Community Information Toolkit Video 1 – Storyboard • Community Information Networks: An Overview • Video 1 of the Community Information Toolkit • Rich Wiggins & Chuck Severance • May 20, 1999 – Revised June 26, 1999
Narrator • Welcome. "Community" Hello. My name is Rich Wiggins. Welcome to our program on Community Networking. In the next half hour, we're going to learn what it takes to build a community information network using Internet technologies. We'll hear from a number of experts – people who have studied community networking as well as people who have built community information networks.
Narrator • When you think of the word “community” you may think of many things: • Parks and recreation, City government & services, Local sports teams, Festivals and fairs, your own neighborhood, local schools, local history – and much more • Or, to you, "community" may mean parking fines and property taxes. Whatever your vision, all of us seek information about our communities...
Narrator • Traditionally, we've learned about what's going on in our communities in a wide variety of ways: • Newspapers • Neighborhood newsletters • Radio and television • Word of mouth • Public libraries • Increasingly, we obtain community information through online services
Narrator • A community information network can offer any or all of the following components: • Access: ways to connect to the online service for those who lack their own computers and modems • Information: the documents, calendars, directories, and databases that people seek • Communication: ways for citizens to communicate with government, with service providers, and with each other about community affairs • Commerce:conducting community business online.
Narrator • When you launch your community information network, you'll need to choose which of these four cornerstones your project will encompass. • Early projects in community information networking have built on various combinations of these cornerstones.
Narrator • Over the past few decades, public libraries have engaged in a number of pioneering community networking projects, and more recently, in online community information networks. For instance, the Detroit Public Library's TIP database provided information & referral services to citizens and community groups. • Steve Cisler, a national expert in community networking, tells us more about libraries and community information networks.
Narrator • In a sense, public libraries have been in the business of community information for many years, anticipating the right technology for delivering information online. With the World Wide Web, community networks can now rely on the same Web publishing technologies used by large corporations, by government, and by individual people. The Web offers common tools and a global infrastructure accessible to every community – large and small.
Narrator • It's important for you to define the scope of your community information network. The scope might be very broad – you may want to build a comprehensive community information portal for residents of your community. Or, your scope might be narrow, such as a historical timeline. • You also need to define the audience of your project -- who will come to your site? What information will they seek? • Once you've defined the scope and the audience, you’re ready to carefully design a site that achieves its goals effectively.
Narrator • So -- it takes some careful design work to build an effective community Web site. Another important consideration is how to coordinate your effort with those of others... • Increasingly, communities will find that a variety of commercial, government, and nonprofit efforts are already publishing community information on the Web. How can your new project mesh with these existing efforts?
Narrator • Information, or content – one of our 4 cornerstones – will by definition be a key part of your project. Access may be part of your project, or may be provided by existing community access efforts. You must choose whether to embrace Communication and Commerce in your new project. • It's a good idea to start small. For instance, you can provide citizens with ways to communicate with government by simply publishing a directory including their email addresses. You need not create an elaborate online discussion environment in the beginning.
Narrator • Once you've chosen which cornerstones to embrace, it's time to define the scope of your project, and the target audience. • Next, you need to make choices as to appropriate Internet technologies. • And next, you'll want to identify partners and find funding. • Then you'll want to mobilize information (or content) providers from the commmunity, and offer any needed training. • Let's learn from the example of the Flint Public Library
Narrator • The Library of Michigan Community Information Toolkit provides tools to help you begin your community networking effort. It includes this video series, training materials, a user guide, and demonstration software. • You'll find a wealth of information about Web site development on the Web itself. • In particular, the Michigan Electronic Library (MEL) is a great resource – and a great place to find other community networking sites in Michigan. • Another resource on community networking is offered by the University of Michigan:
Narrator • We've seen examples of community networking projects that address 3 of our 4 cornerstones: Access, Information, and Communication. Now let's discuss our fourth cornerstone: Commerce • In coming years, electronic commerce will become an accepted part of everyday business. We'll also expect e-commerce to play a role in our community lives: paying parking tickets, checking property tax records, applying for building permits, even renewing books checked out from the local library – these will be commonplace online transactions.
Narrator • Whether you pick one cornerstone, or all four; whether the scope is broad or narrow -- the important thing is to get started. • So, good luck with your new community information network. We'll see you on the Net!