Introduction.

Based on the present data, it can be determined that there are clear issues present in the sharing of information. Currently, the demarcation of information is evident when one browses the internet. Users of the internet are group mainly to Europe, America or global. The homogenization of users to “global” becomes very problematic, especially when internet cultures are so diverse. This is a prime example of the Internet catering to first world countries. 

The background.

digital divide

The notion of “information geography’’ reveals that the source and authenticity of information is mediated through network’s affordances and constraints that exist as separate entities. By jumping from a specific area as a source, to another area of consumption based on the distribution infrastructure, information becomes a mobile entity. Technology provides the means to drastically increase the depth of information gathering and dissemination. This gives us the ability to produce large-scale data collection structures that expands the consumer’s overall encyclopedism.

Distribution.

In the twenty first century, the internet has been overarchingly influential in how society develops communication, up to the rise of digital vernaculars like the language of memes. This is a testament to the accomplishments and influence that internet technologies has on society. In most countries, digital engagement is dependent on the accessibility of internet to communicate information effectively across various platforms. The number of users worldwide is influenced by affordability as service quality differs from one place to another. For example, Asia alone holds 42% of the world’s internet population. This is more than the combined number of users across Europa and North America. African countries support less users due to economic conditions such as a lower rate of income. There are of course other reasons that influence the level of internet participation around the world. The distribution of collaborative coding hosted by platforms such as GitHub enables publishers to expand and share projects with each other. Content producers are dependent on GitHub services to host websites or track changes across projects.

Is Graham, right?

The distribution of Internet access across countries is uneven. For example, Asia contains 42% of the world’s Internet users. Most countries in Europe have 80% or more Internet penetration. In contrast, “over 20 sub-Saharan African countries have an Internet penetration of less than 10%”. The access to Internet has a direct correlation to the access to information.

affordability of broadband is another big issue. For example, the cost of broadband in Europe may be high, but being able to afford broadband takes a few hours of work, while this might be a whole salary for user in a third world country.

Geographies of participation.

Geography

Domain names are measured as an indication of content produced.  The majority of domain names are registered in Europe or North America. In America, there is approximately 1 domain name for every three Internet users, where Asia has one registered domain name for 40 Internet users. This is interesting as Asia has the largest population of Internet users. Analysing these numbers shows that just because a country has a large Internet population, there may not be a large amount of domain registrations. This shows that Europe and America are the largest producers of digital content. There is a large discrepancy between the intake of information and the production of information.

GitHub.

GitHub

GitHub is a code hosting service that programmers use to publish code. North America and Europe count for a third of all GitHub users. The Middle East, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa are home to fewer than 1% of GitHub users. This shows that the contribution of developing programmes is disproportionality based in North America and Europe. Code development does not take place as much in the Middle East and Africa.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia is the world’s largest and most used encyclopedia. Looking at Wikipedia’s data gives a good indication of how information is shared. Wikipedia allows anyone with an Internet connection to contribute. Once again, North America is one of the largest contributors to Wikipedia. Other large contributors include Germany, the United Kingdom and France. Africa’s contribution to Wikipedia is so low that Hong Kong alone contributes more than the whole of Africa as a continent.

Geographies of representation.

concerning the information available for each country on OpenStreetMap, the United States and Europe had the most information available, with California containing more content on the app than the entire continent of Africa. The content in the Freebase database and Geonames was analysed. It showed that the United States has the largest concentration in Freebase with 45%. Geonames has more content for the United States alone than the whole continent of Asia.

Do information geographies matter?

It can be determined that countries that are impoverished are most affected by the digital divide. “Information is critical in facilitating productivity”. If third world countries cannot get access to information, they cannot be as productive as first world countries. This assists in creating more of an economic divide amongst countries. The bridging of this digital divide will bridge communication gaps between different cultures.

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