12:00 - 3:20 p.m.
Auditorium of the Indiana State Library, Indianapolis

May 6, 1997

INTRODUCTIONS: John Grimmer

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.

ICNA STATUS REPORT AND GOALS FOR COMING YEAR: Mark Whitman

  1. ICNA Contact List: Whitman distributed a current list of ICNA member contacts. He asked those present to correct any errors in their local information, and to return the correction to him. A revised and updated version of the contacts will be distributed via the ICNA-M listserve, and will be posted to the ICNA website.

  2. Budget: Whitman distributed a copy of his communication with attorney Michael Harpring to complete the ICNA request for 501c3 status, with, as appropriate, blanket 501c3 status for qualifying ICNA member community networks. W hitman reviewed the 1996 ICNA financial report and the proposed 1997 ICNA budget, which were submitted with the request (attached at the end of this document).

    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
    TOTAL$177,750/year
    This is in addition to the $1,295,842 the state has granted to ICNA's 28 community network members.

    Whitman reiterated that it will be up to the new Board to adopt a final budget for 1997.

  3. Members in Good Standing: Whitman explained that to be eligible for ICNA and state distributions a community network will have to be an ICNA member in good standing, as set forth in Section 3.0 of the ICNA Board Policy Manual, and the ICNA Board website standard in Section 7.0, Most of the website standards are recommended guidelines, but Section 7.03 specifies requirements for membership in good stan ding.

    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.

  4. Proposed New Community Network Development Strategy: Whitman indicated that a basic premise of the proposed new community network development strategy is that ACCESS INDIANA has skimmed the cream off of the top, in that the community networks funded in the ACCESS INDIANA Round One and Round Two funding programs probably represent most, if not all, of the Indiana communities that presently have a critical mass of community leaders who are prepared to fully develop a local community network. A t this point, the ACCESS INDIANA team now has contact with a number of communities (mostly rural) where there may be one or two individuals with a keen interest in developing a local network, but these individuals have not been successful in surrounding t hemselves with the dedicated local leaders it has taken to for the Round One and Two community networks to be successful.

    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:

    1. Be responsible only for content, and leave all site management to AIIN and the ICNA programmer.

    2. Be responsible for content and the management of their site on the AIIN/ICNA server.

    3. Take full responsibility for complete development and management by transferring all content to a local server site.

    Whitman indicated that he is presently working with all potential participants in this strategy to shape the strategy to meet their needs, so that all parties will endorse the plan and work cooperatively to support it. Among these parties are ICNA, ACCES S INDIANA, the State Library, the Department of Education, the Indiana Rural Development Council and the Southern Indiana Rural Development Project.

    1. Discussion Groups and Listserves: Whitman shared that he was recently impressed by an article describing the development of discussion groups by the WELL, one of the Internet's oldest and most successful sites. The point of the article was that con tent will bring users to a site, but that discussions and interaction will keep them coming back. The WELL now hosts hundreds of discussion groups, and has a very broad base of participation.

    2. Whitman indicated that he will be proposing to the Board that ICNA should use its server at AIIN to host discussions and listserves that are of specific interest to Indiana. There is no purpose in ICNA replicating global discussions/lists that are al ready available, but there could be value in seeking out topics specific to Hoosiers that could be shared by all of the ICNA-member community networks.

There was some discussion about the use of icna-m, ai-org, and icna-d; and it was suggested that the ICNA website should include instructions on how to join these listserves.

BOONE COUNTY COMMUNITY NETWORK BUSINESS PLAN: John Wallace

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.

WORKING WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENT:
Brad Bradley, President, Indian@ Interactive,
ACCESS INDIANA's Contractor for the ACCESS INDIANA Information Network

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 indicated that "no" is always the first answer he receives from government and elected officials, but that he always considers this response to only be temporary. He knows that every government office will have to be on-line at some point in the future, and it is up to him to show them why it should be now rather than later. To be successful, you must understand how to make someone work with you, who doesn't want to; but you have the advantage of knowing that everyone will eventually crack, beca use the concept simply makes too much sense. Failures are temporary.

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:

  1. Getting local government to participate.
  2. Determining what information has revenue potential, and whether or not that potential is significant enough for a community network to pursue it as a legitimate source of funding.

Content has a revenue potential if it is of interest to attorneys, engineers, Realtors, bankers, architects or insurance agents, and, once you have one group paying a fee for content, referrals will snowball until all are paying. What content interests t hese consumers? Tax, court and real estate records.

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.

BOARD ELECTION

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:

Debby Beavin, Access Perry County

Kathryn Clodfelter, Crawford County Community Network

Carol Derner Carol Derner, LakeNet

Michael Ney, Indianapolis OnLine

DEMONSTRATIONS

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:

  1. $50/month plus 30% of any advertising revenue.

  2. $150/month flat fee.

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 .

HTML Transit
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.

HOMETOWN.NET
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.

ADJOURN

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.

BOARD OFFICERS

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

MEMBERSHIP REPRESENTATION
.
Access Bartholomew CountyNot represented.
Access EvansvilleScott Hartig.
Access LaPorte CountyNot represented.
Access Perry CountyDebby Beavin
Access Spencer CountyNot represented.
Boone County Community NetworkJohn Wallace
CarrollNetNot represented
CommuniNetGreg Nixon
Crawford County
Community Network
Kathryn Clodfelter, James East
DeKalb County Community NetworkJoseph Iliff
ECICNetKatie Frederick
Falls Cities Community NetworkClark Miller, Roger Whaley
Fort Wayne Area InfonetNot represented.
GreenetLori Markle, Lisa Sullivan
HoosierNetMichael Chui
Huntington County
Community Network
Not represented.
Indianapolis OnLineGeorgia Miller, Michael Ney, Chuck Schisle, Pam Weaver
Johnson County Community NetworkJohn Grimmer
LakeNetMary Grogam
Michiana Free-NetNot represented.
Midwest Prairie NetFred Berger
NobleCANRoss Riker
Sheridan Community NetworkNot represented.
SCICANDarrell Potter
South Lake NetNot represented.
WaynetCarol Smyth
WCICNetNick Schenkle
Whitley County Community NetworkJanet Scank

OTHERS IN ATTENDANCE

Laura Arnold, The Arnold Group
Brad Bradley, ACCESS INDIANA Information Network
Hallie Bourne, ICNA
Kent Champagne, The Intelenet Commission
Jan Eglen, Hometown.Net
Allen Herzig
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

1997 Budget