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The Board of Directors of the Indiana Community Network Association met 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 10 at the INCOLSA office in Indianapolis.
Board Members present: John Grimmer, James East (proxy for Roger Whaley), Marti Miller, Georgia Miller, and Carol Derner (by speaker phone). Others present: Kara Wagner (AIIN), Mark Whitman (Interim Executive Director for ICNA), Michael Ney (Indianapolis On-Line), Joel Robinson (WCICNet), Kent Champagne (the Intelenet Commission), Phil Bruce (the Intelenet Commission).
APPROVAL OF NOTES FROM PREVIOUS MEETING
Notes of the 11/12 meeting were approved without comment.
Georgia Miller reported that the process of creating an ICNA account through IUPUI is underway, and should be completed shortly. John Grimmer should soon be receiving a packet from IUPUI on how to use the account.
Georgia moved (seconded by Marti Miller) that the Board accept a $55,000 allocation from the state, rather than the $50,000 originally indicated, and that the additional $5,000 be used to pay ICNA's outstanding legal expenses. Passed unanimously.
ACCESS INDIANA Report
Meeting with Stan Jones -
Marti Miller, John Grimmer and Mark Whitman reported on their meeting with Stan Jones. The primary purpose of the meeting was to help promote a positive partnership between the state and ICNA, and to foster a continuing line of open communication.
Although no commitments were made, Stan indicated that ICNA can expect some legislative action that will attempt to establish renewable financial support for community networks. It was discussed that it may be possible for the state to provide up to $10,000/year for each network, and $50,000/year for ICNA. How, and if, this will happen remains to be seen, but, if the proposal can be developed, Jones hopes ICNA and the ICNA members in will be supportive. Marti Miller suggested that the Indiana Library Federation may also be willing to lend its support to this effort, and she has since confirmed that the ILF will offer its support.
The four discussed the need for an ACCESS INDIANA at the Crossroads Conference to be held early in 1997, and all agreed that such a conference could be beneficial. Because it has been over a year since the ACCESS INDIANA planning team has solicited public input, it is thought that it could be helpful to have a meeting, or series of meetings, to solicit public feedback on the progress of ACCESS INDIANA to date, and its future direction. There was some discussion as to the format of such a meeting/conference, and it was suggested that it might be beneficial for ICNA and the Intelenet Commission to be joint sponsors.
Intelenet Community Network Support Positions -
Kent Champagne, of the Intelenet Commission, reported to the Board on the Commission's progress in hiring/contracting two liaisons to support community network development. Champagne reported that DOE has authorized funding for two liaison positions and an Indian@ Interactive (I@I) programming position to support Indiana community network development. Funding for these positions is in the process of being transferred from DOE to the Intelenet Commission. Because I@I is under contract to the Intelenet Commission, the Commission will make payment to I@I for the programmer.
Champagne indicated that he is hesitant to fill these positions as permanent employees, because the guaranteed term of employment is only two years. Thus he is pursuing contracted services, and he is starting with proposals that five firms have already offered to the state in response to a previous state Quantity Purchase Agreement (QPA) for general programming and MIS services:
EER Computer Systems H.L. Yoh Computerland SBC Computer Technology Computer Task Group (CTG)
Two of the firms have already responded positively to Champagne's inquiry regarding specific liaison duties. In fact, Champagne has already conducted a preliminary interview with one candidate who appears to be very promising.
During the discussion, it was clarified that the liaison positions will be contractors of the Intelenet Commission, and the Commission will provide them office space and clerical support. However, the day-to-day job assignments of these positions will be overseen by the ICNA Executive Director on behalf of the ICNA Board.
Champagne indicated that he welcomes the creation of core community network standards by the ICNA Board, and feels they should provide structure to the expectations for the liaison positions. Even though the Board will continue to revise the draft standards that are currently being considered for inclusion in its policy manual, the Board did agree to allow Champagne to use the standards as they are to convey expected outcomes to the prospective candidates for the positions.
ACCESS INDIANA Brochure and Marketing -
Phil Bruce, of the Intelenet Commission, reported to the Board on the development of an ACCESS INDIANA brochure that is to be distributed to community leaders throughout the state. Bruce passed among those present proof copies of the glossy multi-page brochure. He indicated that the brochure will focus on the following topical areas:
Economic Development - one page Life-Long Learning (K-12, Higher Ed, Public Libraries) - one page Community Networking - 2 pages The ACCESS INDIANA Information Network (AIIN) - 2 pages
As Internet-based resources, these topic areas dominate the brochure; however, the last page is dedicated to an explanation of ACCESS INDIANA's development of a state transport network to support future applications of a higher technical level.
Additionally, one page inserts will be included inside the brochure providing more detailed information about:
The Internet and higher education AIIN The public libraries technology grants program The K-12 Internet access grants program Community networks
Bruce indicated that he had hope to also include an economic development insert, but that they were unable to complete its development in time for this initial distribution. It is intended that the brochure itself will have a shelf life of 1- 1 1/2 years, but that the inserts will be changed and updated as needed.
Approximately 10,000 brochures will be printed by mid-December, and initial distribution will be to leaders in state and local governments, K-12 education, higher education and public libraries, with the goal of creating continued support for ACCESS INDIANA among these leaders and decision makers. A team meeting of the constituents represented in the brochure is being held 12/11 to finalize a distribution strategy.
Cost for the development of the brochures is approximately $40,000 of the total $70,000 expended thus far on AI marketing. Approximately another $180,000 remains in the AI marketing budget, and consideration is being given to how the remaining budget can be most effectively used. It is likely that a newsletter may be a reasonable next step to help keep the leaders informed, as a follow up to the brochure.
Round-Two Community Network Updates -
Fifteen funding proposals have been received. Funding for the Midwest Prairie Net (Jasper, White and Newton counties) has been approved. All others have been initially reviewed. Proposals from DeKalb, Perry and Wayne counties have been recommended for final review and funding. Teams from Bartholomew and Spencer counties are requesting extensions to complete all funding requirements. Teams from Knox, Owen, Pike, Porter and Warrick counties have been asked to provide more information. Greg Wilson, of the Intelenet Commission, and Mark Whitman are working with teams from Crawford, Greene, Vermillion and Whitley counties to finalize their proposals.
It was suggested that, once all Round-Two funding decisions are final, ICNA should help sponsor a public announcement and presentation along the lines of those provided for the Round-One community networks. It was also suggested that this might fit well with the ACCESS INDIANA at a Crossroads Conference that is being planned.
State Backbone Development -
The Intelenet Commission is leading efforts to aggregate state government, public library, higher education and K-12 on-line traffic over a common state backbone. A Request For Information (RFI) is being issued soon by the Intelenet Commission to solicit responses from contractors who would like to offer services in support of the state backbone.
Board of Policy Manuals
Mark gave each Board member present a current policy manual in a three-ringed binder. Each manual includes copies of the ICNA By-Laws, the current budget, notes and minutes from all ICNA meetings except for 10/96, a list of ISPs in Indiana, and a list of Indiana cities and towns currently without dial-in commercial Internet service. Mark indicated that he will give manuals to the other Board members as he sees them, and that he will try to continue to provide members continuous updates to each document so that the Board members can keep their manuals current.
ICNA standards for community networks. The Board reviewed draft standards submitted to them by Mark Whitman. There was a general consensus that standards are needed, and that the draft is a step in the right direction. There was some concern about the specificity of the draft standards.
Mark was asked to revise the draft, and to separate some of the detail into a guidelines section. It was also suggested that some community nets may not be able to comply will all standards, and that the language should be tempered so that it does not indicate an all-or-nothing requirement for compliance.
Those present discussed a list of potential associate members submitted by Mark Whitman, as well as ideas developed in a previous meeting between John Grimmer, Georgia Miller and Pam Weaver (Indianapolis On-Line). The two points of primary concerns are:
How can ICNA and the individual community networks both seek associate members without being in competition with one another?
What are the appropriate fees to assign to different levels of associate membership?
After some discussion it was suggested that:
Because ICNA is not in immediate need for revenue, ICNA associate member fees should be distributed equally among the member community networks in return for those networks providing some recognition for the associate member (e.g. advertising or a link).
Mark should put together a notice to be distributed to the community networks advising them of the Board's suggestion, to include a list of the associate members ICNA will target along with the suggested fee for membership.
John Grimmer reported that the Asher Agency has developed an ICNA logo for the community networks insert to be included in the ACCESS INDIANA brochure. Grimmer suggested ICNA should adopt this logo for the time being.
ICNA Voice and Fax Numbers
The Intelenet Commission is establishing an ICNA telephone number, and a second number to be specifically used by the community network liaisons. John Grimmer has established an 800 number for ICNA that will have voice mail as well, and ICNA will be able to use the Intelenet Commission's fax number. The primary purpose of the ICNA numbers is to provide a contact for persons wishing to respond to the community network inserts in the marketing brochure. The numbers to be used will be released concurrently with the brochure.
Member Participation and Communication
John Grimmer expressed his concern that the Board could become too distant from the membership it is serving, and he would like to take steps to help prevent this from happening. It was agreed that:
Mark should establish a list of community network contact persons, and that he should communicate with these contacts that the Board hopes that they will help distribute communications from Mark and the Board to their entire member and user base.
Often times contact people may not realize they are receiving a particular communication with the expectation that they will distribute it further. It was suggested that such communications should include with them a header indicating that this is a document being sent to community network contacts for the purpose of distribution within their networks.
Perhaps a local contact person may prefer that such communications are sent directly to a local listserve, and, if so, this should be done.
ICNA Board agendas and meeting notes should be distributed to all community networks and their members, requesting their feedback and comments.
ICNA Board agendas and meeting notes should clearly state that all meetings are open to the public. Members are especially invited to attend and participate in discussions.
Board Member Expenses
Mark suggested that the Board should include in its manual policies and procedures for reimbursing Board members for expenses incurred directly as a result of their participation on the Board; most specifically mileage. Mark indicated that Board members are asked to give considerable time and effort in support of Board activities, and, at the very least, they should not have to travel to Board meetings and ICNA functions at their own expense. He suggested that reimbursement for these expenses may help to insure active participation of those members who may live outside the immediate Indianapolis area. Mark was asked to develop a draft policy and procedures for Board consideration at its January meeting.
AIIN Community Links
Kara Wagner of I@I met with the Board for the purpose of requesting the Board's assistance in providing some direction as to how I@I should handle links from AIIN to individual Indiana cities and towns. Kara indicated that I@I is getting a number of requests for links, and that I@I would appreciate ICNA input of how these links should be established.
It was suggested that I@I has a responsibility to provide links to Indiana cities and towns, and that this responsibility is outside of any partnership that may exist between I@I and ICNA. Kara was encouraged to go ahead and establish a list of all Indiana cities and towns, and to create links where appropriate.
However, Kara was also asked to provide, on the same page, a link to Indiana Community Networks, with this link taking users directly to an ICNA homepage. In other words, the term "Community Network" would be proprietary to those CNs which belong to ICNA. I@I is welcome to provide links to the individual cities and towns that might or might not belong to a community net, but it was requested that only ICNA members be allowed to link to AIIN.
Community Network Status Report
Mark distributed to those present a draft report of his perspective of where community networks are in their development. He asked the Board members to review the document, and to be prepared to discuss it at the next Board meeting. He suggested that, if the Board agrees with the basic premise of the paper, then the Board may want to use this premise to establish a developmental model and guidelines for future community networks.
In general, the document presumes that there will be no further rounds of state funding for community network start up, and new community network development will become a function of ICNA, if it wants to accept this role. The document concludes that:
The general community network model originated by the National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN) does not fit today's environment.
Because of the almost total permeation of commercial dial-in Internet service providers in Indiana (over 84% of Indiana's cities and towns, and over 96% of Indiana's residents, now have local dial-in Internet access from a commercial Internet Service Provider), except for the most remote locations, community networks no longer need to include local dial-in access among their responsibilities, and local community nets no longer have a need to partner with individual ISPs in order to support dial in access.
The term community network is a misnomer and carries with it connotations that may no longer be valid. The term "community network" should be replaced be replaced by "on-line community information gateway".
Local community information gateways should be administered by an oversight committee representative of those organizations which are providing the content to be accessible via the gateway. This oversight committee should not be a new and separate organization with its own by-laws etc.
Financial support for the gateway should be contributed by the content providers whose programs, businesses and public service are being augmented by the gateway's presence.
Mark also indicated that the Board's endorsement of these concepts could have a significant impact on existing community networks that were organized with significantly different expectations. However, his suggestion to the Board was that endorsement of these conclusions may cause each of the community nets to re-examine their current operations, and may assist them in focusing their operations in a more manageable direction, rather than continuing to operate under a business plan that is no longer relevant to their mission.
National Community Network Association
Mark distributed to those present an e-mail he received via the communet listserve. The message describes the initial organizational efforts of a national community network association (CNA). John Grimmer indicated that he has been aware of this effort since his participation in a national conference in New Mexico. Grimmer reported that the organizers have had continuing e-mail exchanges since the conference, and they have just now gotten to the point where they are prepared to share their documents publicly.
Whitman pointed out that the items included in the CNA document closely parallel the same concerns and issues being addressed by ICNA, and he requested that the Board allow him:
To look for ways to integrate the mission, goals and strategies of the CNA and that of ICNA, so as to possibly improve ICNA's own mission, goals and strategies.
To contact the CNA on behalf of ICNA, and to take the first steps to include ICNA as a contributing member to the development of the CNA.
The Board encouraged Mark to do both.
Meeting adjourned at approximately 4:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m., Tuesday, January 14 at INCOLSA in Indianapolis.
I. Approval of notes from previous meeting.
II. Treasurer's Report.
III. Old Business
Mark Whitman, Interim Executive Director Indiana Community Network Association