Connected: For the purposes of this report, the term “connected” refers to venues that have public access computers (with or without internet access). Telecenters and cybercafés are inherently “connected,” whereas public libraries (especially in low-income countries) do not by default have computers for public use. In these cases, reference is made to “connected libraries,” to distinguish them from public libraries that do not offer computer and internet access to the general public.
Cybercafé: Cybercafés are profit-oriented organizations that provide computer and internet access to the general public for a fee. In this study, the term includes organizations that provide only computer access without internet access. (Note that in some countries the line between cybercafés and other types of venues is blurred due to differences in nomenclature and venue organization.)
Information and communication technologies (ICTs): References in this report to ICTs at public access venues refer to computers both with and without internet access. Other types of ICTs, such as mobile phones, are not included in this definition.
Impacts, effects, and outcomes: The terms “impact” and “effect” are used interchangeably for the purpose of this report. “Outcomes” are steps in a progression of activities leading to impact. For example, searching for employment information, finding employment information, writing a resume, and applying for a job are all outcomes that contribute to impacts in Employment & Income. Impacts (or effects) are broken into first-order and second-order effects. In the context of this study:
First-order effects relate primarily to gaining physical access to ICTs and addressing digital divides with respect to information access and digital literacy.
Second-order effects refer to ICTs’ influence on people’s lives, in the study’s domains of focus – Communications & Leisure, Culture & Language, Education, Employment & Income, Governance, and Health.
Impact categories: Impact categories are 13 areas in which the study seeks survey respondents’ views on whether or not they have experienced some impact. In contrast to the generality of impact domains, impact categories are narrower and in most cases are subsets of the broader impact domain. For example, the impact categories of access to employability services and sending or receiving remittances fall under the Employment & Income domain.
Impact domains: These are the broad areas in which the study explicitly sets out to identify impacts: Culture & Language, Education, Employment & Income, Governance, and Health. These five “priority” domains are typically of paramount interest to governments and international development agencies. Communications & Leisure is also included here as a high‐level domain, although debates persist as to whether the uses associated with this domain constitute legitimate developmental activities.
Communications & Leisure: The Communications & Leisure domain covers the recreational, interpersonal communication and social interaction aspects of people’s lives. It includes activities such as contacting friends and family, playing games, and pursuing hobbies.
Culture & Language: The Culture & Language domain relates to participation in the creation and maintenance of community, national, or other type of identity. It includes activities such as searching for cultural events and producing online content in local languages.
Employment & Income: The Employment & Income domain relates to the income-generating sphere of people’s lives. It includes elements such as overall income, access to employability services, searching and applying for jobs, and sending or receiving remittances.
Education: The Education domain covers formal and informal educational undertakings. It includes activities related to formal education such as taking a class, applying for admission, or doing homework, as well as less institutionalized activities such as general information searches on topics of personal interest.
Governance: The Governance domain is narrowly defined to apply to the provision and use of government services. It includes activities such as finding and accessing online government services.
Health: The Health domain refers to health and wellbeing. It includes elements such as searching for information about a medical condition, finding a doctor, and using online health services.
Infomediary: A person who combines a set of technological resources and coaching skills to provide an interface between users and information resources, such as librarians, telecenter staff, and cybercafé employees.
LAN: Local area network. A computer network that interconnects computers in a limited area, such as a school, library, or office building.
Public libraries: In the context of this study, “libraries” refers to non-profit libraries that offer computer access, with or without internet, to the general public. Private libraries that restrict computer and internet services to select audiences are not included in this definition.
Poverty line: All poverty lines referred to in this report are country-specific and not adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) or any other normalization. They were provided by the local research teams and are based on the national definitions of poverty in each country at the time of the survey. For a list of the poverty lines as defined by each country, see Appendix 2.
Priority populations: Priority populations are those groups of people typically identified as being of policy importance to reach through public access venues. They include, for example, people of lower socioeconomic status (implying lower education as well as lower income), females, youth, older people, and rural residents.
Private access: “Private” in this context, contrasted with “public” (see below), does not refer to private ownership or funding but rather to access in a private setting, such as home, school, or a workplace closed to the public.
Public access venue: The term “public” in “public access” refers to the characteristic of venues that are open to the public and do not have restrictions on who can use them. “Public” as used in this report does NOT refer to a venue’s legal status or source of funding (i.e., it does not indicate governmental support). For the purposes of this report, “public access venues” refers to facilities with substantial, and usually visible, ICT presences. In addition to traditional cybercafés and telecenters, this category would include (for example) a coffee shop with a large number of computers connected to the internet. However, a restaurant with one computer in a corner would not be included, as its ICT service provision would not be substantial.
Rural: The designation of a venue as rural or urban is based on the official country definitions, as provided by the research teams. See Appendix 2 for a list of the definitions of urban and rural.
Telecenter: The generic name given to places that offer ICT access to the general public, usually associated with serving some social objective. Although generally not-for-profit, they tend to operate as commercial entities pursuing financial self-sustainability. Note that in some countries the line between telecenters and other types of venues is blurred due to differences in nomenclature and venue organization.