PUBLIC ACCESS TO INFORMATION & ICTs PHASE II REPORT Costa Rica
Sánchez González, Adriana
Camacho Jiménez, Kemly
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A study focused in "public access to information" represents a big challenge. For the Costa Rican team, this challenge offers the opportunity to find out what are the information processes in our country, were the culture of information has no deep roots among population and public libraries and telecentres are seen as a possibility to improve the education offer for children and young people, but not as public venues that can help the hole population to change their conditions and improve the quality of life. Our study, based on three different venues (Public Libraries, CECIs and Cyber cafes), tries to picture the diverse strategies of communication that Costa Ricans use to inform themselves according to culture, gender, age, and other variables that will complete an overview which does not pretend to cover the hole population but to illustrate the general conditions of the country in terms of information processes and the use of libraries and telecentres for this purposes, as well as the possibilities given by the high presence of Cyber Cafes around the country. This study does not cover "public information" but "public access to information". The research is focused in daily information practices that fulfills particular immediate needs of people. This information is of general interest and is not referred to particular nor specific issues and is not technical, specialized or political related. And it is important to point that this study understands "public access to information" as an access not limited by gender, age or citizenship. Access in venues open to the public and limited by specific organizational conditions, schedules and resources. What is understood as a "venue" is an open place were anybody can look for information, and since they do look for particular information to fulfill their needs, the venue adapts to the information needs of its users. It is very importan to make clear that any generalization found in this report generalizes from the sample selected for the field work, and does not pretend to picture the reality of the totality of venues existent in the country. The research team is awared that the sample selected for the study is not representative of the hole country reality and do not pretend to establish absolute conclusions.
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