Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I’m inclined to agree with Chris regarding access to the internet vs. location of that access. You’d be surprised at how much of the web you don’t use when you’re at say, a computer lab. So I’ve got to wonder, how can we define access? The report, clearly, takes a wet foot/dry foot approach. That is, any access is total access. But obviously, as Jeanette pointed out, all access is not created equal (i.e. 508 compliance). So perhaps a more thorough approach is needed.

Also, the state-based approach is interesting to me. Alaska, Minnesota, and New Hampshire boast usage numbers far above the national average. Now, it’s tempting to assign simple factors to these numbers, like “Of course Alaska has more internet usage, they’re so far away, they’ve gotta use the web.” But it’s probably not that simple (see Hawaii). I’d be interested to see the socio-economic numbers behind these states, too. So my question is, how useful are these state breakdowns, when they aren’t correlated with other numbers (see box 2-1) ?

Finally, on a more quizzical note, in Table 2-1 when indexing computer use vs. “Household Type in Which the User Lives,” they exclude dormitories. Why? For me, at least, after leaving the dorms, my computer/internet use dropped exponentially. Why would a report highlighting how online a nation we are chose to ignore these multi-user areas?

Paul Medenwaldt

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