National Center for Digital Government Working Paper Series
Not having access or having a disadvantaged access to information, in an information-based society may be considered as a handicap (Compaine, 2001). In the last two decades scholars have gradually refined the conceptualization of digital divide, moving from a dichotomous model mainly based on access to a multidimensional model accounting for differences in usage levels and perspectives. While models became more complex, research continued to mainly focus on deepening the understanding of demographic and socioeconomic differences between adopters and non-adopters. In doing so, the process of basic IT skills acquisition has been largely overlooked. This paper presents a metaphorical interpretation of the process of IT skills acquisition derived from empirical evidence. The analysis highlights the presence of three distinct IT skills acquisition approaches, as well as the key role of self-learning. These preliminary results represent a useful starting point for the design of more effective and sophisticated inclusion policies.