benchmark

Thoughts on the Edge benchmarks from Colorado

Last month in Philadelphia, the Edge Coaltion had plenty of opportunities to learn what librarians and staff from libraries big and small thought about the benchmarks being created to support public access technology.

How do you turn a negative into a positive?

If you've ever been involved in creating something the public sees or uses, you know how setting it free feels: you're vulnerable, you want others to believe in it, to see what you see, you want positive feedback. For me, I want to know what people think. To really know, even if it's negative, because that's important information I can use.

Kick it. Benchmarks get more input.

At a recent ALA MidWinter session on the Edge Initiative, Larra Clark from ALA OITP ended her remarks with, "the benchmarks are meant to be kicked. So kick it." Thus launched a focus group exercise where approximately 50 attendees were asked to provide feedback to a draft set of public access technology benchmarks.

The benchmarks: what will get you to Yes?

TechSoup Global has been working on the Public Access Technology Benchmarks project for over a year now, and we're excited to share what we've learned, and what we hope will be useful tools for the library community.

Why use benchmarks?

As TechSoup and the other agencies working on the public access technology benchmark initiative get feedback and refine the benchmarks, the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) is doing a lot of work to document the process.

Societal Impacts of Digital Exclusion

Recently I was asked to comment on the importance of digital technologies from the perspective of local governments, which led me to think philosophically.

Benchmarks, from PLA's perspective

Earlier this year, the Public Library Association joined 12 other organizations to develop public access technology benchmarks. The group is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Urban Libraries Council is serving as the facilitating organization. Members of the group have been working very hard examining the history and roles of benchmarking and thinking about what sort of common, measurable services libraries offer. The purpose of the benchmarks is to develop a tool that libraries can use to quantify their public access services and to give libraries a common language in talking about these services to local decision makers.

Benchmarks could be the trick to getting the support we need

I have to be honest, when I first heard about the Benchmark project I was a little circumspect. In my experience, most people don’t even know what the definition of a “benchmark” really is and it is often misconstrued as a goal or an objective. While benchmarks do work with goals and objectives, and even, *said in a whisper* strategic plans, they are by definition different. A benchmark is an industry standard or point of reference against which things may be compared or assessed. For example, a company wishing to improve would look to another company that is setting the industry standard in terms of development, quality, or service, and use that company’s success as a benchmark for setting their own goals.

Working a framework: benchmarks are a process.

Along with TechSoup, the ALA Office for Technology Information Policy (OITP) is one of the thirteen organizations working to develop a beta set of national public access technology benchmarks for public libraries. We’d like to thank Sarah for the opportunity to introduce ourselves and share some of our thoughts and experiences from working on this project.

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