Obsolescence: A Technology Primer for Administrators

October 1, 2000

Obsolescence concerns almost everyone involved with or interested in technology. Consumers worry that if they buy something now, something better and cheaper will come out tomorrow. Industry worries whether people will buy current products or if they will wait. Users worry that every time they get to the point of being able to use the technology, something new will appear that they don't understand. And advocates worry that poor people will get out-of-date technology or none at all.

The key obsolescence issue is information, or more accurately, the lack of information. A computer with very little memory may indeed be obsolete and need to be replaced, or it may just be in need of a relatively inexpensive memory upgrade. Too often community organizations don't have access to this necessary technical knowledge. Nor do they have the assistance to help them judge if something is really obsolete, if it just needs a quick fix, or if it is actually fine the way it is.

This brief guide is meant to serve as a primer to administrators in how to make judgments about technology buys and other ways to lessen the fear and threat of obsolete technology.


Tom Kibler
Patricia Campbell