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2009 - Inequalities of Digital Skills and How to Overcome Them (chapter in edited volume)

Inequalities of Digital Skills and How to Overcome Them

Van Dijk, J. & Van Deursen, A. (2009). Inequalities of Digital Skills and How to Overcome Them. In Handbook of Research on Overcoming Digital Divides: Constructing an Equitable and Competitive Information Society. E. Ferro, Y. K. Dwivedi, R. Gil-Garcia & M. D. Williams (eds). IGI Global, Hershey

This chapter focuses on the differential possession of digital skills. Here, four types of Internet skills are distinguished: operational, formal, information, and strategic skills. These types are measured in a number of experimental performance tests among a cross-section of the Dutch population. The tests focus on the use of online government information. The main result of the experimental test is that the average Dutch population performs fairly well in operational and formal Internet skills but much worse in information and strategic skills. However, there are significant differences between people with different age and educational background; no gender differences have been observed. The final sections of this chapter deal with ways to overcome these differences of skill. Two main strategies are discussed: improving the information provision of government Web sites and improving the digital skills of citizens or users by all kinds of educational means.


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