SeniorSurf in Norway

Since the United Nation’s ‘International Year of Older Persons’ in 1999, a Senior- Surf Day has been arranged in Norway. People over 55 years old are invited to a meeting place equipped with computers, where competent instructors give an introduction to searching the Internet. The aim is to narrow the digital gap between the generations by giving instruction to seniors with little or no previous experience of computers and the Internet.

Here in Norway Seniornett.no has been the prime mover and among other things publishes its own SeniorSurf newspaper offering a mixture of instructive material and reports on seniors’ use of the Internet. The newspaper contains simple terms, useful tips and also tests and problems which readers can attempt to solve.

In order to gain the interest of the media, a nation-wide campaign is arranged every year on one particular day in October. A gradual increase has been seen in the number of meeting places participating. Unlike Sweden, where the prime mover is the Swedish Library Association itself, in Norway each individual library is responsible for its own participation. Nevertheless, of all the meeting places taking part in 2003, no less than 64% were libraries. In 2004 111 out of 180 were libraries.

SeniorSurf Day receives funding from the state grants given to Seniornett by the Ministry of Education and Research and by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

5th anniversary
2004 will mark the fifth anniversary of this nation-wide campaign. Response from the centres in 2003 showed that fewer first-time participants turned up, which would seem to indicate a tendency among local organisers to focus greater attention upon the slightly more-experienced surfer.

Our aims on SeniorSurf Day in 2004 include starting at least 50 new SeniorSurf clubs throughout the country.

Translated by Eric Deverill

Adviser, Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority and project leader for ‘Ønskebok’ in its development phase