This *is* a Serious Issue…

1

February 12, 2013 by Lorna Richardson

2010.05.30.divide

During my research, the issue of digital inequalities has been a prominent feature of the data collected. There is a significant number of people actively involved in volunteering for Community Archaeology projects and societies who are unfamiliar with the digital world, and as a result are very suspicious of it. This is a reflection of the wider issues of digital inequalities, and any organisation involved in Public Archaeology needs to be aware that these inequalities will have an impact on the reach and impact of participatory projects. Whilst the digital divide and digital inequalities exist and play a key role in the accumulation of social, cultural, and economic capital, being able to access to a computer connected to the Internet, should not be viewed as a solution to the problem.

Digital inclusion is also an important issue for social exclusion, social justice and equality in society, as digital exclusion and digital inequalities translate into economic disadvantage. The advantages of digital inclusion range from improved health outcomes, the financial advantage of shopping and paying bills online, efficiency savings for public service providers, and improved education and employment outcomes (see the Champion for Digital Inclusion report 2009). It is almost impossible to actively discuss current archaeological activities, news, events, interrogate archaeological data disseminated online, or use these public resources to their full potential if the skills, knowledge and confidence to do so is absent, or at best, patchy.

As professionals working in Public Archaeology, it is disingenuous to expect consistent and high levels of public, voluntary, non-professional involvement in digital Public Archaeology projects, and for multivocal, inclusive projects to spring from inspiration provided by online sources, if a significant section of our target audiences are simply not yet able to participate or interact with us online.

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One thought on “This *is* a Serious Issue…

  1. tim schadla-hall says:

    agreed 100%

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