digital divide - origin of the term

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 24 21:39:07 UTC 2013

Great thanks to DKB for the November 9, 1994 Nexis citation. The
excerpt included indicated that the term "digital divide" was used by
AOL CEO Steve Case with a sense emphasizing socioeconomic
stratification, in my opinion.

Special thanks to Jeff for sharing valuable information. The short and
long versions of the link (in the second message) do work for me and
lead to a PDF of "Second thoughts: toward a critique of the digital
divide" by David J. Gunkel.

There exists conflicting information about the 1995 book "The
Emperor’s Virtual Clothes" by Dinty W. Moore. Some assert that the
book contains the phrase "digital divide"; however, my email
correspondent states that the term was not used in the 1995 book:

[Begin excerpt email to GOT from M. D. Roblyer, Nova Southeastern Univ]
However, I obtained a copy of Moore's book and read the whole thing,
and it was never mentioned.
[End excerpt]

In my previous message I mentioned an article published on November 6,
1995 in the San Jose Mercury News. This article reviewed several books
including the work by Dinty W. Moore. When discussing Moore's work it
used the term "digital divide". But the reviewer did not state that
Moore used the term. Perhaps the confusion is based on misreading this

My correspondent also said the following:

[Begin excerpt email to GOT from M. D. Roblyer, Nova Southeastern Univ]
According to Hoffman and Novak (1998) from Vanderbilt, it was Lloyd
Morrisett, former president of the Markle Foundation. I emailed him
but he can find no record in his papers from that time, so he doubts
he originated it.
[End excerpt]

(The message from David K. Barnhart (DKB) is on a different thread
under the title "digital divide - JUST A BIT EARLIER")

With appreciation, Garson

On Fri, May 24, 2013 at 12:38 PM, Jeff Prucher <jprucher at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jeff Prucher <jprucher at YAHOO.COM>
> Subject:      Re: digital divide - origin of the term
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>  From: ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
>>>  Cc:
>>>  Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2013 4:41 AM
>>>  Subject: digital divide - origin of the term
>>>  An article dated 2009 at the website examined the history
>>>  of "digital divide" and included the following claim:
>>>  [Begin except]
>>>  When all of the clues are culled through, it seems that Hammond, who
>>>  today teaches law at Santa Clara University Law School, was the
>>>  co-inventor, along with NTIA Administrator Larry Irving, of the phrase
>>>  "Digital Divide." At any rate, in 1996, Newsweek Magazine named
>>>  Irving, "Conscience of the Internet," and the phrase Digital
>> Divide
>>>  found its way into speeches by Vice President, Al Gore.
>>>  [End excerpt]
>> Not much help here, but it seems that Irving publicly denied coining the term,
>> although he may have helped popularize it:
>> Someone else has done a lot of research on this, as well:
>> file://localhost/Users/jprucher/Downloads/secondthoughts.pdf
> Oops, that link won't do anyone any good. I didn't realize that my browser had actually downloaded the file. This is the link from Google's search results:
> Same link, shortened:
> Jeff
>> Jeff
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society -
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> The American Dialect Society -

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