Sunday, November 22, 2009

We Want YOU To Care About National Information Policy

"What is National Information Policy and why should I care?" . . . I am sure some of you are asking yourselves. This may or not be a question that seems to spark debate over waffles and coffee, maybe it doesn't seem to be a hot button issue . . . but it is (don't let anyone fool you). National Information policies are all around us; behind every internet search we make, the books/ information we have access to, and the very way that we think about the world.

The biggest thing that comes to mind when I think about "National Information Policy" is: ACCESSIBILTY. This issue can (and does) include issues like net neutrality, e-democracy, accessibility of information through the internet,local libraries etc., as well as censorship and intellectual poverty. So, why is there an information hierarchy and what can we do as librarians to put an end to the reign of the wealthy? (I know, I know . . . "putting an end to the reign of the wealthy" is not in our job descriptions as librarians). Knowledge is power, and there are many that have better accessibility to different types of information based on social status. I can attest to this personally, as I spent 6 years of my secondary education in private schools and the other six years in Detroit Public Schools. When I was enrolled in seventh grade at a Detroit Public School, I spent two years reviewing things that I had learned in fifth grade in private schools. The poor suffer from not only an economic poverty but from an intellectual poverty as well. Clearly, there are instances when money can buy knowledge (and greater accessibility) . . .
So as librarians, how do we promote democracy? I think the first thing to do is to take a careful look at our information policies, and information accessibility. Also, the way that we can impact our local Detroit community is to attempt to put an end to the anti-intellectual movement that is rising from the ghettos. And this is no small task my friends . . . no small task indeed . . .

So what is National Information Policy anyway?

Well folks,here is a little tidbit from UNESCO:
"National Information Policies, including considerations of informatics and telematics, are the key to coping with the challenges of the Information Society. There has to be a complete re-examination of traditional information policies in the virtual, interactive, highly volatile reality of cyberspace, particularly in the framework of legal and ethical issues. Many developing countries are now struggling to "catch-up" with the industrialised."

I don't know if that cleared anything up for you . . . but then concepts like national information policy are flexible and transitive . . . and so the dialogue continues. . . .

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