Click one of the letters above to advance the page to terms beginning with that letter.


211 service

A community information access point that refers individuals to health and human services organizations.



Refers to computer skills of patrons or level of technology questions. This is often the highest of all levels.

Assistive technology

Assistive technology (AT) includes assistive, adaptive, or rehabilitative technology used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions with technology that might otherwise be difficult or impossible.




Questions or statements measured as "yes" or "no" under each indicator outlined in the Edge Benchmarks that provide additional detail on what activities need to be implemented in order to accomplish the indicator.



The speed at which data is transmitted or downloaded from the Internet, which can often be found in the library’s contract with its Internet service provider. This is usually measured in bits per second (bps) or megabits per second (Mbps).


Refers to computer skills of patrons or level of technology questions. This is often the lowest of all levels.


Benchmarks are goal statements. The Edge Assessment consists of 11 benchmarks, which represent aspirational resource and service standards to promote excellence in public access technology service delivery in libraries.


Cold spares

Additional working public computer equipment (which may include desktop or laptop computers, netbooks, or mobile devices) that function primarily as replacements to downed devices. The equipment is kept powered down, or "cold," until needed and are readily available to library staff.

Community forum

An open exchange of ideas, information, and feedback among community members, often in the form of meetings, bulletin boards, or messages that are open to the public.

Community-based organization(s)

A non-profit organization that supports individuals and the local community with social welfare, educational, health, and civic engagement programs. CBOs may include health clinics, after school programs, elder day care centers, refugee services agencies, or political clubs; a CBO is not a government agency.


Refers to the Internet connection status and the amount of bandwidth being delivered at each library location.

Content inventory

A comprehensive list of content (e.g. text, documents, pages, audio and video files) that is found on a given website.


Development environment

A dedicated virtual space where new software is staged to be learned, tested, or set up before being made available to the public. Examples include testing new applications or familiarizing staff with new library information systems.

Digital content

Digitized resources and original online content presented online which is found either within the library’s web space or at third-party sites linked to the library’s web space.

Digital inclusion

Promoting digital literacy skills, increasing access to information and communication technologies, and provding relevant and culturally appropriate resources to enable all to benefit from information technologies.


Digital literacy

The ability to effectively and critically navigate, evaluate and create information using a range of digital technologies.



Early literacy games

Games designed to help new readers learn literacy skills such as differentiating letters and words, developing phonological awareness, increasing vocabulary, and/or developing comprehension.

Educational testing

Exams students must take in order to pass educational benchmarks or apply for higher education, such as SAT, GRE, GMAT, and TOEFL.

eGovernment resources

Digital resources pertaining to local, state, and federal government that can usually be found online or downloaded from the Internet.


Focus group

A small group (no more than 10-15 people) recruited to be representative of the library's community that is asked questions to generate discussion and feedback about public technology.

Full time equivalent

A unit of measure that indicates the workload of an employee even if the actual hours worked do not signify official full time status.



Indicators provide detail, showing what benchmarks "look like" in action. These are the statements listed under each of the 11 Edge Benchmarks and measure progress toward achieving a benchmark.

interactive language learning tool

A computer-based program that offers language instruction through collaboration with native speakers over the Internet, such as Mango or Livemocha.


Refers to computer skills of patrons or level of technology questions. Intermediate computer skills are higher than basic and below advanced levels.


An Internet service provider (ISP) is a company that provides Internet access to library locations. Service from the ISP may come from DSL, broadband wireless, cable modem, satellite, or fiber to the library.



A computer that is portable and suitable for mobile use. They are sometimes called notebook computers or notebooks.


Levels are part of the evaluation tool of Edge. Each level represents how much time and resources library staff need to implement a recommendation, with Level 1 being the minimum acceptable and Level 3 being the highest possible.

Local elected governing body

A governing body such as a city council or board of trustees that are elected at the town or county level. It is usually the lowest level of the government hierarchy for a given location.


A physical library site that is open to the public. Locations are also commonly known as outlets or branches, and include central libraries or main branches. Bookmobiles, library service centers or administrative buildings that are not open to the public are not considered locations for the purposes of the assessment.

Lockdown software

Lockdown software is a software program that is installed on computers, laptops and other devices to prevent system configuration changes by users.


Master image

A special backup of a computer with default software configurations and operating system settings that can be copied easily to multiple computers to speed up mass computer installations. It also allows for easy reconfigurations of computers and devices and prevents public users from changing system configurations.

Medical databases

Subscription content containing access to full-text research articles. Examples include MedLine or Consumer Health Complete; websites with health content, like WebMD or Yahoo! Health, are not considered medical databases.


Needs assessment

Used as part of the library planning process, this systematic procedure identifies strengths and resources of a community, determines the potential challenges it faces, and prioritizes future action.

Network traffic

The type and rate of data being sent on a computer network. Data is sent, and thus measured in, packets.


Office productivity software

Software installed on computers that is used in typical office tasks, such as word processing, spreadsheet analysis, and preparing presentations. Examples of such software include Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) or Libre Office. Internet access that results in use of free cloud computing resources such as Google Docs does not meet the criteria.



A single unit of data sent across a network. Packets include the type of information being sent (e.g., part of an email or part of a request for a website) and sender and receiver IP addresses. One email, or one website request, is comprised of many data packets, which is what is measued in network traffic.


A piece of software designed to fix problems with, or update, a computer program. Patches often involve fixing security issues, software bugs, or performance issues, and are commonly issued on an ongoing basis as users or testers find problems with a computer program.

Patron-owned devices

Mobile devices owned by library patrons such as eReaders, iPods, tablets, or smartphones. These devices may be used in the library and/or to access library resources.

Petting zoo

A collection of technology devices available for patron to try out, usually in the context of a program or event.

Photo editing software

Software that has advanced features to edit photos or other images, such as editing in layers, converting file formats, or applying custom brushes or filters.

Portable storage devices

A device that stores data for transporting from computer to computer. Examples include USB (thumb) drives, external hard drives, and memory cards from cameras or smartphones.


In the context of library practices, privacy refers to both electronic protection from theft of personal data while using public computers and Internet connections, as well as physical privacy from other patrons.


Supervising an exam on behalf of a patrons. Often related to distance learning.

Public computer

Refers to a single, publicly-available Internet-enabled computer. This may be a desktop computer or thin client. Computers used solely as OPAC terminals do not count in this context.

Public services staff

Staff who have responsibilities that involve interaction with the public. Pages, shelvers, custodians, security guards and others whose public services duties are generally limited to directional interactions with patrons should not be included as a public services staff member.

Purpose area

The four categories of patron use included in the Edge benchmarks: workforce development, eGovernment, education, and health & wellness.


Refresh cycle

The length of time that passes between installations of new enterprise hardware and software.


Screen readers

A form of assistive technology (AT) used to identify and interpret screen displays (including visible text and images with alternate text tags) into other formats accessible to people with visual disabilities.


In the context of patron training, refers to tools and practices used to prevent unauthorized access of personal data by third parties.

Selects and organizes

The practice of deliberate collection development and organization for resources posted on the library's website.


The block of time during which a patron is using a public access computer or wireless network.

Session management software

Software used to reserve public computers, implement time management of patron sessions, and manage logon/logoff operations for public computers and wireless networks.

Social media

Internet-based applications where users create, share, and/or exchange in virtual communities and networks. Examples include Facebook and Twitter.

Speed test

An application that sends test files over a network to your computer, measures the time required for it to successfully download, and calculates from this the speed of your connection (bandwidth), usually in megabits per second (Mbps).

Subscription content

Information or services coming from paid electronic resources, often as a database or service portal. Examples include Ebsco, Freegal, Learning Express, and Lynda.


Questionnaires completed by patrons or community members to gather feedback about library resources and services.


Technology competencies

The knowledge and skills required to successfully help patrons with their technology needs.

Technology management plan

Documented policies, practices, and goals for using technology to further the library mission. Technology management plans include network management policies and practices, hardware and software refresh cycles, electronic privacy policies, security protocols, maintenance schedules, and recovery protocols in the event of a catastrophic system failure.


Usage reports

Reports about how patrons are using library resources, often regarding subscription content. These reports have information about the number of unique users, searches per user, and other analytics that enable librarians to optimize technology services.



W3C stands for the World Wide Web Consortium. It is made up of member organizations that work on developing standards for the world wide web.

Web analytics

The measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of web traffic (the data sent and received by visitors to a website). It includes such information as amount of time spent on a website, country of origin for those accessing a website, and most popular pages and search terms. This information can be used to assess and improve a website.

Web Applications

Software installed on computers that run applications through web browsers. Examples include Java, JavaScript, and Flash.

Web development software

Software used to create websites using a more user-friendly WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor which then is converted to code that can be read by web browsers. Examples include Dreamweaver and CoffeeCup.