues of talent retention are crucial to the long-term viability of rural communities. However, findings on this topic have been a mixed bag with some studies suggesting that the use of online social networking decreases community involvement while others have found that it may maintain or even increase community involvement. This study set out to clarify the conflicting findings and in the process, it has found support for both the displacement effect as well as an augmentation effect. The dual processes suggest that merely examining time spent on social networking sites does not provide a complete picture of the effects of Internet use on community involvement. The nature of the interactions and the participants in the online social networking also play an important role. For rural community leaders working towards the
long-term viability of their communities, the findings suggest that efforts should be directed towards mitigating the displacement effects of Internet use while harnessing popular Internet applications such as social networking sites to augment the involvement that youth have in their home communities.
This article is presented as a response to the increasing need for rigorous impact assessment in ICT4D. The research reported here empirically examines whether ICTs enable microenterprise growth, to what degree, and under what conditions. We created two theoretical models that predict relationships between selected antecedents of ICT access, ICT use, and business growth. Using data collected through a multistage probability survey of women microentrepreneurs in Mumbai, India, we tested the models by structural equation modeling (SEM). Both models predicted a statistically significant, but limited causal relationship between access to ICTs (as the independent variable) and business growth (as the dependent variable). The theoretical model and the analytical techniques suggest that future research should pay greater attention to the specific factors that mediate the impact of ICTs on the growth of very small businesses.
This paper investigates the impact of information and communication technologies, especially landline and mobile phones, computers, and Internet cafés in facilitating economic growth in the developing world. Data on access to ICTs, as well as business-relevant behaviors and attitudes, was collected by a multi-stage probability sample of women microentrepreneurs in Mumbai, India. Main findings include evidence that in urban microenterprises owned by women, business growth is a function of ICT access and is related to motivation to use ICTs for business purposes; and that the more positive a woman microentrepreneur feels about her status and power because of her business, the more she will be motivated to use ICTs in support of her business. Implications for the study of digital divides and strategies for studies of communication and technology more generally are considered.