Infomediaries: Brokers of public access
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This study investigated the role of infomediaries in shaping outcomes for users at Public Access Venues (PAVs) in Bangladesh, Chile, and Lithuania. We examined the extent to which technical skills and empathy are relevant to and appreciated by different types of users, and whether differences in infomediaries are evident across different types of PAVs. We asked whether particular infomediary behaviors were associated with significant changes as reported by PAV users. We learned that infomediaries provide the human face for the information age by taking on the functions of facilitation, coaching, referral and teaching and assuming the role of a trusted gatekeeper. The process of infomediation turned out to be of prominence within which the infomediary is a key component. In the absence of infomediaries, those left behind (or excluded due to their age, socio-economic status, level of education/literacy, gender, disability or caste) will face additional, perhaps insurmountable, barriers.
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