The computer and other new communication technologies have changed the way we live. However every technological innovation carries with it the potential to liberate or exclude various parts of our society, and the current information age seems to fragment and privatize access to the knowledge provided by the new technologies. Who is affected by the "information gap" and what is the role of communication technology in widening or closing it? These vital, complex questions are the subject of this special issue of the Journal of Communication—the noted computer-age forum for debate and scientific understanding. The Information Gap brings together articles, reports, and proposals from a broad variety of cross-disciplinary sources. The result is a comprehensive and enlightening overview that probes current trends in the social distribution of the new technologies, explores the obstacles to information equality, and shows how some social groups have embraced today's technological promise more than others. This special edition also provides commentary on entrenched institutional barriers that may contribute to the persistence of the information gap. This report will be of value to all readers interested in the impact of the computer age on today's society and the world of the future.
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