Information Marginalization, Information Inequity, and Information Poverty

Amelia N. Gibson and John D. Martin III, Re-Situating Information Poverty: Information Marginalization and Parents of Individuals With Disabilities, JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 70(5):476–487, 2019, DOI: 10.1002/asi.24128

I didn’t realize how strong my own biases were in thinking about this topic. Perhaps some of this comes from, as the authors point out, the fact that, in the past, studies like this sought to explore “information poor” people. These types of studies focus on the behavior of marginalized people rather than the institutional standards and practices that not only cause information poverty among certain demographics, but also seem to accept and encourage it.

Reader, my eyes have been opened…

According to the authors, the preferred focus on these types of studies should be “information marginalization,” which they define as “systematic, interactive socio-technical processes that can push and hold certain groups of people at social ‘margins,’ where their needs are persistently ignored or overlooked.” People who are information marginalized suffer from systemic causes of information poverty, which primarily result from a lack of resources, both technical and educational, that many people take for granted.

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