Overview of the Community Information Toolkit

The Toolkit consists of these components:

  • Book: A 250 page book entitled Building a Community Information Network: A Guidebook.
  • Videos: A set of 4 video programs suitable for use in training your community information network team.
  • Training Materials: A series of Powerpoint presentations that you can use as-is or with your own local modifications
  • Software: A pair of demonstration applications: a community calendar and a community forum.

The remainder of this page provides more details on how to use each of these components of the Toolkit.

In addition to being available in electronic form, some components of the Toolkit may also be available in other formats. For instance, the videos may be available in VHS tape format. For the most current information as to this potential availability, periodically check the version of this page on the Web site.

Following is an overview of each of the Toolkit components, and how best to use them.

Book Overview

Building a Community Information Network: A Guidebook provides an introduction to building a community information network as well as an overview of Web publishing in the community information context.

The book is provided in MS-Word format (Word '97) and in Adobe Acrobat PDF.

How you view the material is a matter of personal choice. For instance, most readers of the guidebook will probably want to print chapters for offline viewing. Readers may also want to view some chapters online so as to see diagrams in color; an example is Chapter 6, which includes sample color photographs. Others may wish to adapt chapters or portions of chapters for use in their own training projects (subject to the provisions of the Toolkit copyright).

Videos Overview

The Toolkit contains four videos published under the common title of Building a Community Information Network: a Video Introduction. They cover the following topics:

  • Part 1: "Building a Community Information Network." This is a half-hour video suitable for use as an introduction and overview for a new community information team, for your content providers, and for all stakeholders in your new project. Our narrator introduces speakers who illuminate the potential of community networking. Speakers include national experts in community networking and Web publishing, including Steve Cisler, Lou Rosenfeld, and Dr. Joan Durrance. Pioneering Community Information Network sites in Michigan, including the Flint Public Library and the Otsego County Public Library in Gaylord are represented as well.
  • Part 2: "Beginning Webmastering: HTML and Inline Images." An introduction to the Hypertext Markup Language, HTML authoring tools, and use of inline images (photographs and diagrams) in your Web site.
  • Part 3: "Advanced Web Content Choices." An overview of advanced Web content technologies such as ActiveX, Java, JavaScript, CGI, and Active Server Pages.
  • Part 4: "Running a Web Server." An introduction to the tasks and choices that face a site that chooses to run its own Web server hardware and software.

The videos are provided in RealMedia format. You will need to have the RealPlayer installed with your Web browser.

For your reference, the MS-PowerPoint slides used in the production of the videos is also included.

Training Materials Overview

The Toolkit training materials are a collection of PowerPoint presentations that are suitable for use in face-to-face training sessions. The training materials were developed as part of training sessions for one of the Toolkit demonstration sites. You can use the materials as-is, or adapt them to meet the particular needs of your community information network team.

The training materials are provided in PowerPoint and in HTML form.

Software Overview

The Toolkit includes demonstration software for running a community calendar and for supporting online community discussions. The software is database-driven and is implemented as an Active Server Pages (ASP) application that interfaces with a standard database software pacakge such as Microsoft Access or SQL.

The Software section also provides complete, step-by-step instructions on installing Windows NT, Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS), and the Toolkit demonstration applications.

The Toolkit software is suitable for use as-is, or a site might choose to tailor the tool to meet its particular needs. (Source code for the software is included.)

A Note on Browser Windows in This Site

When you click on a navigational button as shown on the left, the relevant introductory content will load in the right hand frame. For instance, when you click on the button, this page, providing an Overview, appears.

When you click on a primary content item, such as a chapter in the Book section or a presentation in the Training Materials section, a new browser window will open with that content. This allows your browser to devote as much screen space as possible to the content. Simply close the new window when you are done viewing the item.

Viewers for Toolkit Content

For your convenience, here are links to freely-downloadable viewers for Toolkit content.

A Note Concerning Links

Throughout this Toolkit are links to various Web resources. While we have tried to verify that links are active at time of publication, it is inevitable that some Web links will change or become inactive. If you discover a broken link, you may be able to locate the content by using a search engine to specify the title or key words related to the item you seek.

A Note Concerning Security

The Toolkit contains demonstration software and complete instructions on installing Windows NT as a Web server environment. If you should choose to run your own Community Information server, one of the obligations you assume is security. Security requires constant vigilance and could be the subject of its own toolkit. Security management encompasses many areas, including:

  • good password management
  • virus detection
  • log analysis (to ascertain possible attack attempts)
  • installing firewalls or other server protection measures
  • monitoring security announcement services such as CERT

If you choose to run your own server, be sure that proper security measures are in place for that server and for your entire network.

A Note Concerning Y2K Issues

This Toolkit is delivered on the cups of the new millennium. A project launched at this time needs to be sure server and authoring softwre and hardware are Year 2000 ("Y2K") compliant. Visit the Web sites of vendors of all your mission-critical components in order to determine Y2K readiness.

Copyright Notice

All Toolkit components are copyrighted materials. Please read and observe the copyright notice.