Fast Facts

Gary Pattillo

Digital language death

Less than 5 percent of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken today will likely be adequately represented in the digital realm. Two thousand five hundred languages are generally considered endangered but, as the Internet increasingly becomes the common platform for communication, even more are threatened. There are currently fewer than 250 digitally ascending languages worldwide.

András Kornai, “Digital Language Death,” PLoS ONE 8 (10) e77056+, October 22, 2013, (retrieved April 4, 2014).

Google Maps Gallery

Google Maps Gallery enables searching for different types of maps in one place. “Maps Gallery works like an interactive, digital atlas. You can explore historic city plans, climate trends, housing affordability, shipwrecks, and up-to-date evacuation routes. In addition to finding these maps through Maps Gallery, they can be viewed in Google Earth and are discoverable through major search engines.”

Jordan Breckenridge, “Introducing Google Maps Gallery: Unlocking the World’s Maps,” Google Maps Blog, February 27, 2014, (retrieved March 28, 2014).

Teacher salaries

“Teachers’ salaries increased in real terms between 2000 and 2011 in virtually all OECD countries, but mostly remain below those of other tertiary-educated workers. Countries have to pay their teachers well if they are to achieve excellence, justifying recent trends for increased teacher salaries. Nevertheless, pay levels still remain below those of other tertiary graduates, especially in primary education, and the current financial crisis constrains additional increases, so policy makers are using targeted salary increases to address specific policy challenges.”

OECD (2014), “How Much Are Teachers Paid and How Much Does it Matter?,” Education Indicators in Focus, No. 21, April 1, 2014, OECD Publishing, doi: 10.1787/5jz6wn8xjvvh-en (retrieved April 4, 2014).

Reading comprehension

Time spent online was expected to top five hours per day in 2013 for U.S. adults. That is up from three hours in 2010. This may affect how we read for in-depth comprehension. We spend more time scanning, searching for key words, and scrolling than we do reading linearly. It may be affecting our ability to comprehend long sentences with multiple clauses, such as those found in novels and other long textual pieces.

Michael S. Rosenwald, “Serious Reading Takes a Hit from Online Scanning and Skimming, Researchers Say,” April 6, 2014, The Washington Post, (retrieved April 9, 2014).

Public school racial disparities

Eighty-one percent of Asian American students and 71 percent of white students attend high schools where the full range of math and science courses (Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, calculus, biology, chemistry, and physics) is offered. However, less than half of American Indian and Native Alaskan students in high school have access to the full range of math and science courses. Black students (57 percent), Hispanic students (67 percent), English learners (65 percent), and students with disabilities (63 percent) also have less access to the full range of courses.

U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, “Civil Rights Data Collection: Data Snapshot (College and Career Readiness),” Issue Brief No. 3, March 21, 2014, (retrieved April 9, 2014).

Copyright 2014© American Library Association

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