The information culture of the Maldives: an exploratory study of information provision and access in a small island developing state
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The thesis explores the relationship between information culture and development to highlight areas in information provision and access that need to be addressed in the small island developing state of the Maldives.The study uses a mixed methods approach. A quantitative survey of a rural community and the urban community collected data on their information use, access, and awareness. Qualitative in-depth interviews with key information stakeholders in the country supplemented this, giving insightful information on how the relevant issues at hand were being addressed by the relevant government departments.The results reveal that people in the urban capital of the Maldives have much better access to information sources than members of the rural community. The take-up of ICTs is promising and implementation of information services remains a high priority. The survey also found more frequent use of “formal” channels of information by the urban community while the rural community predominantly relies on “verbal” or “informal” information exchange. The identified challenges in the provision of information initiatives include the geographical dispersion of the country, lack of information awareness and information literacy, misalignment of information services with the needs, financial and human resources constraints, and the lack of appropriate information policies.The major conclusions emanating from this study are that the difference in the communities in their information outlook is that of level of access, not in the actual usage, and that there is a strong oral culture of information exchange with a casual reading approach.The results of this study will be useful to inform policy making in addressing the disparities between the rural and urban communities and in the general introduction of information services relevant to the Maldives.
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