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Eradicating information poverty: an agenda for research.

Marcella, Rita; Chowdhury, Gobinda


Gobinda Chowdhury


Information poverty remains a critical issue for societies today. The literature of information poverty is reviewed tracking its origins in library and information science in the 1970s and the various approaches that have been taken to tackling information poverty, including international development programmes such as the Global Libraries initiative, work in response to the U.N.'s sustainable development goals, the importance of access to health information and so on. The paper sets out themes that emerged in a roundtable discussion amongst 11 LIS academics and practitioners in 2017. Discussion centred on: definitions of information poverty which reflect the wide variety of ways in which it is possible to be information poor; literacy and information literacy; the ways in which information can reduce poverty and disadvantage; LIS initiatives to tackle information poverty; and information poverty in the context of social justice. The group agreed that there was a major piece of work to be done in reframing the LIS discipline in terms of information poverty. Four key dimensions of information poverty for collaborative future research are identified which are: (i) information as an agent to eradicate poverty; (ii) the causal factors resulting in information poverty; (iii) creation and production activities to combat information poverty; and (iv) better understanding of areas of extreme disadvantage and aspects of information need. A list of the key causal factors in creating information poverty which came out of the discussion is presented. Further research initiatives are underway for setting up a partnership/consortium that would lay the foundations for a multidisciplinary network on information poverty, sharing expertise internationally.


MARCELLA, R. and CHOWDHURY, G. 2020. Eradicating information poverty: an agenda for research. Journal of librarianship and information science [online], 52(2), pages 366-381. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 10, 2018
Online Publication Date Oct 14, 2018
Publication Date Jun 1, 2020
Deposit Date Sep 14, 2018
Publicly Available Date Sep 14, 2018
Journal Journal of librarianship and information science
Print ISSN 0961-0006
Electronic ISSN 1741-6477
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 52
Issue 2
Pages 366-381
Keywords Information poverty; Social justice; Information rich; Digital divide; Disadvantage; Information deficit; Poor; Information literacy; Sustainable development goals
Public URL


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