ICNA President, John Grimmer , opened the meeting.
Those present introduced themselves.
Grimmer introduced the new ICNA liaisons, Hallie Bourne and Allen Herzig. Allen and Hallie are under a two-year contract to:
a. Support existing community networks.
b. Help facilitate new community network development.
Their primary focus is to be content development. Together, they are attempting to attend at least one meeting of each ICNA-member community network, so that they can each become familiar with the team leaders and the communities associated with each net work. After their initial visitations, they are dividing the state, with each liaison to be directly responsible for half of the community networks. Each will then regularly attend the meetings of the community networks for which (s)he is responsible. < p> Mark Whitman indicated that both Hallie and Allen have already proven that they are bright motivated people committed to the concept of community networking. They are both self-starters, and are more than w illing to do what they can to help maintain a constant and consistent communication between ICNA and its member community nets. Whitman also stressed that Allen and Hallie are on board as resources, and the community networks are encouraged to use them a s such.
Whitman pointed out that 1996 was essentially an organizational year for ICNA, and this is reflected in the fact that, even though ICNA received a $50,000 appropriation from the state, its expenses during the calendar year were $0. The 1997 budget, howev er, reflects initial activity that will create some expenditures. Whitman emphasized that the 1997 budget has yet to be approved by the Board.
According to the draft budget, ICNA expects to receive another $50,000 distribution from the state in 1997, $100,000 in Associate Member membership fees, and $15,000 in general membership dues ($500/member community network). The Associate Member revenue will be distributed to the general membership, although the means of distribution has not been determined. Whitman indicated that the new Board will need to decide if Associate Member revenues will distributed equally among all general members, or accor ding to some other method.
Whitman also pointed out that interviews are taking place to hire a programmer to maintain the ICNA website and to support a proposed strategy for expanding community networking to more rural Indiana communities. The programmer will be contracted from In dian@ Interactive (I@I, the state's manager for the ACCESS INDIANA Information Network - AIINat a cost of $113,752 for two years. This expense covers all I@I-associated salaries, benefits, office space, materials and adminis trative support related to the position. The state has committed to pay $75,500 of the $113,752 total contracted cost, if ICNA will pay the remaining $38,252 ($19,126/year in 1997 and 1998).
Whitman also indicated that the ICNA 1997 budget is based on the assumption that the state will continue to provide his services as the interim Executive Director to ICNA at no cost, and that ICNA will accept this offer. If either the state does not make this offer, or, if ICNA refuses the offer, then the budget would have to be rewritten to reflect the real costs of an Executive Director.
In summary, the state's current contribution to ICNA is:
|Whitman's services (approximate)||$ 30,000/year|
|Two community network liaisons||$ 60,000/year|
|An ICNA programmer/website manager||$ 37,750/year|
|ICNA operational funding||$ 50,000/year|
Whitman reiterated that it will be up to the new Board to adopt a final budget for 1997.
A question was raised about the requirement to provide a direct link to the current ICNA-recommended guidelines for website accessibility by persons with disabilities . Whitman indicated that this requiremen t was included to insure that ICNA and its members are doing everything they should be make sure that their sites are in compliance with ADA standards and are accessible by users with disabilities. It was suggested that even though the ICNA standard for disabilities is a good start, ICNA should provide a broader base of references for its members. It was agreed that ICNA should attempt to put together a task force among its members for this purpose.
In order to adjust the ACCESS INDIANA strategy to meet current needs, it is proposed in the strategy that a centralized community content gateway be established using the ICNA programmer at AIIN. It is proposed that this central gateway support all India na communities that are not presently represented by an established community network, and that this gateway use the Boulder Community Network (www.bcn.org) to establish generic information centers from which local teams can build along approximately 20 d ifferent topic areas.
Once the central generic gateway is established, the ICNA team, Whitman and the two liaisons, will contact leaders in the communities who are known to have an interest in community networking, and invite these leaders to organize a local team that can tak e the generic gateway provided by the state and build it into a customized site for their community. It is proposed that these leaders will be given the option to:
John Wallace of the Boone County Community Network indicated that BCCN is probably not much different than most other community networks, but he does feel that BCCN is developi ng a solid business plan for self-sufficiency. He indicated that BCCN was hosted by the Boone County REMC until this past January, and that probably helped BCCN develop with a little less strain than some other networks.
BCCN has approximately $17,000 in the bank, and no overhead except for their monthly $1400 T-1 contract with Ameritech. Even if they receive no other revenues, they can still survive until April 1998.
At present, one of their better sources of revenue are their hosting and linking fees. They charge $15/month each to host a number of not-for-profit websites, and they are hosting several sites to include a number of churches. For profit customers pay $ 30/month. All customers are billed annually to reduce the BCCN's billing and accounting overhead. Customers are given FTP access so that they can maintain their own sites.
BCCN is providing free "yellow page-type" listings for local businesses, which can be expanded to graphical ads for $4/month. These ads have been successful; however, Wallace concedes BCCN's rate may be too cheap. In addition, BCCN will give businesses one free page for every not-for-profit site they will sponsor. BCCN appears to be reasonably successful in selling the community that BCCN exists to serve the community, even though BCCN's ads and site hosting services do place it in competition with loc al ISPs.
Wallace feels BCCN is fortunate in that it stayed away from the initial temptation to sell dial-in accounts. At the time that BCCN was organized there were no commercial ISPs in Boone County. Today, there are four. Despite the fact that BCCN does overl ap competitively with the ISPs, BCCN is trying to make it known that BCCN wants the ISPs to be as successful as possible.
Wallace does acknowledge that BCCN has benefited greatly by significant volunteer time donated by some very talented people, and he admits that if the talent tires or goes away, BCCN will have a problem.
Bradley started by asking how many present had tried to solicit local government as a community network partner (essentially all present). Then he asked how many had successfully solicited local government as a community network partner (about 4).
He then asked how those who were successful had been successful.
Bradley cautioned not to start with decision makers, because they probably are not going to know what you are talking about, and, even if they do, they are going to go back to their information systems managers before they make a decision. Start with the IS department, solicit their interest, and then have them go with you to the decision makers.
There are really two issues in working with local government:
Determining if enough revenue can be generated to help support a community network will require sitting down with those who work in the offices holding the information, and determining how much demand there is for the information and what the real costs a re to those who need the information. In addition, if the information is not already in a digital format, the overhead of converting the content could require an initial capital cost that is prohibitive.
A slate of five candidates ran for election to fill four Board positions. During a break prior to John Wallace's presentation, one ballot was distributed to each of the community networks represented, and the completed ballots were collected after the co mpletion of Wallace's presentation. One absentee ballot was faxed to the state library from Access LaPorte County. Votes were counted and certified by John Grimmer and Kent Champagne , The Intelenet Commission.
The following persons were elected to fill two-year terms on the ICNA Board from May 1997 - May 1999:
Kathryn Clodfelter, Crawford County Community Network
Carol Derner Carol Derner, LakeNet
Michael Ney, Indianapolis OnLine
Access Evansville's Community Calendar
Presenter: Scott Hartig
In partnership with World Connection Services, Access Evansville has developed from scratch at a cost of $10,000, a very practical and flexible on-line community calendar,. Access Evansville owns all rights to the calendar.
The calendar site has received 10,000 hits in its first 6 months of service, and Access Evansville plans to recover its costs by selling advertising, usage fees and licensing rights. The local newspaper is also promoting its use.
Access Evansville (World Connection Services) is offering two licensing plans under which World Connection Services will host the calendar for another user:
Indianapolis OnLine Threaded Discussions
Presenter: Pam Weaver
Weaver demonstrated threaded discussion software that is hosted for Indianapolis OnLine by the developer (Bit-Wise). IOL licensed the software for a one-time $300 fee. Weaver indicated that other software was examined, and, while others may have offered more functionality, they were significantly more expensive. She felt the Bit-Wise software was by far the best value. The software does require an NT server, and that is why IOL opted to let the developer host the site.
Activity at the site has not been very great to date, but IOL has not really promoted it the way they probably will need to. They do plan to use it to assist at least one community organization with polling, and they hope to sell proprietary discussion t o customer groups.
Compaq Companion 140 and USR Palm Pilot
Presenter: Michael Ney
Ney presented two hand-held devices that can be used to retrieve e-mail over a regular dial-in connection. These are very useful for persons who do not have access to a terminal, and the IU Medical Center is testing their use with some of their residents .
Presenter: Kathryn Clodfelter
Clodfelter demonstrated HTML Transit, a product that she uses to convert word processing documents into HTML web-ready pages. HTML Transit is available for preview download from InfoAccess, and a license costs $300-500.
HTML Transit can support most word processing programs and several desktop publishing formats. It enables a webmaster to accept word processed documents from content providers, and rapidly convert them for a website. Clodfelter converted a group of 30-4 0 documents in two minutes or less. In addition to the conversion, HTML Transit produces a table of contents on the designated homepage, links between pages, tables and off-line browser testing. John Grimmer adde d that he thinks HTML Transit is a tremendous resource for community networks.
Presenter: Jan Eglen
Eglen's website in Vigo County has evolved from a BBS. He now uses World Group from Galacticomm, and has developed what he feels is a state-of-the-art one-of-a-kind site that specializes in seamless transition between the Hometown intranet and the Interne t. Unfortunately the telephone connection would not allow him to demonstrate the site properly, but it can be accessed by going to www.hometown.net, selecting Terre Haute and taking the option at the bottom of the page. First time users will need to dow nload a Netscape plugin that is required.
The meeting adjourned at 3:20 p.m. According to ICNA Board policy, the next annual membership meeting will be held in Indianapolis, 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 5, 1998.
Following the general membership meeting, the Board held a brief organizational meeting to select its officers. Officers for 1997 are:
|President:||Michael Ney, Indianapolis OnLine|
|Vice-President:||John Wallace , Boone County Community Network|
|Secretary:||Roger Whaley, Falls Cities Community Network|
|Access Bartholomew County||Not represented.|
|Access Evansville||Scott Hartig.|
|Access LaPorte County||Not represented.|
|Access Perry County||Debby Beavin|
|Access Spencer County||Not represented.|
|Boone County Community Network||John Wallace|
|Kathryn Clodfelter, James East|
|DeKalb County Community Network||Joseph Iliff|
|Falls Cities Community Network||Clark Miller, Roger Whaley|
|Fort Wayne Area Infonet||Not represented.|
|Greenet||Lori Markle, Lisa Sullivan|
|Indianapolis OnLine||Georgia Miller, Michael Ney, Chuck Schisle, Pam Weaver|
|Johnson County Community Network||John Grimmer|
|Michiana Free-Net||Not represented.|
|Midwest Prairie Net||Fred Berger|
|Sheridan Community Network||Not represented.|
|South Lake Net||Not represented.|
|Whitley County Community Network||Janet Scank|
Laura Arnold, The Arnold Group
Brad Bradley, ACCESS INDIANA Information Network
Hallie Bourne, ICNA
Kent Champagne, The Intelenet Commission
Jan Eglen, Hometown.Net
Kent Hiller, ACCESS INDIANA Information Network
Stan Jones, Commission on Higher Education
Martha Roblee, Indiana State Library
Kara Wagner, ACCESS INDIANA Information Network
Cinthia Wallace, CTLnet
Mark Whitman, ICNA/ACCESS INDIANA
1996 Financial Report