Communities Online June 1996

June 1996 meeting report


********************HEADLINES************************
- Agreed to set up an organisation to promote community networking
- Refine proposals online, initially with this group
- Develop a Community Online Web site
- Run workshop at Sheffield Conference
- Next meeting - with wider audience - 11 am July 24 at BT Centre

*******************************************************

Notes of the meeting, BT Centre, June 20 1996.

UPDATE: IACN and current situation in UK

David Wilcox recapped development to date. Richard Stubbs outlined principles, definition, characteristics of community networks. (see slides)
Nick Trent tabled notes on the IT for All initiatives, which are not for wider distribution at this stage.
Dave Miller described the Sheffield conference; others provided updates on local initiatives in Brentford, Brighton, Barnsley and Newham.
David Darton said Joseph Rowntree Foundation would be interested in discussing some involvement and limited support.

From the discussion:
- Evaluation should be build in from the outset to any promotion of community networking
- Any initiative should aim to bridge the awareness gap of what is possible, and promote demonstrations
- Any organisation should be light
- Need to clarify what is community networking, and what value it offers
- Any initiative should be participative, offering information and support
- It should help bring new ideas to 'market'
- People want relevant local information
- The technical platform should enable development of applications far in advance of those we now envisage
- Public access points will be most important, particularly in the early years
- We should seek wider involvement of women, black groups, regions, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland.

COMMUNITIES ONLINE PROPOSAL

See slides for presentations by David Wilcox and Richard Stubbs. From discussion in the morning and afternoon, there was general agreement on:

Purpose: support and promote community networking by:
- Raising awareness
- Providing support, information exchange
- Developing partnerships, promoting mutual understanding
- Developing and holding a vision

Basic principles
- Cross sector partnership
- Promoting community benefit
- Keeping light
- Focussing on the local, but making global links
- Practising nationally what we preach locally
- Creating an appropriate organisation
- Being open and transparent as an organisation
- Operating as clearing house, broker
- Covering the whole of the UK
- Diverse, inclusive

A range of products and services, developed with collaborators
- A Web site as described in the slides
- Print materials reflecting the Web content
- Signposting to sources of help and support
- Work with local pilots to develop community networking models and software tools

Structure and process
- Refine ideas online with current groups as a first steering group
- Run a workshop at the Sheffield conference
- Take advantage of IT for All announcement to increase interest, focus opportunities
- Hold larger meeting

ACTION PLAN
David and Richard to develop proposals, based on the above, for:
- Interim organisational arrangements
- First stage development, focussed on July 24 meeting
... taking account of IT for All


DAVID WILCOX - SLIDES JUNE 20 1996

COMMUNITIES ONLINE - RECAP
How we started
* Communities Online conference October 1995
* South Yorks network plans first UK conference
* BT funding and discussions with BT Labs

Current situation
* Growing number of local networks
* Voluntary organisations getting online
* Private and public sectors interest increasing

The International Association
* Decision to create IACN Taos 1996
* National organisations and linked Web sites
* UK is the first - a chance to take a lead

PROPOSALS - 1

Purpose
* Promote and support community networking
* Stimulate debate about the new technology

Principles and style
* Independent partnership
* Catalytic - working with others where possible
* Mixture of grant, sponsorship, help in kind, earning

Key stakeholders
* Telecommunications and computer industry
* Government - local and national
* Universities, colleges, schools, libraries
* Voluntary bodies and partnerships
* Existing community networks
* Individuals and businesses

WEB SITE: COMMUNITY ONLINE

Community action
* How citizens and community groups can take action locally to improve their quality of life

Community networking
* Technical and other practicalities of creating local networks and helping people use the technology.

Community futures
* How the Internet is likely to affect communities - for good or ill. The Information Society debate

A range of functions
* Publishing
* Databases and search
* Mailing lists and conferencing
Developed with users


PROPOSALS - 2

Development process
* First clarify key issues with this group
* Plan action research phase in more detail
* Seek IACN steering group endorsement
* Gain commitment from key stakeholders, revise

Organisation
* Communities Online Ltd - non-profit distributing company?
* Steering group for initial development period

Promotion
* The Communities Online server
* Sheffield conference July 4-5
* Demonstrations and face to face meetings

KEY ISSUES

* Purpose, principles, style
* First products and services - Web and print?
* Local pilots?
* Steering group membership and roles. Who is missing?
* Staffing
* Server and technical development
* Sponsors and funders
* Draft announcement. When, to whom? On the Web?

RICHARD STUBBS - SLIDES JUNE 20 1996

ONLINE COMMUNITY NETWORKS
Principles and definitions
Partnerships for Tomorrow

WHAT IS A COMMUNITY NETWORK?
Community base
Purpose and organisation
Information and communication
Technological base
Economic base
The community is the network

WHAT DO THEY DO?

Public sector
Public information and services
Public image and identity
Politics and planning

Private sector
A new marketplace
Business requirements
New jobs and businesses

Third sector
Facilitate self help
Organisational support
Community development

Local residents
Local services
Opportunities for participation
Better communication

WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPLES?
Cross sector
Partnership and co-operation
Process not product
Learning based
Sustainability

WHAT ARE THE CIRCUMSTANCES?
10% of households soon to be online (NOP)
Partnership models for regeneration
Information Society Initiative
Intranet software technology
Broad band communications technology
Economic models

WEB SITE

"The community networks clearing house part of the site will look at best
practice and the resources required to set up community networks. The main
categories of information will be"

The practicalities of online community networks
Purpose and content
User interface and metaphor
Organisation
Technical specification

"Each category will contain a mix of information and signposting for example the
technical specification will include"

Technical specification
Functional specification
Best examples
Best free resources
Best value for money
Best regardless of cost
Future possibilities
Hardware and connectivity.

"As an example, the functional specification will include"

Functional specification
Chat
Conferencing/mailing lists
Database - full text
Database structured
File libraries
Feedback
Security
User publishing

Those present on June 20.

Jonathon Brown, NCVO Rural Team
0171 713 6161 Jonathan Brown<100670.3467@compuserve.com>

Steve Cull BT Sales
0181 587 5702 culls@btsales.bt.com

David Darton, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
01904 629241 ddarton@jrfound.org.uk

Kevin Harris, Community Development Foundation
0171 226 5375 cdf@geo2.poptel.org.uk (Kevin Harris)

Tony Hutchinson, Brentford Regeneration Partnership
0181 400 8500

Colin Millar, BT Labs
01473 643863 Colin Millar <colin.millar@bt-sys.bt.co.uk>

Dave Miller, Sheffield University
0114 2825092 D.Miller@sheffield.ac.uk

Michael Mulquin, Aston Community Involvement Unit
0181 519 2244 aston-ciu@geo2.poptel.org.uk (Michael Mulquin)

Irving Rappaport, UK Citizens Online Democracy
0171 485 0086 irving@easynet.co.uk

Richard Stubbs, Partnerships for Tomorrow
0181 534 6891 Richard Stubbs <100617.3462@compuserve.com>

Nick Trent , Department of Trade and Industry
0171 215 1380 nick.trent@dtieed.dti.gov.uk

Tim Walton, Hub Communications
0181 560 9222 sam@hubcom.demon.co.uk (Tim Walton)

David Wilcox, Partnerships for Tomorrow
01273 677377 dwilcox@pavilion.co.uk (David Wilcox)

Doug Williams, BT Labs
01473 646876 Doug.williams@bt-sys.bt.co.uk

Not present

Jonathan Baker-Bates, Intermedia Associates
0171 434 3315 jonathan@theframe.com

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Prepared by David Wilcox dwilcox@pavilion.co.uk September 23 1996
This page URL http://www.partnerships.org.uk/events/june96.html