Digital Divide and Social Inclusion (II): Web 2.0 Applications and Access to ICTs in Information Systems

Notes from the first II Conferencia Internacional Brecha Digital e Inclusión Social (II International Conference on the Digital Divide and Social Inclusion held at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid will be hosting at their campus in Leganés (Spain) on October 28th to 30th, 2009.

Parallel session: Web 2.0 Applications and Access to ICTs in Information Systems
Moderator: Belén Pérez Lorenzo, Consultant and Professor de la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Development and application of a blog to publish content on the net and communicate for senior users
Fausto Sainz de Salces; Guillermina Franco Álvarez; Antonio Borondo Cobo

Goal: test, from a human-computer interaction (HCI) point of view, how such a blog should be designed and built so to match specific characteristics of senior users. The end goals being: foster communication amongst elder people, train digital competences, fight the digital divide.

Aspects to improve:

  • Colors need to be adapted to the user. Not only to their physical needs, but also to their attitudes and feelings.
  • Some concepts with which most users are familiar with, have to be explained to new users or to other kinds of users

Towards the library 2.0: the project of the UC3M library.
Francisco López Hernández

How to turn a passive (library) user into an active one.


Presence in Social Networking Sites

  • Profile in Facebook: aim is to adapt content to the specific user, avoiding replication of content between different sites
  • Profile in Tuenti, a Spanish social networking site, very popular amongst teens
  • Profile in Twitter
  • Forum: reading club
  • Campus in Second Life

The Library has to be present in the spaces of the students, but without interfering in their lives.

Access and usage of ICTs in enterprises in Costa Rica
Alejandro Rodríguez Solís

Enterprises see ICTs as ways to support training and improve decision-taking. But most of SMEs entrepreneurs are digitally illiterate and are not even aware of the potential benefits of ICTs (not to mention using them).

Goal of research: find out reasons of ICT adoption. Based on a survey to SMEs in Costa Rica, following the guidelines of the OSILAC.

In general, most enterprises have computers, access to Internet and LAN, though the penetration decreases as the size of the enterprise does. Intranets, extranets, wifi access, use of e-commerce (to sell and buy) and other issues are less and less present in enterprises in Costa Rica.

Nevertheless, there is a major acknowledgement that ICTs have eased communication with customers and providers and have had a positive impact on sales or on cutting costs down.


  • digital divide between big enterprises and SMEs;
  • in general, all enterprises are late adopters of technology in many issues;
  • urgent need for research on the impact of ICTs on the enterprise so to raise awareness.

Economic and political factors of the digital divide
Sonia Sánchez-Cuadrado; Jorge
Morato Lara; José Antonio Moreiro González; Vicente Palacios Madrid

We tend to think that the basis of the digital divide is economic, a matter of income. But there are many initiatives to bridge the digital divide: search engines, free software, automatic translators, the Wikipedia itself, open access to educational resources (e.g. OpenCourseWare), etc.

Of course, it is true that wealth and education are determinant for Internet access. But there also exists a cultural divide that comes from a lack of a certain level of education, not speaking English, etc.

There are, luckily, plenty of international initiatives to foster content creation and content sharing. Notwithstanding, other initiatives are just going the opposite way: micro-payments to access digital content, illegal downloading of copyrighted content (not judging whether is it a good or a bad thing to do, but certainly contributing to the digital divide), censorship or self-censorship, manipulation of the public opinion, spam, credibility of websites, certain criteria to award grants, etc.

Conclusions: a digital divide due to socioeconomic and cultural reasons; nationalist and business policies that negatively affect the digital divide.

Solutions: multinational initiatives and bring credibility to the content that resides on the Web.

Difusión y reproducción digital de obras de arte por medio de bibliotecas virtuales y
consecuencias de una revolución cultural
Ilia Galán

Factum Arte clones works of art, hard (if able) to distinguish from the original piece. In a sense, what happened with digital products could be happening in real/analogue products, putting into struggle e.g. museums. Dilemma: enable the diffusion of culture through perfect copies, or caring about the originals and their holders? Are we universalizing culture or trivializing it?

The good thing about digitizing the original is that (a) it can be reproduced with highest quality (b) it can be stored at lowest cost by just keeping the digital copy (c) it can be recovered from a backup in case of destruction of the original.

On the other hand, the drawback is that these technologies would be expensive and somehow help to increase the digital divide.

Los sistemas de gestión de contenidos como generadores de sinergias y redes de
colaboración: relato de dos experiencias peruanas
Luis Miguel Arias Martínez;
Carlos Vílchez Román

Sociologia7’s Blog colaborativo de la Sociología Faustiniana, a blog about Sociology made by the students.

He, notwithstanding, prefers Drupal to WordPress.

Libraries 2.0: tools to bridge the digital divide
Belén Pérez Lorenzo; Ana
Mª Morales García; Mª Teresa Monje Jiménez; Fátima García López

[Pérez introduces the concept of the web 2.0]

Why web 2.0 applications can bridge the digital divide? How are they being used by libraries?

Free; low cost to participate; easy to manage; the web as the platform; accessible through any computer connected to the Internet; independent from proprietary software; always up-to-date (perpetual beta).

Web 2.0 apps are collaborative and participative; new models of usage; free and open knowledge; used by digital natives.

Example: the Biblioteca Públcia de San Miguel de Salinas.

Farkas, M. (2007) Social software in libraries: building collaboration, communication and community online. Medford, N.J: Information Today

More information


II International Conference on the Digital Divide and Social Inclusion (2009)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2009) “Digital Divide and Social Inclusion (II): Web 2.0 Applications and Access to ICTs in Information Systems” In ICTlogy, #73, October 2009. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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