Key Terms and Definitions

The terms below are used throughout the Facilitation Leading Practices documentation, and often with definitions specific to their context within the documentation. To establish consistent interpretations of these terms across various sections and chapters, we define the terms as follows.

an individual working directly with researchers and/or other scholars with a personalized approach to enhance their ACI capabilities for transformative impacts to scholarship. (See also, Introduction > What is Facilitation?). Throughout the Facilitation Leading Practices documentation, we use the capitalized form of the noun in order to distinguish our definition of Facilitator from more generic definitions of facilitator.
the practice of enhancing a researcher’s own capabilities in using ACI for transformative impacts to scholarship products. (See also, Introduction > What is Facilitation?.)
(Advanced Cyberinfrastructure - Research and Education Facilitators)
(1) a Facilitator directly affiliated with the NSF-sponsored project of the same name, or
(2) the NSF-sponsored collaboration of multiple institutions invested in the professional development of Facilitators in support of cyberinfrastructure scholarship. Throughout the Facilitation Leading Practices, we strive to clarify which entity is referred to by using more specific language, such as “ACI-REF project”, “ACI-REF institutions”, or “an ACI-REF”.
(advanced cyberinfrastructure)
information technology (IT) hardware, software, and human resources to be leveraged together as infrastructure with formal support. The use of these elements is more specialized or “advanced” as compared to information technology for generalizable activities such as email, document creation/sharing, desktop/laptop provisioning and support, etc. See also “ACI resource”. “ACI” may be used as a noun, but is more often used as a descriptor for more specific nouns, as in “ACI resource”, “ACI staff”, “ACI provider”, etc., as described below
ACI resource or service
a specific human (Facilitator, systems administrator, etc.), software (user applications, middleware, configuration), or hardware element in support of ACI, or to groupings of these elements in support of a specific ACI capability. Such resources and/or services will typically be available to users that are external to the service provider. For example, a research computing service may be thought of as a collective ACI resource for research computing, including the hardware, configuration, scheduling middleware, attached data storage, available applications, administration, and human support.
ACI resource types or categories
various natural or informal groupings of ACI resources, as they pertain to specific types of cyberinfrastructure needs. For example, the following might each be thought of as ACI resource categories: research computing services, networking and data transfer infrastructure, data storage/sharing services (not directly associated with research computation). Importantly, these and other types of ACI resources need not be mutually exclusive.
ACI system
a specific ACI resource consisting only of hardware and software deliberately configured to meet specified user needs; for example, a research computing cluster, a building network or campus network backbone, a specific file system or archival data store, or a pool of virtual servers
ACI organization or provider
the entity responsible for providing a specific set of ACI resources or services, which may pertain to a specific type or category (such as “research computing”, see below) or to multiple categories of support within the same entity
ACI staff or personnel
the team of human support for a given ACI system, resource, or provider, whose affiliation will be made clear with additional context
research computing
an ACI resource or group of coordinated resources available to meet the computational needs of researchers, usually in a “large-scale” approach to take advantage of additional CPU and memory capacities. Physical resources within research computing services often include server-based clusters and filesystems that are managed by a centralized service provider and team of staff. Because the ACI-REF program includes Facilitators who are most-closely associated with centralized research computing service providers, many of the examples in the Facilitation Leading Practices documentation are explained within the context of common approaches for supporting research computing on campuses.
activities that promote awareness of ACI resources, service providers, and/or systems to encourage interest in pursuing them. (See Outreach for more details and examples.)
meetings with one to several researchers to discuss ACI needs, recommend appropriate next steps in an ACI Plan, provide personalized orientation to any ACI resources, follow up and/or establish relevant opportunities for assistance and learning (See Engagement with Researchers for more details and examples.)
ACI plan
a set of recommendations from a Facilitator to establish the overall approach for leveraging relevant ACI resources, as well as the next immediate steps and contributions from ACI staff, following an engagement with a researcher(s). (See Education and Training of Researchers for more details and examples.)
the processes of orientation and initial ramp-up in abilities for either (1) researchers new to using an ACI resource or service, or (2) newly hired Facilitators. (See Getting Established for more details and examples of the second case.)
support for users of ACI resources, provided via a variety of communication pathways (email, office hours, meetings, etc.) by Facilitators, though sometimes also by other ACI staff. (See Assisting Researchers in the Use of ACI Resources for more details and examples.)
learning materials or events with the goal of providing information on concepts and capabilities regarding a particular topic, typically without the use of hands-on examples. (See Education and Training of Researchers for more details and examples.)
learning materials or events with the goal of teaching specific skills and practices, typically with workable, hands-on examples. (See Education and Training of Researchers for more details and examples.)