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partnerships:articles:oden [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +Rural Lincolnshire gets connected
 +=================================
 +
 +\
 + By [Clive Redshaw,​](mailto:​NKDC@nkdcuucp.dircon.co.uk)
 +NKDC@nkdcuucp.dircon.co.uk\
 +
 +\
 +
 +-   [Back to the Guide to Community Internet](../​pubs/​guide)
 +-   ​[Rural communities and the Internet](rurall) - a survey by Moira
 +    K Stone
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +Stumbling forward
 +-----------------
 +
 +If you know where Lincolnshire is then North Kesteven is the bit in the
 +middle just south of Lincoln. It is attractive but sparsely populated
 +with less than one person per hectre. Its strength is the communities
 +which make up the whole. There is a clear sense of local identity, of
 +people working together. The pressures are, however, real and familiar,
 +local shops and services are closing, public transport is very limited,
 +youth unemployment is high, there are few cultural opportunities and
 +local firms feel physically isolated.
 +
 +### Enter ODEN (The Open District Electronic Network)
 +
 +The system, developed through a feasibility study undertaken by the
 +National Enterprise Centre at Stoneleigh, offers a District Internet.
 +Employing [FirstClass](oden) client software the
 +system runs on servers based at one centre with local call charge access
 +from any part of the area.\
 +\
 + It sets out to offer simplicity low costs, easy access, accountable
 +local control and be fun!\
 +\
 + The theory is not that the system will solve all the problems of the
 +area but that it will give access to information in a way that makes
 +location irrelevant and draw on the skills and talents of those living
 +here to support one another.\
 +\
 + The system is now quietly live, with emphasis initially on getting
 +parish councils on board. Supported by grant aid for computer purchase,
 +for some this is a leap into new technology everyone is, however, facing
 +some gritty issues in working out how to abandon paper technology. The
 +real benefits will start as the local councils start to use bulletin
 +boards to share problems and find solutions, they do not yet realise how
 +powerful and resouceful they will be as a collective group.\
 +\
 + The success of the system will depend on it being inclusive, different
 +users will come onto the system for different reasons but the strength
 +will be in the depth of the community and the unexpected links.\
 +\
 + As well as promoting other user groups the aim next year will be to
 +promote simple practical database applications,​ a system to search to
 +establish who else is planning flower festivals on your chosen June
 +weekend and to then chose an alternative date, a joint marketing
 +campaign or sabotage would be a typical local application.\
 +\
 + While some of this database development will be done professionally,​
 +schools will also be involved in the process encouraging them to develop
 +databases on behalf of others as well as creating short live systems of
 +their own.\
 +\
 + Not everyone in the district will have access to computers, so
 +provision of public access points is a key part of the system. The aim
 +is to test a range of models. These will vary from a full blown Rural
 +Technology Centre, already opened, a sharing arrangement with a parish
 +council office to a shop within a village shop idea.\
 +\
 + It is early days, and everyone is still tolerant and enthusiastic,​
 +there is a sense for the team involved that we need to do everything at
 +once to ensure that the new users find a system that reqards their
 +involvement in it. There is also a need to try to think laterally about
 +the way the system can be used, a football fixture list for village
 +clubs is a hot favourite. The next steps will be to explore ways in
 +which the system can be structured to support media applications
 +particulary to promote use by young people and the use of the system for
 +shopping.\
 +\
 + ​[Clive Redshaw](mailto:​NKDC@nkdcuucp.dircon.co.uk)\
 + Head of Economic and Community Development\
 + North Kesteven District Council\
 +\
 + ​FirstClass software, used on bulletin board systems, is produced by
 +[SoftArc Inc](http://​www.softarc.com/​)\
 +
  
partnerships/articles/oden.txt ยท Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)