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Gary Marsden <[log in to unmask]>
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Gary Marsden <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 5 Aug 2008 08:54:45 +0200
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Call for Papers: Personal and Ubiquitous Computing Special Issue:

Bridging the Digital Divide: Experiences and Perspectives


Lucia Terrenghi, Vodafone GROUP Services R&D, Germany

Gary Marsden, University of Cape Town, South Africa


For a portion of the global population, communication capabilities  
have reached the status of a commodity. Some of us can afford a  
complex portfolio of communication genres, such as voice over mobile  
networks, voice over IP, e-mails, sms, mms, instant messaging…The list  
is long and diverse, and we, as members of the industrialized society,  
have developed a vocabulary and a semantics of communication genres.  
These guides our use of one or another particular genre according to  
the context, to our recipient, to our personal lifestyles and  
objectives for self-expression and communication. One could actually  
say that we have developed a culture of communication around the media  
we can dispose of. Furthermore, our lives and economy in  
industrialized societies heavily rely on communication technologies  
(e.g., business, banking, health, public services, and security). We  
sometimes take for granted, though, that such communication  
capabilities are equally distributed globally. Similarly, we take for  
granted that our communication culture, heavily relying on digital  
media, can be understood and shared globally. Like water and food, one  
can rather think of communication capabilities as a resource  
(fulfilling a human need) we are globally sharing and responsible for:  
in these terms, we need to acknowledge that digital communication is a  
resource that at present is not equally and democratically distributed  
in the world. As such, work must be done to “give voice” to those  
portions of the population which are cut out from the global  
discourse, so as to preserve cultural diversity and contribute to  
filling the economical gap.

This special issue of the Personal and Ubiquitous Computing journal  
aims at collecting experiences and perspectives which address the  
bridging of the digital divide. With the term “digital divide”, we in  
fact address the communication divide, and the lack of digital  
communication capabilities in terms of access and generation of content.

Topics which are relevant for this issue include, although are not  
limited to:

-       elicitation of  requirements in unconnected communities  
(methodologies, results…)

-       projects aiming at bridging the digital divide: successes,  
failures, lessons learned

-       guidelines and/or manifestos for an HCI agenda in unconnected  
communities (e.g., rural areas, developing countries, elderly people,  
disabled people)

-       examples of appropriation of a communication technology in a  
community previously unconnected

-       examples/ideas about how to sensitize social responsibility in  
the networked society (e.g., recycling hardware, stimulating social  

Submission details

Submissions should be between 3000 and 4000 words and authors are  
encouraged to use the Springer guidelines for authors, available at

Submission in pdf electronic format should be emailed to [log in to unmask]

Important dates

15 September: deadline for abstract submission (300 words)

03 November: deadline for full paper submission

24 November: notification of acceptance and changes requests for  
camera ready version

08 December: camera ready version due

Reviewing Committee:

Abigail Sellen, Microsoft Research, Cambridge, UK

Andy Dearden,  Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Ann Light, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Anxo Cereijo-Roibas, Vodafone GROUP Services, UK

Derrick L. Cogburn, Syracuse University, USA

Edwin Blake, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Eli Blevis, University of Indiana, USA

Ingrid Mulder, Telematica Institute, The Netherlands

Keith Cheverst, Lancaster University, UK

Matt Jones, Swansea University, UK

Mike Best, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

Nic Bidwell, James Cook University, Australia

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