Dr Kira Allmann chaired the Inside Government conference on Digital Skills and Inclusion on January 13th, sharing insights from the Oxfordshire Digital Inclusion Project.

The Inside Government event included speakers from the UK Parliament, local councils, The Good Things Foundation, and Citizens Online. Dr Allmann shared preliminary findings from the Oxfordshire Digital Inclusion Project, a Knowledge Exchange collaboration with Oxfordshire County Council Libraries to study how public libraries are meeting digital needs of limited and non-users of the internet.

In framing the event, Dr Allmann said in her opening remarks how she was compelled to launch the Oxfordshire Digital Inclusion Project after serving as a volunteer digital helper in the Oxfordshire County Library for several years. "I saw first-hand what the digital divide looks like from the perspective of library customers lacking meaningful digital access and skills," she said. "I felt there was a striking disconnect between how we theorize digital exclusion and how it actually is — on the ground."

She called for e-government platforms to be designed better -- with marginalised users in mind -- by minimizing the number of digital skills necessary to easily and safely get online for those goal-oriented tasks.

The findings from the Oxfordshire Digital Inclusion Project will be published in forthcoming report, Libraries on the Front Lines of the Digital Divide.

Read her opening remarks here.