FSD Bulletin

Issue 29 (1/2010)

ISSN 1795-5262

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FSD Bulletin is the electronic newsletter of the Finnish Social Science Data Archive. The Bulletin provides information and news related to the data archive and social science research.


Finnish Social Science Data Archive
E-mail: fsd@tuni.fi

Privacy Policy

Services for Internet People

Sami Borg

The Internet is a wonderful phenomenon when it works. It efficiently connects people with things they want - be it fact or fiction, work or leisure. Using the Internet at home and workplace is already so common that people do not seem to survive without it anymore. How many computers do you have in your home?

A little over 80 percent of Finns between the ages of 16 and 74 use the Internet. Six purposes of use utilised by the majority of Internet users were highlighted by the Statistic Finland's survey on the use of information and communications technology published in the autumn 2009 (n=3,000):

Purpose of Internet use %
Sending or receiving email 91
Online banking 87
Searching for information on goods and services 86
Reading online newspapers and magazines 77
Browsing travel and accommodation services 68
Searching for information related to illnesses, nutrition or health 68
Searching for information on the authorities' web pages 55

Source: Internet use stopped increasing (8 September 2009), in Finnish. Online publication: <http://www.stat.fi/til/sutivi/2009/sutivi_2009_2009-09-08_tau_001.html> [cited 1 March 2010].

Purposes related to teaching, studying and research were mentioned by Internet users less often, although searching for factual information on various things can broadly be understood as studying or learning. Actual e-learning was identified as one of the purposes of Internet use by every sixth (16%) respondent.

Specialist information services aimed at research purposes are understandably not ranked very high among nation-wide Internet usage surveys. Professional researchers and other people engaged in research do not represent a very large percentage of the adult population. In addition, online services aimed at research purposes have not generally been realised so that they would serve a wide range of customers.

However, an important future challenge for several online services related to research is to simultaneously meet the needs of professionals and a wider range of uninitiated users. This should be possible especially in the social sciences and humanities, where research questions and data interest a wide audience and are quite easy to understand when presented in the right way.