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The Guide to Community Internet

This Guide to Community Internet is a collection of articles provided by authors as a basis for the forthcoming publication 'How to use IT in the community', due for publication in summer 1997. Contact David Wilcox with comments or contributions. Draft introduction for the booklet


The basics of Getting Connected

Internet basics Peter Mason explains the Internet, email, World Wide Web and much more. What it costs to get online. Mark Walker, Communications Officer for PACT Community Projects in Sussex, investigated the costs of getting online for his organisation. The Internet beyond the Web. Philippa Gamse Philippa Gamse, who works in Britain and the US advising businesses and voluntary organisations on use of the Internet, finds she needs to remind both newcomers and existing users there is more to it than the World Wide Web.

The benefits of Getting Connected

What use it the Internet? by Mark Walker Mark Walker, Communications Officer for PACT Community Projects, offers a personal overview of what the Internet can offer one particular community organisation. The community benefits of electronic networking, by Peter Day Researcher Peter Day, of Brighton University, identifies areas where electronic networks may help support human networks and combat social exclusion - provided there is sufficient access and support. The benefits of getting online, by Michael Mulquin Michael Mulquin, of the Aston Charities Community Involvement Unit in Newham and Communities Online, offers an assessment of some of the basic advantages of going online. Family fun and learning on the Net, by Jane Mitra Using the Internet can be very liberating for parents with small children: they are no longer confined to services within easy travelling distance; they can find information, entertainment, training and advice; they can make networks of contacts across the world cheaply and easily; and they can set up wonderful learning experiences for their children on some of the many excellent educational Web sites now available. Government plans electronic information for all , by David Wilcox Government aims to promote the use of online information services to the point where this is 'the preferred option for the majority of government's customers (both citizens and businesses)' The advantages of online advice, by Gareth Morgan Gareth Morgan, Managing Director, Ferret Information Systems, explains the benefits of information systems using new technologies. Opportunities for work and learning, by Maggie Holgate There is enormous scope for online tutorials in job search skills, creating CVs and so on, but there is also potential to use the Internet as a delivery medium to teach new skills which will make people more employable in the 21st century. Email as a tool for campaigning, by Ed Schwartz US activist and community networker Ed Schwartz recently wrote a book on the use of the Internet for campaigning. In Ed's view the most basic Internet tools are the most useful. A cry for help answered on the Internet, by Mark Walker The idea of offering counselling over the Internet was first piloted at the end of 1994, with the full system launched in May 1995. It has proved highly successful - and provided a new avenue for The Samaritans' work. The benefits of Email for community business, by Kay Caldwell Community businesses - like their for profit equivalents - need to communicate locally and globally. Kay Caldwell of the National Network of Community Business explains how the benefits of the Internet became apparent. Funding advice on the Web, by Jo Habib FunderFinder, a small national charity, has produced software for grant-makers since 1991. Jo Habib describes what they considered in going on the Web. Rural life and learning benefits from the Internet, by Moira K Stone Rural communities can suffer from lack of shops and entertainment, health and other services, plus high costs of travel. Jobs may be scarce and irregular. Can IT help? Moira Stone surveyed the field and found solutions on several fronts. Teletrade offers communities an economic safety net, by Horace Mitchell Individuals can benefit from teleworking, but successful communities will need teletrade - doing business over networks - says Horace Mitchell of the European Telework Development Initiative. UK plc can't afford a generation of information have nots, by Chris Yapp Two issues dominate discussion about the Information Society: how to develop a globally competitive workforce, and how to ensure 'have nots' aren't excluded. We can have both if we use IT for lifelong learning, says Chris Yapp, Managing Consultant, ICL Lifelong Learning. Cyberskills open new opportunities in South Bristol, by Sally Abram South Bristol Learning Network is one of the pioneers in bringing the benefits of new technology to communities lacking jobs and opportunities to develop new skills. Sally Abram, their Head of Information & PR, reports on some of their successes - some with businesess, some in education, some in the voluntary and community sectors. New networks may help tackle old problems, by Stephen Wilson How can the Internet benefit ordinary people and improve their quality of life? Here is a personal perspective from Stephen Wilson, a former senior BT manager whose career has embraced many aspects of customer service, network and information systems strategy. Why the Internet is important to local communities, by Richard Stubbs One of the best ways to promote local use of the Internet is to run events explaining the benefits. This is a summary of a presentation made by Richard Stubbs, of UK Communities Online to the Marchant seminar in Neham in October 1996. Artists create virtual galleries Artists are using the Internet to promote their work and research projects by Jane Mitra, of Life with Technology.

The issues you will face

Is the Internet a cause for concern? by Delia Venables Delia Venables - an independent computer consultant specialising in computers for solicitors - examines some of the social. legal and political issues that cause people concern about the Internet. Richard Stubbs distinguishes freedom of speech from room for dissent on an information system How porn is transmitted through Usenet - and options for control, by David Newman Turning information overload into useful knowledge, by Jan Wyllie Email and World Wide Web have great attractions - but the sheer volume of information can become intimidating. Jan Wyllie offers some solutions. Children and censorship, by Jane Mitra Parental responsibility for use of the Internet cannot be avoided as an issue in families. By having a computer with Internet access in a family area of the home instead of, for example, in a child's bedroom or a workroom, not only can parents supervise access, they are also on hand to deal with any problems or queries a child may have. Notes to a novice. Peter Durrant offers some hard-won experience of getting started on the Net.

Promoting awareness and access

Seeing IT is believing, by Sara Gowen IT and the Internet don't make much sense to newcomers unless there is an opportunity for 'hands on' experience. Sara Gowan describes how Community Links and the Burley Lodge Centre ran a demonstration about 'Making Computers work for the Community', and the lessons they learned. Using Cybercafes as a community resource.Mark Walker reports that many Cybercafes have moved beyond simply providing access to the Net. Providing parents with information about new technology, by Jacquie Disney and Maggie Holgate Parents Information Network (PIN) is an independent organisation for parents who want to enter the information age with their children. It gives support and advice to parents about technology, so it is appropriate that PIN itself should be exploring new technology in the form of the Internet. Jacquie Disney and Maggie Holgate explain how PIN is going about it. How a community group developed their own Internet guide, by Veronica Frazier and John Cox The Bede Island Community Association (BICA) is an umbrella organisation with 60 members operating in the Leicester City Challenge area. BICA wanted to show members and anyone else interested how useful the Internet might be, so volunteers Veronica Frazier and John Cox carried out some research for a demonstration. Overcoming scepticism in Nottingham, by Jem Woolley It can take some effort to overcome suspicion about new technology. Groups in Nottingham are now taking a positive view.

Providing training and support

CyberSkills - training for citizens in the digital economy, by Johanna Nicholls The CyberSkills Association, based in Bristol, was founded in 1996 to support a network of locally owned, licensed and quality assured CyberSkills Development Agencies. It is a not for private profit company, limited by guarantee. Multi-media? Make mine a quilt, by Morris Williams University computer experts planning to help community groups in Bristol use multimedia thought lack of ideas might be a problem. Quite the reverse: projects now include autobiographical quilts and telling the story of a community through an interactive map. Who can help with Community Internet, by Peter Mason There are some specialist organisations who can help those interested in the community use of IT along the the road to getting on-line. These organisations are usually run on a not-for-profit basis, and offer a range of services for the voluntary sector from free advice through to a full selection of Internet tools and services.

Networking your organisation

Think before you connect, by Paul Ticher Voluntary organisations often approach a technical expert for help with their computer system. Paul Ticher - who worked as an adviser on IT to non-profit organisations for nearly fifteen years - suggests there are other issues to consider first.

Networking your community

Just do it - advice from a US networker, by Steve Snow Steve Snow is the Director of the award-winning Charlotte's Web. Here he writes an open letter to UK networkers. Seven steps to building electronic communities, by Philippa Gamse and Terry Grunwald There are hundreds of community networks in North America, and growing interest in the UK in how to create them. Here Philippa Gamse and Terry Grunwald, who have long experience of US community IT projects, provide a checklist. Factors for success in community networking, by Debbie Ellen Debbie Ellen is researching factors for success in creating and running community networks - so she invited practitioners to add their criteria through email discussions in the UK and US. Here is a summary of their brainstorming. Who's who in providing community information, by David Miller David Miller of the Department of Information Studies, Sheffield University, developed the first Web site listing UK community information networks. Here he distinguishes the different types of site under development. Keeping people in touch and up to date, by Linda Doyle Manchester Community Information Network provides public access points with constantly updated local information - including one in the Asda Superstore. They do this, says project manager Linda Doyle, by ensuring information providers are responsible for their content and answering public enquiries. Newnet and community networking in Newcastle upon Tyne . Geoff Walker explains how he is working within the City Council to provide an information resource and system for the voluntary sector. Craigmillar - a community development approach to cyberspace, by Dr Andrew MacDonald Rousseau, in his CONFESSIONS, sardonically mused that, “it is never any good foreseeing the future,” for he had, “never known how to avoid it.” Yet in a world of rapid technological change it would be unwise to sleepwalk blindly past the opportunities presented by the Information Society. That recognition informed the thinking behind the creation of Craigmillar Community Information Service in 1994, says its manager Dr Andrew McDonald. How volunteer enthusiasts created a town's Community Network, by Chris Studman Community information networks do not have to be started by councils or even voluntary organisations. Chris Studman explains how one Midlands network was started by grassroots enthusiasts. Rural Lincolnshire concentrates on communication, by Clive Redshaw Most local authorities creating local informatrion systems choose Web publishing. North Kesteven decided on a more interactive approach as their Head of Economic and Community Development explains. Electronic networking can help support the 'third sector', by Mike Powell Sheffield's Open Information Project doesn't claim to be a community network. Its aim is establish an electronic information network which will be cheap, easy to use and of direct benefit to the work of “third sector” - voluntary and social economy - organisations in Sheffield. Promoting electronic democracy, by Irving Rappaport, coordinator of UK Citizens Online Democracy. The Green Party have set up a low cost system of communication for members Inventing the Future, articles from a booklet published in January 1996. Getting started - letter to a novice. Peter Durrant recalls his struggles to learn computer and the Internet - and offers advice to a colleague. Council gives a helping hand How Thurrock council introduced voluntary organisations to the Internet, through research, training, and a local Internet group. By John Mayhew. Prospects for the voluntary sector, by David Wilcox Connecting activists in rural Scotland - and the questions this raises, by Sue Sadler Community networks, by David Wilcox. Article from the British Telecommunications Engineering Journal, January 1996. Let's not reinvent the wheel Consultant Dr Steve Willoughby reminds us of the ancestor of today's information systems, and the system he is running in Saffron Walden

A-Z of community networking

Home : Community : Internet : Communities Online : Join In : Resources Prepared by Communities Online April 30, 1997

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