“Lose Your Time in a Useful Way”: Digital Inclusion of the Elderly at a Pensioners’ Club in Romania

“Lose Your Time in a Useful Way”: Digital Inclusion of the Elderly at a Pensioners’ Club in Romania

James M. Nyce (Ball State University, USA), Gail E. Bader (Ball State University, USA) and Cheryl Klimaszewski (Bryn Mawr College, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4353-6.ch012


This chapter looks at the experiences older adults have using computers and the Internet in the context of one e-inclusion effort in Romania. Biblionet – Global Libraries Romania is a project that provides computers to public libraries throughout that country. One of Biblionet’s first public access computer centers located outside of a public library opened at a pensioners’ club in the city of Zalau. Local librarians who have taken Biblionet-sponsored “train the trainer” courses have adapted instructional methods for older users. Ethnographic research at the pensioners’ club has uncovered a variety of experiences around new technology, especially in how computer use is both informed by and extended kin or family work. The project is discussed in the context of NGO-led development initiatives to illustrate the importance of including the wider ICT development landscape (and methods) when studying users, ICTs, and information use.
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Older adults have consistently found themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide (McMurtrey, McGaughey, Downey, & Zeltmann, 2010; Morris, Goodman, & Brading, 2007; Wicks, 2003) For this reason, they are the target of many public policy e-inclusion efforts (Gilhooly, Gilhooly, & Jones, 2008; McClean, 2011). They are also the subject of numerous studies on ICT use (and non-use) across disciplines (Dickinson & Gregor, 2006; McMurtrey et al., 2010; Tobias, 1987; Wagner, Hassanein, & Head, 2010). This section will provide a brief introduction to some of the e-inclusion and related policy efforts targeting older users. It will also give a general picture of the trends in and problems with the literature on this user group. It will conclude by discussing the specific problems and issues facing Romania both in terms of older users and e-inclusion policy.

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