Digital literacy: Problems faced by telecenter users in Mexico

This article explores the problems that Internet users of marginalized populations face at telecenters (Internet public access sites). Using an exploratory case study method and gathering data from users and telecenter operators, we have explored users’ limitations when using the Internet. To interpret the results, this article uses the digital literacy framework developed by Eshet-Alkai (2004). Findings reveal telecenter users are digitally illiterate in three skills: “branching ability” (ability to navigate through a nonlinear environment to find the desired information); “reproduction ability” (ability to analyze and synthesize the information retrieved); and “information ability” (ability to assess the quality of information). Additionally, there are technical barriers, such as Internet access speed, which influence user’s behaviors when searching for information. Finally, the lack of knowledge of the English language, which is the predominant languages in the Internet, is a barrier that widens the digital divide. Based on these findings, this research suggests possible solutions to overcome user’s problems. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. A previous version of this paper was presented at the Americas Conference on Information Systems 2006.