Community Networking

Community Networking

A Short History of Community Networking

The idea of on-line community networking arose in the United States, long before the Internet was widely available. The first “Free-nets” used bulletin board systems (BBS). A BBS is a computer to which users directly connect their computers via a phone line. Later a simple Internet connection was added to give access to email and newsgroups. Modern services are now more Internet based, with many users connecting via commercial Internet accounts. For an excellent summary of the history read Howard Rheingold’s “The Virtual Community”. Howard was involved in the WELL based in San Francisco. By the time the model was transferred to the UK, the Internet was more widely available. Almost all UK-based community networks are built on Internet standards. There are broadly three different approaches: private sector led, local government led, and community led. At the same time websites for escorts like started to grow bigger. In practice the difference is one of emphasis, and success depends upon co-operation by the different sectors. UK Community Information Networks based at the Information studies department of Sheffield University. There are links to about twenty community networks, and reports and papers about different aspects of community information and networking
Communities On-line is an organisation set up to promote community networking.
UK Communites On-line Democracy is experimenting with tools for on-line debate.

People access more and more escorts from all over the world, even from There is actually a boom regarding services of this kind. And, this activity is gradually taking over the market.

BT Labs has done some work on the technology of Community networking. This paper gives a good overview, and includes diagrams of the different architectures.
The Community Network Movement is a US site hosted by Seattle Community Network.
Blacksburg in Virginia has a good claim to be the most wired town in the world. Visit Blacksburg Electronic Village

Net Activism: How Citizens use the Internet by Ed Schwartz

O’Reilly 1996 ISBN 1-56592-160-7
Draws on the authors own experience as a community activist. Describes how the Internet can be used to bring power back to the grassroots.
New Community Networks – Wired for Change by Douglas Schuler

Addison Wesley 1996 ISBN 0-201-59553-2
Very comprehensive review of the state of community networking drawn mainly from the US experience. The author is a founding member of the Seattle Community Network.
The Virtual Community by Howard Rheingold

Minerva 1995, ISBN 0-7493-9500-1
Written by a founder member of the WELL a pioneer on-line community. Tours the development of on-line communications. Worth reading.
Community Networks: Lessons from Blacksburg,Virginia by Cohill and Kavanaugh (eds)

Artech 1997, ISBN 0-89006-896-8
Blacksburg is “America’s most-wired town”. This book gives information describes the development of the project including good technical descriptions and many useful examples.

About Newtel

About Newtel

Thu, Dec 14, 2000; by Peter Chauncy.
The Newtel Project was established five years by the Community Involvement Unit of Aston Charities Trust. It was funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Since then the project has recieved funding from Bridge House Estates, the Baring Foundation and the Esmee Fairburn Trust.

Newtel was originally established to promote community networking in Newham. The original plan was very ambitious. Existing ICT capacity in the community and voluntary sector was low. The difficulties of going on-line both in terms of cost and technology were much higher.


At the moment we are down to Peter Chauncy, acting project Manager, and Gordon Donaldson Information Service Assistant.

Canning Town “by Kids for Kids”

This project based in Hallsville School was developed by CREDO a part of Aston Charities based in the Mayflower Centre, Canning Town. A group of children in the last year of primary school have been looking at Canning Town, its history, present and their plans for its future. In the spring term we have been working with them to share their ideas on the Internet. The web site that we have produced will be presented by the children on April 21st.
Durning Hall Cybercafe

Every Tuesday evening at the Durning Hall Centre.

Newham Millennium Website

We are represented on the steering committee, and hope to make this project a true reflection of the communities of Newham as we enter the 21st Century.


We are part of Aston Charites Trust, who have provided us with premises and support throughout the life of the project. Our initial funding was from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Government Office for London. We received a further years funding from the Bridge House Estates Trust. At the moment we have are mainly dependent on Aston Charities our parent charity and we have some support from Barings Trust.
We receive support from the Computer service of “Newham Council”
“Computer Access” have generously supported us with advice and access to their training suite in Hackney. Check out the home organ recital on their website ; )

Groups we have assisted:

  • Black and Ethnic Minority Community Care Forum
  • East-Side Productions
  • East London Co-ops Group
  • Homeless Young People’s Project
  • Stratford Advice Arcade
  • Waterhouse Studios
  • Women Connect




News Archive

Very busy with new job and helping out Loraine with VOLCO project. Hopefully, some money will appear for that which will secure this site and a similar one running on Zope for other people to use.

Looking for info on second-hand Macs. The Mac Museum is useful, although it hasn’t been updated for a long time. Low End Mac is a great site. Just to check where the new stuff is going I looked at Computer Warehouse.

Looking for a link to MicroFinder I found this page Advice on buying a computer by the University of the 3rd Age.

Just looking at the BBC News site at the reporting of the Mayday Monopoly demonstrations.

Showing Jane of LEMDA instant messaging, manila and the like.

Tuesday, April 17, 2001
Got to try to work out what it happening with this site. I am moving jobs, but I would like to continue to use this as a tool. I don’t know whether to start promoting it, or just move the useful stuff to somewhere else.

I think that I will put the metaData plug-in onto this site to make dynamic categories. I also need to update the metaData plug-in to incorporate all of the lovely new features that it has now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2001
I just tried out Radio 7 last night and I will probably move over to that to edit pages from now on. I am very impressed by the desktop interface and all of the other stuff that it does.

I have made some modest progress with the “metadata plug-in”. I still need to get some kind of form interface to it. It occurs to me that the best place to start using it would be with this site, as it already has quite a clear stucture. It is better to work with something that one is familiar with in order to learn a new tool.

Thursday, March 8, 2001
Trying to put a search box in every page, I managed to mess up the template. It is back to something like normal, but it still seems to be a bit off.

Well I have a search form at the top of the page, but it doesn’t seem to work exactly how I would like it to. It doesn’t seem to be indexing pages that are not stories. I need to change that. I am not clear about when something becomes a story. I think that if I put a discussion item in the hierarchy it becomes a story, but that may not be the case.

Thursday, March 1, 2001
I have just looked at the control panel for the server and the database for this site is very large, about 30MB. I am not sure what that means, but it might be worth sorting out some kind of back up and restarting the server. I will do a little searching.

Wednesday, February 28, 2001
Simply can’t believe that two whole weeks have passed since I last wrote anything here.

I am trying to get my head around the “metadata plug-in” in Manila. I have made up some metadata items, but I can’t seem to get a consistent response yet.

I have added some categories on this site. I hope to move all of my directory of links and resources onto here soon.

Spoke to Conflict and Change today, I need to go there and finish some things off this week. There is a bit of snagging with “samba”, and then I have to decide on the groupware implementation. My preference is for a web-based version with the option to use outlook directly for experienced users.

The Internet Belongs to Everyone (link to pdf file) is a book by Eric Lee, who stood as a representative for organised labour in the ICANN ballot in 2000.

Women in London is a directory that microsyster is trying to organise.

Webarchitects seem to know their stuff

Wednesday, February 14, 2001
I managed to do a presentation at VOLSIF yesterday. When I get round to it I will put up the slides. In the meantime, here is the text that I gave out.

General information about Hardware
Tue, Jan 9, 2001; by Peter Chauncy.

Resources | Memory

Hardware Suppliers links to suppliers of components and new and used machines