The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and COMMIT/ have awarded 135.000 euros to three new Team Science projects in the Digital Society Research Agenda of the VSNU. Among the granted projects is ‘Digital literacy in the public library’, a digital inclusion programme that involves two BOLD Cities scholars, who will co-operate not only with other academics, but also with community members and other stakeholders.
Being able to deal with ICT has become a prerequisite for citizens to participate in today’s digital society. Governments increasingly expect people to communicate online. However, an estimated 2.5 million of Dutch citizens lack digital literacy. To address this challenge, the National Library of the Netherlands and eight governmental organizations (“Manifestgroep”) have initiated the “Digital Inclusion, support for vulnerable target groups” program. In this project, researchers will create a list of recommendations that offers concrete guidelines for the library staff and they will create a digital concept map of the skills, knowledge and competences that digital illiterates perceive as most urgent and helpful within their everyday life.
“We are excited to contribute to a project that focuses on citizen participation in the digital society – specifically because this research does not primarily focus on individual data literacy, but on the role of digital and civic intermediaries,” says Liesbet van Zoonen, academic director of the Centre for BOLD Cities. “As this is a direction for research that our Centre is currently exploring, it ties in neatly with our own agenda.” Van Zoonen will participate in this project alongside BOLD Cities and Vital Cities & Citizens researcher Jiska Engelbert (Erasmus University). Due to current coronavirus measures, the starting date of the project has yet to be determined.