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Bridging the digital divide: The role of librarians and information professionals in the third millennium

Seyed Vahid Aqili (Department of Communication, Islamic Azad University, Sciences and Research Campus, Tehran, Iran)
Alireza Isfandyari Moghaddam (Department of Library and Information Studies, Islamic Azad University, Hamedan Branch, Iran)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 11 April 2008

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show how the digital divide has become a common metaphor originating from now nearly obsolete phrases such as “information have and have nots” and “information rich and information poor”. The article aims to focus on several dimensions of the digital divide that pertain to service as well as the responsibilities of libraries.

Design/methodology/approach

This article places emphasis on the role of librarians and information professionals in bridging the digital divide by indicating some aspects related to it as evidenced in the literature including its definition, aspects, factors affecting, and internet users.

Findings

Libraries are treated as one of the major social tools which can solve the information divide rooted in the digital divide and contribute to the realization of democratic society.

Research limitations/implications

This article revolves around the authors' points of view. So, further studies, especially comparative research between developed and developing countries which vary in terms of digital divide rate, can help to understand the real role librarians and information professionals play.

Practical implications

Rethinking the digital divide, librarians must redesign and redefine their service menu for their customers through thinking functionally. They also need to review the various IT devices and information services available and examine which can be employed to present a more effective library service. In addition, policy‐makers should consider the vital role that librarians can play in the realization of knowledge‐based society and sustainable development.

Originality/value

This paper provides a theoretical basis for librarians to be more active and sedulous and policy‐makers to be vigilant and place much value for information sector and its professionals, particularly librarians working in various libraries.

Keywords

Citation

Vahid Aqili, S. and Isfandyari Moghaddam, A. (2008), "Bridging the digital divide: The role of librarians and information professionals in the third millennium", The Electronic Library, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 226-237. https://doi.org/10.1108/02640470810864118

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited