Masthead CMC Magazine / March 1, 1996
 The Gendered Mystique, by Leslie Regan Shade

Spender: Diversifying the Net

Spender is thoughtful and prescient when she considers the effect of networked technologies on education and libraries. She inquires into the changing nature of academic discourse--will the spontaneous nature of digitization change the refereeing process? Will the same status be accorded for e-texts as for traditional hard-copy texts? She is concerned that a diversity of women's voices be heard, in order to ameliorate the "growing apprehension that what we could get is a new form of colonialism: one in which the perspective of the white Californian male predominates; an academic version of CNN" (p. 140). As well, the language that is used to index material on the Internet which is used through a myriad of resource discovery tools should reflect women's knowledge and experiences. (Lest you think that Dr. Spender is overreacting, consider the lineup of All-Male Cyberspace Thinkers, just one example of many which herald the era of Digital Knowledge, while disregarding the contributions of women).

Spender's strength lies in her call for women to become involved in the policy milieu surrounding information infrastructure debates which are currently active in many countries, such as in the --United States, with the release of the final report of the United States Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure, A Nation Of Opportunity and the KickStart Initiatives, "community based efforts to bring the Information Superhighway to all individuals through schools, libraries, and community centers"; and in --Canada, with the release of the Information Highway Advisory Council's final report, Connection, Community, Content: The Challenge of the Information Highway. --

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