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Building Ontario's Digital Future. January 28 - 31, 2009 OLA Libraries Super Conference. Barbara Swartzentruber Strategic Projects Manager, MGS. What does a Digital Future Look Like?. “New players, on a new playing field, developing new process and habits for horizontal collaboration.”

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Building Ontario's Digital Future

January 28 - 31, 2009

OLA Libraries Super Conference

Barbara SwartzentruberStrategic Projects Manager, MGS


What does a Digital Future Look Like?

“New players, on a new playing field,

developing new process and habits

for horizontal collaboration.”

Thomas L. Friedman, The World is Flat


A Connected World

*Transcontinental Fibre Optic Cable



The digital society is driving demand and changing expectations

  • Faster service
  • Information-rich and multi-media websites
  • User created content and self expression
  • File sharing and collaboration
  • Uploading and downloading

Online customer support –online chat with another personvia webcam and headsets

the rise of e government ontario
The Rise of e-Government: Ontario

Source: R. Dowler & F. Graves, “The Rise of e-Government”, Canadian Government Executive (Sept 2008)


Challenges in a Digital Economy

  • Global competition for investment, jobs and skilled workers
  • Mobile investment and workforce
  • Transitioning from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy
  • Moving to a “green” economy

Conditions for Success in a Digital Economy

Strategic Research Findings

Ontario’s Digital Strategy

Digital Infrastructure Capacity

  • Digital Skills and Literacy

1. Affordable,



2. Next generation


3. Innovation in a digital economy

  • 4. Digital citizens and
  • businesses

5. Digital government and communities

  • 6. Digital inclusion
what is ontario doing
What is Ontario Doing?
  • $30 million over the next four years to deploy broadband to rural areas in Southern Ontario:
    • $30 million was announced in the March 25, 2008 provincial budget
    • $10 million was announced in 2007 and has been allocated to 18 rural communities through the Rural Connections program and to strategic research initiatives
    • The November announcement of $8.8 million committed to 15 additional Rural Connections projects brings the total to 33 projects undertaken jointly by rural municipalities and the province.
  • The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation has allocated $30 million over 3 years to address cellular ($15 million) and broadband ($15 million) access gaps in northern Ontario
  • $1.5 billion over three years in the Government of Ontario’s Skills to Jobs Action Plan
  • Over $1 billion throughout the next five years in the Next Generation of Jobs Fund

What are Digital Skills and Literacy?

  • Digital Skills and Literacy
  • Human capacity, behaviour and knowledge related to broadband use.
  • Confidence and trust using broadband technologies and tools, e.g., the Internet and Web 2.0 .
  • Skillful use of technology to play, learn, socialize and work.
  • An understanding of the social and economic benefits of broadband.

Web 2.0

requires new skills and literacy


Digital Citizens and Businesses

Creating a talented and skilled citizenry and workforce with the confidence to use digital infrastructure to achieve social and economic benefits


Digital Government and Communities

Improving public sector service delivery and the quality of life for Ontarians


Digital Inclusion

To encourage full participation in the digital economy by addressing critical

socio-economic digital divides

Source: EKOS 2006-07 Information Technology Update and Usage and the Communications Household


A Digital Economy and SocietyNeeds Full Participation

  • Governments, local communities, businesses, citizens and community groups are also planning for a digital future.
  • More effective if we all work together.

Digital Ontario Collaborative

public libraries delivering digital literacy

Public Libraries Delivering Digital Literacy

OLA Super Conference – Session #328

29 Jan 2009

David I. Harvie

Systems Librarian, Stratford Public Library

PCIN Network Administrator

perth county information network

Public Libraries Delivering Digital Literacy

Perth County Information Network
  • A federation of public libraries in Perth County.
    • Perth East Public Library
    • West Perth Public Library
    • Stratford Public Library
    • Stratford Perth Archives (Associate Member)
    • St. Marys Public Library (Associate Member)
pcin activities

Public Libraries Delivering Digital Literacy

PCIN Activities
  • Shares an integrated library software (ILS) system via a wide area network (WAN).
  • Shares IT Support.
  • Resource sharing.
  • Consortium purchasing.
  • Shares Programming - Public Library on Wheels (PLOW)
  • Maintains the Information Perth Community Services Database

Public Libraries Delivering Digital Literacy


Library 2.0

  • Web 2.0 “social networking” technologies employed by libraries to re-invent and re-vitalize themselves:
      • Blogging
      • Wikis
      • Podcasts
      • Tagging
library 2 0

Public Libraries Delivering Digital Literacy

Library 2.0
  • Library 2.0 attempts to harness the library user in the design and implementation of library services by encouraging feedback and participation.
  • The library patron becomes a participant, co-creator, builder and consultant.
  • The basic aim of Library 2.0 is to get people back into the library by making the library relevant to what they want and need in their daily lives and to make the library a destination and not an afterthought.

Public Libraries Delivering Digital Literacy


BiblioCommons is a next generation Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) interface that incorporates social networking software technologies.

It brings “social searching” or “social discovery” to the OPAC.

Use of the library catalogue becomes an activity in “discovery” rather than “finding.


Public Libraries Delivering Digital Literacy

  • Patrons can:
  • Discuss books, create book reviews & rate items within the OPAC.
  • Categorize or “tag” items with headings that reflects genre, mood, content, or style that make sense to the user.
  • Recommend and point to similar titles.
  • Advise on age suitability and mark items for:
    • Offensive language
    • Graphic violence
    • Sexual content

Public Libraries Delivering Digital Literacy

  • build and share personalized lists of the library’s collection.
  • manage their own level of privacy and identity within the community.
  • build networks of favourite reviewers that will subsequently feed personalized recommendations and search processes based on the user’s tastes.
  • communicate with other users and Library staff with a built-in email system.
benefits of partnerships

Public Libraries Delivering Digital Literacy

Benefits of Partnerships
  • PCIN has received support from the Broadband Initiative in our bid to be one of twelve BiblioCommons test sites.
  • Support from the Broadband Initiative in PCIN’s LSDF grant application to hire a Digital Literacy Promoter in support of a BiblioCommons project.
  • The opportunity to contribute to the Ontario Digital Second Life Island.
why is digital literacy important

Public Libraries Delivering Digital Literacy

Why is Digital Literacy Important?
  • Libraries need to re-invent themselves using social networking software if they are to survive.
  • Products like BiblioCommons create a community around the library’s catalogue.
  • Its no longer about the "digital divide“, but about increasing social isolation.
  • The marginalized will not only be uninformed BUT INCREASINGLY ALONE.