Digital libraries creating environmental identity through solving geographical problems

Chew Hung Chang*, John G. Hedberg

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)


    Environmental identity, or how we orient ourselves to the natural world, leads us to personalise abstract global issues and take action (or not) according to our sense of who we are. For example, are we willing to give up our luxurious cars for more fuel-efficient models even though we know that the earth is warming? In an era where web-based student-centred inquiry is gaining popularity as a mode of teaching and learning about environmental issues and potentially developing students' environmental identities, the role of digital libraries needs to be better understood. An obvious affordance of such a digital library is that it organises information around themes for problems to be solved. A developmental project to build a first digital library for Geographical assets (G-Portal) was undertaken to allow students to conduct a field study of an environmental problem, within a geospatial context - in this case, beach erosion and sea level rise. G-Portal not only functions as a digital library of information resources, it also provides manipulation and analytical tools that can be used with the information. This allows students to explore the information, process the information, solve the problem posed and form new understandings and reflections of their role in the natural environment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)58-72
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright 2007 Channel View Publications. Article originally published in Chang, C. H., & Hedberg, J. G. (2007) Digital libraries creating environmental identity through solving geographical problems. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 16(1), 58-72. The original article can be found at


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