Open Access and Open Data for the Information and Knowledge Economy

The Interplay between Open Access and Public Access

Posted by infokelele on December 19, 2012

A part of the ongoing justification for Open access is that Open Access content available online through Public Access channels have a multiplier effect on development hence the need to expand Open Access at the same time as Public Access to information.

Below are findings on two recent studies on this claim.

A. Public access, private mobile: The interplay of shared access and the mobile Internet for Teenagers in Cape Town

Discussion is structured around five claims:

1. Public access and private mobiles offer different affordances, and teenage users have developed complex, fine-grained practices which help them to negotiate the respective strengths and weaknesses of the affordances.

2. The public access venue provides non-substitutable impact to resource-constrained users, even those with “the Internet in their pocket.”

3. Public access supports the development of digital literacies associated with hyperlinked media and large-format documents, while mobile access supports everyday social literacies and messaging.

4. Teens can use a combination of mobile and public access Internet resources to participate in networked media production and grassroots economic mobilization.

5. Public access venue operators can improve venue rules and skills to encourage the complementary use of the mobile Internet.

Full research report

Recommended Citation – Walton, M., Donner, J., 2012. Public access, private mobile: The interplay of shared access and the mobile Internet for teenagers in Cape Town. Global Impact Study Research Report Series. Cape Town, South Africa: University of Cape Town.

B – Public access and development: The impact of public access venues and the benefits of libraries


Public access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) can play an important role in development. Communities benefit when people can access information and communicate with experts and people in their social networks to learn about health, jobs, education, leisure activities, or whatever inspires them. When access to ICTs is public and available to everyone in the community, such as in public libraries, telecenters, and cybercafés, it can be an effective tool for those that need it most. The findings in the brief are evident at all venues in the public access landscape, including libraries. However, in some instances, libraries may offer users unique benefits.

Clark, M., Sey, A., & Sullivan, J. (2012). Public access and development: The impact of public access venues and the benefits of libraries. Seattle: Technology & Social Change Group, University of Washington Information School.

About the Study

The Global Impact Study of Public Access to Information & Communication Technologies is a five-year project (2007-2012) to generate evidence about the scale, character, and impacts of public access to information and communication technologies. Looking at libraries, telecenters, and cybercafes, the study investigates impact in a number of areas, including communication and leisure, culture and language, education, employment and income, governance, and health. The research is supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Learn more at


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