Eradicating information poverty : an agenda for research

Marcella, Rita and Chowdhury, Gobinda (2020) Eradicating information poverty : an agenda for research. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 52 (2). pp. 366-381. ISSN 0961-0006 (

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Information poverty remains a critical issue for societies today. The literature of information poverty is reviewed tracking its origins in library and information science and the various approaches that have been taken to tackling information poverty, including international development programmes such as the Global Libraries Initiative, working response to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the importance of access to health information and so on. The paper sets out themes that emerged in a roundtable discussion of library and information science academics in 2017. Discussion centred on: definitions of information poverty which reflect the wide variety of ways in which it is possible to be information poor; literacy and information literacy; the ways in which information can reduce poverty and disadvantage; library and information science initiatives to tackle information poverty; and information poverty in the context of social justice. The group agreed that there was a major piece of work to be done in reframing the library and information science discipline in terms of information poverty. Four key dimensions of information poverty for collaborative future research are: (1) information as an agent to eradicate poverty; (2) the causal factors resulting in information poverty; (3) creation and production activities to combat information poverty; and (4) better understanding of areas of extreme disadvantage and aspects of information need. A list of the key causal factors in creating information poverty which came out of the discussion is presented. Further research initiatives are underway for setting up a partnership/consortium that would lay the foundations for a multidisciplinary network on information poverty, sharing expertise internationally.