Early Impressions from Edge Initiative Beta Test Data Analysis

Although we’re still in the early stages of digesting the rich data provided to us by the 160 libraries that took the time to participate in the Edge Initiative beta test, the University of Washington team has gained some initial impressions and insights from the responses.

Benchmarks need your help

You’ve likely heard about the Edge Initiative, a collaborative effort to create benchmarks for public access technology, where benchmarks and resources combine to help libraries of all sizes drive investment and spark continuous improvement toward technology services. TechSoup is part of the effort, and we’re asking libraries to help us create resources that work for everyone.

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.

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.

You can learn a lot from a chicken

When new projects first start, often teams feel a little unsure or unclear about what they're being asked to accomplish, conjuring up Gertrude Stein's, "there's no there, there," or maybe leaning more toward Bill Clinton's "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." At any rate, let's just say in the parlance of our time that you may have been a little fuzzy, like Gertrude and Bill once were.

Creating meaningful and useful Public Access Technology benchmarks

What do you think of when you hear the word, "benchmark"? From my experience, it evokes a range of emotional and intellectual responses. For many, it can sound a bit scary, like "job security for some of us (or the ditch we die in)."

Because assessing your work is not easy

Typically, the process of organizing a webinar at TechSoup is de riguer: webinars are a large part of the services we offer, and we have a good network of experts and collaborators on whom we call to create a comprehensive and useful program. To determine what topic to cover, we listen to what libraries and nonprofits need, and this time was no different: through our work with BTOP grantees we've learned that organizations involved in broadband efforts need help crafting and implementing assessment plans. Armed with this information, we decided to put together a webinar on assessing technology projects, including training and projects related to BTOP efforts.

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