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Wild Wild WEB : Wildlife enthusiasts' use of the Internet

Geelhoed, Erik

HPL-2002-248

Keyword(s): user studies; e-learning; hobbyists; wildlife; conservation

Abstract: ARKive is a web site on endangered species. We describe e-learning aspects of wildlife enthusiasts, consisting of two (overlapping) segments: conservationists and general public wildlife enthusiasts. Both segments are passionate about wildlife and conservation issues, with conservationists being most passionate. Conservationists have used the Internet longer and also use email more. Work is still the main place to access Internet but 90% of the conservationists also have Internet at home. Most find information through specific searches, rather than visiting a familiar website, entering simple and general keywords. The Internet is seen as an awesome source of references whilst at the same time it is taken for granted. Although they are critical, people are not cynical about information on the Internet. They trust known and respected sites. Most people are hesitant about partaking in forums or chat groups and prefer email. Almost a quarter of the combined sample regularly downloads video and this much more Internet experienced group has a faster connection at home, look for wildlife information more often, are more likely to use chat groups, download photographs and they are more likely to use search engines. Potentially there is a large audience for a site like ARKive, consisting of motivated and experienced Internet users with a passion for conservation and wildlife issues.

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