*Where:* EEB 403 (directions below)
*When:* Jan. 6th, 12-1:20PM
*Who:* Jill Woelfer & Dave Hendry (iSchool)
Food will be provided!
SPEAKER: Jill Woelfer & Dave Hendry
TITLE: Stabilizing Homeless Young People with Information and Place
Over the last 24 months, we have investigated the use of information systems – digital and non-digital – in a community of homeless young people, aged 13 to 25. In December 2008, working with collaborators at a drop-in that seeks to stabilize youth and improve their welfare, we launched a community technology center for homeless young people. Since then, acting as volunteers and collaborating with case managers and outreach workers, we have worked with more than 50 young people to improve their computer skills for finding jobs. In this talk, however, we present findings from an initial research study where we asked the question: How might the organization and presentation of information resources, which are abundant in this community, be improved? We collected 250 printed materials from four service agencies and then used a sample of these materials in a card-sorting exercise. The resulting categorization scheme was then used to design four interrelated prototypes: Rolling Case, InfoBike, Slat Wall, and Infold. Each prototype explored how different kinds of “places” could be reconstituted out of a common body of information resources. To convey the use of these prototypes and to evaluate their potential usefulness and practicality, three short videos were created and shown to homeless young people and to service providers. A key finding of this work is that the presentation of information resources is not always in keeping with the values held by the service providers. Nevertheless, “places” for meeting and engaging homeless young people can be reconstituted, in part, through the use of information resources.