vol. 25 no. 4, December, 2020

Proceedings of ISIC: the information behaviour conference, Pretoria, South Africa, 28th September to 1st October, 2020.

Short paper

Old women and tablets: information behaviour in unfavourable contexts and social mediators

Martha Sabelli.

Introduction. In Uruguay, the Ibirapitá Plan provides a tablet for every low-income retired woman. That motivated the research of old women’s information behaviour related to access and use of inclusive information for overcoming their disinformation. This work has the following purposes: (i) contributing to research focused on knowing and interpreting the role of social mediators and old women in the processes of access, search and appropriation of information using the Plan’s tablets; (ii) investigating users' needs of local information; and, (iii) offering such information in a participatory design of a digital solution for tablets by an interdisciplinary team.
Methods. A mix of methods was applied using a questionnaire and mainly qualitative methods: in-depth interviews with qualified informants and trainers, observation of tablet-distribution workshops, focus groups and validation workshops of the digital solution designed for tablets applied in two capital cities and two small towns with the collaboration of community organisations.
Analysis of the results.The analysis of the results is presented according to five dimensions of analysis and the questions that the research seeks to respond to.
Discussion and conclusion. The affirmations and experiences raised regarding the technological device open a wide range of challenges to overcome and learning opportunities both for tablet users and for the production, content management and future designs of search interfaces.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47989/irisic2007


This paper seeks to reflect on the purposes and results of the explorative project Perspective of old age and gender in disadvantaged environments: towards inclusive information and communication strategies, the Ibirapitá Plan and the Care System (April 2017 - April 2019), InfoCoMayores project. The objective of the project is to contribute to the studies of older women’s information behaviour with their tablets, in the context of a National Plan (Uruguay) – that has been distributing tablets since 2015 to all older adults in disadvantaged situations (low income) a unique case with no international precedents. At the end of the first year of the project (2017), the number of free tablets given to people over 65 years old was 170 000 and by late 2019 reached 230 000, a considerable number for a small country of approximately 3.5 million inhabitants.

The research team of the project InfoCoMayores, formed by information science researchers, sociologists, communication scientists and computer engineers, has 10 years of experience in information behaviour in disadvantaged backgrounds research. They worked in two sub-teams from the university level, independently of the Ibirapitá Plan. The first one is called the FIC Team, responsible for the presentation and coordination of the project, formed by one information science senior researcher, four information science junior researchers, a sociologist, a communication researcher and information science students, who carried out the study of informative behaviour. The INCO (School of Engineering's Institute of Computing) Team’s research was carried out by three students in the development of their theses in computer engineering, supported by their tutors, incorporated in the second year of the project.

The two academic research teams were challenged to identify some common dimensions among the diversity of older women studied, despite their different life contexts, sociocultural environments, personalities, attitudes and personal skills. In addition, a long lifespan led to long-lived stories, which resulted in various influences on their behaviour and information practices.


The flow of information and communication in a society of older common citizens with low socio-economic resources has not been subjected to much investigation from the perspective of access, use, and appropriation of meaningful information, and is still absent in the specific case of older women.

This work focuses on the social-mediation dimension that some actors play as mediators among older women – most of them marginalised in their daily lives – and inclusive information. Tablets are perceived by the project as bridges of great value, on the one hand for the process of access and appropriation of information in their closest local environments, and on the other hand, since they motivate the integration of peer social groups that approximate them to others and motivate them both in their searches and appropriation in the information process. However, as in other research of the team, the role of social mediators appears to build bridges and strengthen them over time and at the territory level, that is, the social context, the communities where the old women of the Plan live.

The research is inserted in a research line focused on human information behaviour, and the appropriation of inclusive information that seeks to bring academia closer to the problem related to the complex phenomenon of information and communication among the elderly. Despite being an important part of the country's present and future citizenship, they are very limited in the access and real meaningful use of the informative contents necessary and essential for their individual and collective development. In interdisciplinary teams with an inquiring look, not only the phenomenon of information behaviour is analysed, interpreted and understood, but also the creation of creative and innovative digital information resources is explored in a participatory manner with the subject-objects of investigation and the social mediators, based on the theoretical and epistemological foundations these disciplines provide.

In general, demographic and sociological studies prioritise several dimensions that condition the situation of older women, but the dimensions related to access and use of information are absent. These should be included in the research and guide the inquiry about information needs and information behaviour. Disinformation appears as a barrier to their inclusion and social integration. The analysis and interpretation of the actual use and content appropriation contribute to the public social policies of the country and to the design of information and reading systems and services referred to this social sector.

The perspective of the project is based on the social construction of information and communication by older women in their social and community environments and the universal nature of the Ibirapitá Plan in Uruguay, which provides a tablet for every low-income retired woman, and the need to create a participatory design of a digital solution for tablets in order to provide inclusive information.


The purpose of this paper is focused on knowing and interpreting the role of social mediators in the processes of access, search and appropriation of inclusive information, and to provide knowledge about an innovative national plan for the supply of tablets to older women from unfavourable socio-economic and cultural contexts, who are in a situation of information poverty and marginalised.

Dimensions and questions which guided the investigation are:

First dimension: access and use of information sources and resources, through the following questions:

Second dimension: the attitude and information behaviour of older people in tablet training courses and the role of trainers, through the following questions:

Third dimension: perceptions of local information needs, through the following question:

Fourth dimension: design, development and evaluation of an electronic information and communication resource in a participatory manner with its users, through the following question:

Fifth dimension: the role of the trainers as mediators, through the following questions:

Theoretical-methodological references in information behaviour and information practices

The concept of information poverty and the role of mediators by Chatman (1988, 1996, 1999), the ELIS model (everyday life information seeking) of Savolainen et al. (1999, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2008), the notion of information ground by Fisher and co-authors (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008) and the contributions of constructionist perspectives are central to this exploration of the subjects-objects’ information behaviours and information practices in their daily life. Also, the constructionism of Talja et al. (2005) to which we have adhered in previous research, specifically the work of Talja and Nyce (2015) on the study of pragmatic activities and their performance.

The literature on older adults and information communication technology (ICT) is broad and interdisciplinary. Among the main referents on third-agers as users of tablets are authors from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and the Nordic countries. The pioneer works of Williamson et al. (1980, 1996, 1997, 2009, 2015) and most recent works from diverse disciplines, like those by Vroman et al. (2015), Barnard et al. (2013), Wright (2014), Magsamen-Conrad et al. (2015), Alvseike et al. (2012) are also relevant to this research. But in the international literature no references were found to work that specifically focus on the study of older people’s experiences with tablets distributed universally and free of charge at a country level.

The theoretical-methodological references on social mediators inserted in unfavourable contexts are extensively developed in previous papers (Sabelli, 2012a, b, 2014, 2016) and we will refer to them. Among them we highlight the concept of Allen’s gatekeepers, the traditional principle of least effort reviewed by Case (2005, 2016) and the research on gatekeepers of information in African American communities by Agada (1999). Undoubtedly, recent work on the subject will be reason for reflection considering the emblematic work of Metoyer-Duran (1993) and Bailur (2010) in early stages of research.

This project has given us the opportunity and the challenge of accessing an extensive bibliography that implies team readings and reflections. Within the framework of the InfoCoMayores Project, an extensive and exhaustive bibliographic compilation has been carried out. It is a bibliography of national, regional and global scope, covering 132 articles, papers and books that address the subject of the elderly and tablets from different disciplinary approaches. The relevant topics have to do with the focus of the project, and we have characterised them by their specificity in relation to the topics of interest for research and seeking to represent in it the plurality of approaches to the same topic.

Each reference has a link to the electronic resource, if it is accessible online, or to the name of the corresponding library, if they are materials available only in paper format. The list will be made available in open access once its content is analysed.


The methodological strategy was mostly qualitative applied by the entire project team (senior researches, junior researches and undergraduate students) in the selected cities with the support of local social organisations.

Research methods included: in-depth interviews with qualified informants, questionnaire to users and non-users of tablets, observation of workshops where trainers provide tablets, focus groups for older women in two stages of the research, interviews with trainers as mediators, workshops with older women users for validation of the digital solution with local information in the selected cities.

Fourteen in-depth interviews with qualified informants from the main public and private organisations that work with older people were conducted, recorded and transcribed. Interview guidelines were previously designed in a semi-structured way, but in their development, these were constituted into open narratives that attempted to follow the interviewees' story, who enriched the approach of the dimensions and questions of the project. It is important to remark that it was a flexible interview, but it did retain the semi-structured guidelines.

The application of a questionnaire to a sample of elderly users and non-users of the Ibirapitá Plan allowed the collection of initial data that would guide the other qualitative methodological techniques. The questionnaire covered users and non-users, men and women, because we wanted to have data on the percentage of non-users and visualise the results of women in relation to men. Below, we present basic data on the responses of older women because the gender approach is the central topic of the project and this paper. Questionnaires were applied to a convenient sample by the members of the research team, face-to-face, in social organisations for the elderly, in their homes assigned by the state provider of social welfare, and in public libraries over a sample of 163 users and 21 non-users of the tablets in three age cohorts: 55-60 (the reason why people between 55 and 64 years old is included in the sample is due to the retirement system legislation), 61-70 and 71-80 years old. The places chosen to apply the questionnaire were social organisations, homes and public spaces of two urban centres in Paysandú region (Paysandú capital city and in a small town called Quebracho) and Rocha region (Rocha capital city and a small town called La Paloma). The questionnaire form has 56 questions, most of them closed (only 6 open), grouped in the following sections: demographic data (age, sex, education, place of residence); home; access and use of the tablet; social networks; cell phone use; Internet search on the tablet (critical incident); social and family environment; issues of interest; leisure (radio, television, music, reading); and, description of the respondent's environment.

Observations of 15 training courses taught by the Plan's trainers when distributing tablets were done by the FIC team in Paysandú and Rocha. Between 8 to 10 women attended each one. Observations made by members of the research team, as explained in this paper, took note of the different stages of the course.

Focus groups formed by older women of the Ibirapitá Plan were used as a data collection technique in a large part of the projects developed by the research line on informative behaviour and inclusive information. The organisation was supported by civil society organisations, with which we had a link from the beginning, and associations of retirees. They totalled 7 focus groups with an average of 12 members each. The moderation was overseen by a team member using predetermined guidelines.

Analysis of the results

In the following sections, the main results of the data collected according to the five dimensions and research questions using interviews, questionnaires, observations, focus groups and workshops are presented and analysed.

First dimension: access and use of information sources and resources

The application of a questionnaire to a sample of elderly users and non-users of the Ibirapitá Plan was the main technique to answer the questions of this dimension. The number was enough for the saturation of the results. The analysis of its main results is presented according to some selected data (age, educational level and social context). Therefore, the questionnaire worked with a convenience sample. Its main objective was not to measure quantitatively, but to obtain some trends that would help the interpretative and methodologically qualitative approach of the research. I consider this to be an appropriate method for small-scale research and an exploratory study that does not seek to generalise the results or to have statistical validity. We worked with the concept of saturation of expected responses to guide the other qualitative methods of data collection. Saturation occurred when the incorporation of new participants stopped providing additional or relevant data for the study.

Older women and tablets according to their age, educational level and social context

Women users were 117 (89.3%) and non-users 14 (10.7%). The frequency of use of the tablets according to these variables is indicated in Table 1:

Table 1 - Percentages. Total users (frequency of use) by age group
Frequency of use of the tablet 55 to 60 years old 61 to 70 years old 71 to 80 years old Total
Every day 66.7 57.4 36.8 47.9
Sometime per week 3.3 31.5 45.6 38.5
In the month 0 9.3 1.5 12.8
No data* 0 1.9 0 0
Total 100 % 100 % 100 % 100%

The frequency of use of the tablet decreases with the older groups, especially those aged over 70, in daily and monthly use. The important incidence of the level of education in all the frequencies of use is also confirmed; users who have not completed secondary education use it less than those who completed secondary education and have complete or incomplete tertiary studies - this is shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Percentages. Total users (frequency of use), by educational level
Frequency of use of the tablet Incomplete primary education Complete primary education Incomplete secondary education Complete secondary education Incomplete university/tertiary education Complete university/tertiary education Total
Every day 34.8 45.7 53.8 60 0 66.7 47.9
Sometime per week 56.5 40 25.6 40 100 16.7 38.5
In the month 4.3 14.3 20.5 0 0 16.7 12.8
No data* 4.3 0 0 0 0 0 0.9
Total 100 % 100 % 100 % 100% 100% 100% 100%

The percentage of low daily use of the tablet is relevant if we compare whether they live alone or not - this is shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Percentages. Total users (frequency of use), by way of life
Frequency of use of the tablet Live alone Does not live alone Total
Every day 35.4 56.5 47.9
Sometime per week 47.9 31.9 38.5
In the month 14.6 11.6 12.8
No data* 2.1 0 0.9
Total 100 % 100 % 100 %

Another interesting fact is the low percentage in the social activities significant for social integration of these older women, such as associations, clubs, neighbourhood commissions or choirs. It is also important to note their low percentage of attendance to libraries and digital inclusion centres where they can be supported in the use of their tablets - this is shown in Table 4.

Table 4: Attendance at each type or place of meeting
Type or place of meeting for elderly people Number of respondents who attend* Percentage over the total respondents (117)
Excursions 61 52.1
Gym 51 43.6
Church 43 36.7
Others (parties, dances, etc.) 41 35
Retirees' associations 39 33.3
Neighbourhood or city square 37 31.6
Clubs 18 15.4
Library 18 15.4
Neighbourhood commissions or other social organisations 14 12
Choirs 12 10.3
Digital inclusion centres 11 9.4
* Each type/place of meeting is analysed and it is considered if they attend, regardless of the frequency (weekly, monthly or annual). Each percentage is calculated over the total respondents. That is why the column does not total 100%.

 Many of the respondents (47, 40.2%) attend only 2 or less places or types of meetings about which they were asked. Fifty-nine point eight percent (59.8%) attend more than two places (up to 8 places/types of meeting). Finally, but relevant to the research, are responses to the question about Internet search using the tablet, which reveals that 55% performed a search, 72% of them live alone and are women, and 68% are over 71 years old. The ones that never searched the Internet are 31%, 51% of them live alone, 72% are women.

Therefore, as Vorrink et al. (2017) say, for the development and implementation of technologies for this user group, these variables should be taken into account as influencing factors. Likewise, the data show the need to deepen through observation and focus groups other factors that determine information behaviour.

Third dimension: perceptions of local information needs

Focus groups with users focused on obtaining data about their behaviour with the tablet, especially in the process of searching for information and their local information needs.

In general, there was very enthusiastic participation, contributing to the warm reception of the associations of retirees and pensioners, where their leaders' ability to convene and empathise was highlighted. The FIC team also invited them to lunch or tea, helping to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The preparation for the focus groups played a very important role in creating the right setting. The focus groups were carried out in places known to the participants, and in some cases, the management of the places being present and contributed to a more natural experience similar to daily life.

The participants of the focus groups focused their concerns on the following topics: health, safety, procedures, tourism, work, services and local information, and the difficulties arising from the use of the tablet. They described the topics and subtopics of greatest interest, which were collected by the team observers, who prepared an exhaustive report that allowed identifying the contents to be provided to the INCO team.

Local information and access to services as inclusive information

‘Local information and access to services’ appeared as the most interesting topics. It is proposed that the tablet could be a fast and reliable way to access information that would facilitate their daily life: transport, cultural activities, courses and even commercial or work information, and there are elements that confirm the interest and social value that older people have for local information. The demand for information emerges with affection and is also based on the exercise of freedom and the strong sense of belonging to their communities. It is interesting to observe that information is experienced as a product that acquires meaning within the framework of the social relationships that each context produced/produces in people's daily experience. The social utility of information attribute is clearly expressed as people understand that having or not having information is directly related to the decision making about their life (what to do, when, where to do it, by what means, budget of the decisions).

Tablets and personalised mediation in a context of social integration

The use of the tablet and the difficulties that it entails is a repeated topic. The women demand that the support service be more personalised and immediate. In that sense, they would accept that the advice be online but still prefer personalised and face-to-face treatment. The connectivity restricted to 1 Giga and the subsequent expense that implies wanting to remain connected is a determining factor in how the old women relate to the tablet, even causing its abandonment or disinterest.

There was also a collective mention of technological tools such as social networks, which very few of the participants make use of without encountering difficulties when it comes to safely navigating them. The reasons why they join these networks (Facebook mainly) is to respond to the desire to keep in touch with family members living in Montevideo or abroad. The latter remained present in all the focus groups carried out: the desire for belonging and group connection, and the collective experience of dialogue and peer exchange. The use of tacit information from this perspective had a lot of value for the participants, since among them they got to know data relevant to their informative needs.

From the emotional and cognitive perspective, the participation of the beneficiaries became more present in moments where the stimulus of the conversation appealed to the memorial and retrospective. Emphasis was placed on the interest in revisiting places and moments that represented an important occasion in the participants' lives, and from these moments, a transversal consensus was maintained in their stories regarding the times lived by the generations to which they belong. Undoubtedly, the concepts of Savolainen's ELIS (2005) were very present in this technique.

On the technologies and the changes that the use of a tablet supposes in their lives, they referred to the fears that this new world of the tablet awakens to them while it is received with great curiosity and opening.

Fourth dimension: design, development and evaluation of an electronic information and communication resource in a participatory manner with its users.

The design of the technological solution for tablets of older women within the framework of interdisciplinary and participatory research

The INCO team built a content system consisting of an Android application for Ibirapitá Plan tablets, a React web application and a web server, in a collaborative manner with its recipients, in order to facilitate access to relevant information requested by the FIC team. The objectives and stages are described in the School of Engineering of University of the Republic's Computer Engineering dissertation entitled Portal of accessibility of the Ibirapitá Plan of Alejandro Miguel, Luciano Montero and Inés Saint Martin, guided by the teacher tutors Cecilia Apa, Ewelina Bakala and Laura González (Miguel, Montero & Saint Martin, 2019). In the Analysis (Chapter 2) the user profile, the state of the art of similar solutions and the concepts of usability and accessibility are analysed. The requirements survey and its different phases are presented: discovery, analysis and validation, and definition of scope. In Chapter 3, they describe the solution. Basically, they created an initial application proposal using the Justinmind tool, which allows interactive design prototypes. This considered the needs of accessibility, utilities, information/themes, leisure and interest. This stage allowed us to review the viability of some requirements and to verify if it complied with what was requested by the FIC team.

The technological solution was validated in three stages that took place in the chosen departments, Paysandú and Rocha. We organised workshops with older women and their tablets with the new technological solution. Redesign was finally validated in October 2018, when a more fluid access to the detail of the contents, a good understanding of the filters’ functionality, and a good reception of the new disposition of the events and all the features were noted.

The result of the workshops and focus groups organised by the FIC team in this second stage of the project (second year) served as an input of great value for the development of the final prototype and its eventual acceptance. From this perspective, users emphasised how well their needs had been interpreted and adapted to the application. Finally, it has been a substantial contribution to understand the changes in the informational behaviour of older women and their tablets.

Fifth dimension: social mediators of information among older women, tablets and access/appropriation of inclusive information

Interviews with trainers as social mediators of information

Within the framework of the research, in-depth interviews were conducted in Paysandú and Rocha with 5 trainers of the Ibirapitá Plan and 5 library clerks, Digital Inclusion Spaces and Production Training Centres that conducted training courses for the elderly who received tablets.

The trainers of the Ibirapitá Plan acquire importance for their role as intermediaries between said plan - which is carried out within the framework of a State policy - and the citizens. They are a visible face in the territory and are responsible for delivering the tablets and providing basic training to introduce the elderly to the use of tablets. Ibirapitá trainers from support centres also fulfil the role of intermediaries offering the opportunity to deepen the knowledge and use of the device and its possibilities. They are between 25 and 60 years old and have at least finished secondary education and different subsequent courses (computer science, journalism) or finished tertiary or university education (teaching, Bachelor of Social Work). They are part of a stable team and all interviewees have been linked to the Plan since the beginning of the distribution of tablets in their respective departments. As a working modality, the training pair stands out, in which one trainer explains the use of the tablet and its different applications and the other goes through the tables to help the elderly.

The training offered by the Ibirapitá Plan to the elderly to whom the tablet is delivered consists of an introductory, basic, mandatory class of three hours during which the devices are delivered to a group of approximately 30 people. In Paysandú, trainers do not perceive large differences between the number of men and women attending these workshops; in Rocha, the audience has a marked feminine bias (70 to 80%). There is consensus in the trainers' narratives to consider ‘women make more use of the devices and are more interested in understanding them’.

Taking pictures, listening to the radio, reading the newspaper and surfing the Internet are other functions of the tablet that trainers say they do in their workshops. Internet browsing is always the last mentioned, which is in line with the results of the questionnaires and observations.

Older women in the workshops: mediation of trainers and socialisation

The consideration of the subjective aspects is strongly present among trainers (‘we must not forget that they are adults, not children’, ‘do not forget that we are working with people’), who emphasise the importance of motivation and that older people lose the fear of touching the tablet. ‘The first thing is to break the ice, to open up, to lose fear’.

For trainers, it is essential to be ‘always very friendly’ and ‘call people by their name’. In the workshops, the person's name is placed in the tablet case so that it is legible to the trainer that is in front of the participants. Trainers agree that calling people by their names creates a bond and closeness that facilitates the development of the workshop. ‘Enjoy it, María’ (when delivering the tablet), or ‘You are doing very well, Julio’ (during the workshop). Trainers who have experience in working as teachers or have teacher training strongly emphasise the importance of motivation and other strategies: plan the workshop in advance, peer feedback.

The importance of the workshop as a meeting place and opportunity for socialisation and to live the experience of learning together that most of the participants had not had for many years, is also highlighted.

I think the Ibirapitá Plan and the workshops we give are important because it is about including the elderly. When the person reaches a certain age is set aside… (Ibirapitá Support Centre Trainer).

Older adults feel very lonely. One of the diseases of old age is loneliness. I have observed that when they come to the workshop, although they come to learn to use the tablet, they also come to socialize ...(Ibirapitá Support Centre Trainer)

Perceptions about the role of families in the use of tablets and older women as citizens

The family does not seem to have worked as support for the older adults in the process of learning the use of tablets. The following comment reflects a common sentiment amongst the families of the users:

When they ask the grandchildren, they don't teach them. If they ask for help to watch a video, they search for it but they don't show them how to search, and they want to learn. In the family there are many people who understand the devices but don't pay attention to them [...] They come here and tell us: ‘I have grandchildren, I have children, I have everything, but they don't know how to explain to me’. (Ibirapitá Plan trainer)

The tablet is also perceived as a tool of citizen training and inclusion.

I’d like that the table would not only be entertainment, taking pictures, but also a vehicle for citizenship, which modifies daily life. That it would be a tool for them to make effective their rights to have an opinion, to have access to certain issues, decisions, State information. (Ibirapitá Plan trainer).

Volunteers as trainers-mediators

Last, but not least, six volunteers were interviewed towards the end of the project; a new figure created to support the Plan in Paysandú and Rocha, who serve as trainers-mediators between older women and their tablets. Their stories were important inputs to identify and interpret the difficulties, motivations and information needs of the users. There was an interesting difference between them, two were very young men (17 and 19 years old) and four were adult women, and one of them was an old woman (80 years old). All of them showed a great commitment and enthusiasm for their work.

We cite comments from one of the youngsters:

It is a boom, I was surprised, it was a thing that was tight as they did not have a tablet, and when using it, they took out what they had inside, the desire to learn they have is fantastic... after a month they are like this [makes a gesture with the fingers], hey have it hidden, it starts coming out.

Discussion and conclusions

Some trends emerging from the questionnaires, interviews, observations and focus groups, with a prior triangulation, allow us some conclusions: the information acquires meaning within the framework of the social relations that each context produced/produces in people's daily experience; close relationship between the social utility of information and decision making about their life; information practices are linked to the isolation or family and/or social relationship of the elderly woman and her tablet; the family nucleus does not appear as a support pillar for the access and use of the tablet (children and grandchildren); the data show a high percentage of tablet users and non-users living alone and in an encapsulation at home, with few links in the environment, their life is focused on the tasks inside the home and half of them go for a walk, and less of them go out with friends; the interest and social value that older people have for local information and the role to motivate the search for information on tablets is evidenced, and social mediators who support tablet users in public (public libraries, digital inclusion centres) and private (retirement associations, senior clubs) institutions are the passport for access and use of inclusive information.

There are emerging issues of great interest to be deepened that were observed in workshops and focus groups, such as the influence of the personal characteristics of some older women: being active, optimistic and friendly, with self-esteem. Undoubtedly, new approaches are opened by recent empirical studies, for example, Buchanan, Jardine and Ruthven (2019); Bronstein (2017, 2018); Gibson and Martin (2019).

Finally, the potential role of volunteer-trainers clearly appears as a fundamental dimension in the search and use of inclusive information on the tablet.


The author would like to thank the research participants for their willingness to become part of the study, and for sharing their perceptions. She would also like to acknowledge the significant support of the anonymous reviewers for their useful and perceptive comments. Special thanks to the Comisión Sectorial de Investigación - CSIC of the Universidad de la República, Uruguay, who selected and financed the project.

About the author

Martha Sabelli received her Ph.D. in Documentation in 2004 from the University of Alcalá, Spain. She is a Senior Researcher at the Information and Society Department, Information Institute, at the Faculty of Information and Communication, of the University of Republic, Uruguay. She can be contacted at martha.sabelli@fic.edu.uy


How to cite this paper

Sabelli, M. (2020). Old women and tablets: information behaviour in unfavourable contexts and social mediators. In Proceedings of ISIC, the Information Behaviour Conference, Pretoria, South Africa, 28-30 September, 2020. Information Research, 25(4), paper isic2007. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/25-4/isic2020/isic2007.html (Archived by the Internet Archive at https://bit.ly/3a5ayK0) https://doi.org/10.47989/irisic2007

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