International Journal of Libraries and Information Studies
Editor-in-Chief: Albright, Kendra S. / Bothma, Theo J.D.
IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.553
CiteScore 2018: 0.71
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.314
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.626
Constructing the Pillars of a Knowledge Society: The Challenge of Providing Access to ICTs in Rural Mongolia
Globalization has resulted in a shift away from the economics of things towards the economics of information, where access to ICTs has reduced the disadvantages of distance and location. Advanced industrialized countries have been at the forefront of this shift and have been able to influence governments to institute policies that have made globalization possible. At the same time, lower income countries have been at a disadvantage in adapting to this new paradigm. Before poor countries can fully benefit from the positive effects of access to ICTs they must first develop a knowledge society. For a society to become a knowledge society and to be part of the economics of information, it must meet four interrelated criteria which we refer to as the four pillars of the knowledge society. These include: ICT and connectivity, usable content, infrastructure and deliverability, and human intellectual capability. In this paper we examine how one developing country, Mongolia, is approaching the challenge of developing a knowledge society. We concentrate on its efforts to construct one of the pillars – ICT and connectivity. The paper looks specifically at the challenges in providing access to ICTs in the vast rural areas of Mongolia where more than half the population still follows a nomadic herding lifestyle. We conclude that despite a positive policy environment for developing ICTs and limited success in extending Internet connectivity into the rural towns, the prospect of integrating these services into the social and business practices of rural communities remains a long way off. Future research needs to go beyond economic and technological factors and focus on the social and cultural implications of incorporating ICTs into traditional societies.
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