Tuesday, August 22, 2006

For when you can't have "Word"

Stephen Abrams, of Stephen's Lighthouse, has a small post on "Tools for the Digital Divide." It is basically pointing to online office tools like Writely, which allow a user to type documents, create a calendar online, spreadsheets, etc. Mr. Abrams points out to the issue with libraries that may not allow or provide productivity software. Tools like these would be an alternative as well as an option for people who cannot afford the big price in some proprietary products. He does bring up a point that I think about at times:

"I know of some libraries that don't offer word processing, printing, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. (I even saw one that had no printing but did have MS Word. Users were told to e-mail the document to yourself to print it at home. Hmmmm. I have no PC and use the library's technology but I have to print at home...)."

Actually, my better half often asks this question, "what about the people who lack a computer or an Internet connection (or both) at home?" The idea behind Mr. Abrams's post is that the tools he links to, as well as many others online, can be an option for libraries with limited resources, not to mention for people on the go since you can work on something, and then open it anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. Of course, we still have some ways to go before fully briding the digital divide, but maybe tools like this can be a small start.

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