Assessing the digital divide in a Jordanian academic library
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The research reported attempts to assess the extent and nature of the digital divide as it applies in a developing Arab country. The method used is an innovative form of document availability test developed to measure the extent of the digital divide between a service offered by a university library in a developed (western) tertiary education system (Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia), and one offered by a university library in a developing Arab country (Yarmouk University, Jordan). The method tests differences in capacity to deliver content according to format (digital or print), and tests for differences in digital access to both 'international' and 'local' content experienced by users of the two libraries. The findings indicate the existence of a digital divide, but also suggest that the availability of digital content has helped overcome the substantial scholarly information divide. The research has implications for academic libraries in developing Arab countries as they attempt to redress the effects of the digital divide. The research uses an innovative methodology for measuring the digital divide, and represents the first attempt to quantify the effects of the digital divide as it impacts upon the users of an academic library in a developing Arab country.
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