TASCHA & IFLA report explores how access to information contributes to development

The Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) report, Development and Access to Information, has been released in partnership with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). The report, officially launched at the United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on July 17, 2017, explores how access to information contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). TASCHA research team members include Michelle Fellows, Maria Garrido, Chris Jowasis, and Lucas Koepke.

The report demonstrates the access to information enables social, economic, and political development in numerous ways. Through examining the multiple facets of access – infrastructure, social contexts, capabilities, and policy and law – and exploring how libraries act as equal agents of information access and how access to information contributes to sustainable agriculture, better health, gender equality, and sustainable infrastructure, the report shows that access to information can transform lives.

Access to information can help lift people out of poverty, promote gender equality, and create opportunities for youth. However, its transformative potential is bounded by local, social, political, and economic forces. While ICT infrastructure is key to achieving the SDGs, the physical tools that provide access to information are not enough. To help create more just and equal societies, the access must be meaningful.

Meaningful access to information requires four key elements:

  1. Information and communications access infrastructure
  2. A positive social context for use
  3. Sufficient capabilities in communities and their members
  4. A favorable legal and policy landscape

Our research indicates that an information-empowered society is better placed to create and share data which can further drive improvements in agriculture, health, economic empowerment, efficient infrastructure and innovation. However, delivering meaningful access itself will need to be a team effort. Laws, regulations, investments, and infrastructure will need to align, and global, national and local efforts will need to be coordinated. A well-supported library sector will play a major part in delivering success.

Read the report, executive summary, and fact sheet for more analysis, findings, and recommendations. Stay tuned for more materials (infographics, visualizations, datasets, etc.) from Development and Access to Information. Learn more at da2i.ifla.org.



Development and Access to Information (DA2I) is a joint project between the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the University of Washington Information School that aims to address these questions and demonstrate how access to information and libraries contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This report is the first in a series of annual Development and Access to Information reports that will monitor the impact of access to information on a number of relevant SDGs and related targets. The overall objective of these annual reports is to bring together different voices to show the importance of access to information, in all its dimensions, in promoting more socially and economically inclusive societies. In order to accomplish this, this report establishes a baseline of access to information indicators to track progress over the lifespan of the SDGs Agenda (2015-2030) and examines the different ways in which access to information and libraries are contributing to advancing the SDGs, focusing specifically on the priority areas identified by the High Level Political Forum in 2017.