Geographies of World’s Knowledge

Great read in today’s Guardian on Geographies of World’s Knowledge 2011 from the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University. In the report there is good use of images to show the global reach and equity of information. and

 Interesting aspects include the gender balance of adult literacy in some selected countries, with the obvious knock-on effects on power, control, employment, democratic and digital participation; internet penetration and printed newspaper range/availability. Proficiency in the English language is a key currency for access to academic knowledge with 86% of academic journals published in English. Publishers dominant in the marketplace are Elsevier, Springer, Wiley and Taylor & Francis. Again English speaking and Europe/North America dominate the digitised and geo-tagged Flickr photos – what is the long-term impact on global memory where there are few clusters of images over time?

 Wikipedia – over 100 million hours of input but 84% is Europe/North America-dominant and the gaps in world knowledge widen as you roll back the centuries. User-generated content on Google is also dominated by North America and Canada and Europe, but Asia and Latin America are beginning to come through.

 The report only scratches the surface about barriers to participation but there’s plenty to reflect on.

Rhona Arthur

Assistant Director