Cover image for Community networks : lessons from Blacksburg, Virginia
Community networks : lessons from Blacksburg, Virginia
Cohill, Andrew Michael.
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Artech House, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 396 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Corporate Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TK5105.83 .C66 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A discussion of all the developments of the community network in North America, the Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV). It relates how the community got connected, and addresses the social, economic, technical and educational impact of working in a connected town, including key factors for success, new network technologies, fibre on Main Street efforts, and local government initiatives. The second edition has been to explain how the BEV has developed from its original conception in 1991 and is written in nontechnical language.

Author Notes

Andrew Michael Cohill is the director of the Blacksburg Electronic Village and an adjunct professor in the Department of Architecture at Virginia Tech, where he also received his Ph.D. in architecture and environmental design.
Andrea L, Kavanaugh is the director of research for the Blacksburg Electronic Village and a research fellow with the Department of Communication Studies at Virginia Tech. She received her Ph.D. in environmental design and planning from Virginia Tech.

Table of Contents

Contentsp. v
Forewordp. xv
Preface to the First Editionp. xxi
Preface to the Second Editionp. xxiii
1 Welcome to Blacksburgp. 1
Just hook people upp. 3
The BEV is intensely personalp. 4
We write more than ever in Blacksburgp. 6
Storytellingp. 7
Sense and sensibilityp. 8
Educationp. 10
Blacksburg and the Netp. 12
About the bookp. 13
2 A Brief History of the Blacksburg Electronic Villagep. 15
Getting startedp. 15
Unique features of the BEVp. 20
Early growth of the BEVp. 23
Later growth of the BEVp. 27
The future of the BEVp. 30
3 The Architecture of a Community Networkp. 33
Access and servicesp. 33
A typical community networkp. 34
Item A Computer on the Internet via modemp. 34
Item B Computer on the Internet via direct connectionp. 36
Item C Community serversp. 38
Item D National service providerp. 39
Item E Web service companyp. 40
Summary of network servicesp. 40
Network supportp. 40
User identificationp. 40
E-mail servicesp. 42
Information servicesp. 42
Newsp. 43
Online conference and chat servicep. 44
Advanced technologyp. 44
The BEV software toolsp. 46
Service models for community networksp. 47
Why direct connections are importantp. 50
Network administrationp. 52
4 Evaluating the Blacksburg Electronic Villagep. 59
The assumptions of an evaluation systemp. 60
The BEV as socially constructed technologyp. 61
The interpenetration of design and usep. 62
A multidisciplinary approachp. 63
A model for the evaluation of the BEVp. 64
The importance of models in evaluationp. 64
Models of communication behaviorp. 65
A Tetrad model of evaluation of community networksp. 66
Research activities in the four nodesp. 68
Designp. 69
Accessp. 70
Critical massp. 71
Impactsp. 71
Lessons learnedp. 72
5 The Use and Impact of the Blacksburg Electronic Villagep. 77
Profiles of usersp. 80
Use and expectations of the Internetp. 81
Trends among the general population of Blacksburgp. 83
The impact of networking on communityp. 87
Local business trends 1995-97p. 88
Business users' motivation and impactp. 90
Online commercial transactionsp. 91
Local businesses not using the Internetp. 92
Public access and training at the public libraryp. 93
Findingsp. 96
6 Community Dynamics and the BEV Senior Citizens Groupp. 99
The domus of the BEV Seniors groupp. 100
The gridp. 100
The BEV Seniors groupp. 100
The virtural space of the BEV Seniors groupp. 105
The gridp. 105
The BEV Seniors groupp. 105
The communication of the BEV Seniors groupp. 108
The Gridp. 108
The BEV Seniors groupp. 108
The genius loci of the BEV Seniors groupp. 112
The gridp. 112
The BEV Seniors groupp. 112
The leader of the BEV Seniors groupp. 115
The gridp. 115
The BEV Seniors groupp. 115
7 Networking Families into the Schoolsp. 123
Family involvement in educationp. 126
Designing a technology-rich interventionp. 128
The organizational componentp. 129
The technical componentp. 129
The social componentp. 130
The environmental componentp. 130
Evaluationp. 131
Teaching in the PCF classroomp. 132
Project resultsp. 137
8 Managing the Evolution of a Virtual Schoolp. 143
Context for a virtual schoolp. 143
Early objectivesp. 144
Engaging the schoolsp. 147
Managing the evolutionp. 153
Integrating networking into the community and the schoolsp. 159
Usability concernsp. 163
Assessment and prospectsp. 165
9 Learning and Teaching in a Virtual Schoolp. 171
Technology and educationp. 172
Constructivist theoryp. 174
Constructivist practice: BEV + MCPS = constructivist classroomp. 178
Applying e-mailp. 184
Interactive talkp. 190
Usenet newsgroupsp. 192
The WWWp. 192
Video teleconferencingp. 198
Can my school system do this?p. 199
10 Community Network Technologyp. 201
Basic Internet technologyp. 203
What is the Internet?p. 203
How does the Internet really work?p. 204
The problem of being too successfulp. 206
A concentrated dose of LAN, WAN, and TCP/IP fundamentalsp. 208
Bits and bytes, Kbps and Mbpsp. 208
Internet domain names and addressesp. 209
IP addresses, networks, and routersp. 210
Domain name servicep. 211
TCP/IP and protocol stacksp. 211
SLIP, CSLIP, and PPPp. 212
ISDNp. 214
T1 and DDS leased linesp. 215
Frame relay and SMDSp. 217
Cable modemsp. 219
Digital subscriber linesp. 220
Ethernetp. 221
Token ringp. 233
ATMp. 233
Wireless point-to-point linksp. 234
Application-level protocols: HTTP, Gopher, FTP, SMTP, POP, RFC822, IMAP, LDAP, NNTP, and Telnetp. 236
Bringing the Internet to your townp. 237
Getting an Internet feedp. 238
The access linep. 240
Equipment needed for an Internet leased linep. 241
Where does all this stuff go?p. 243
Local deliveryp. 244
The modem poolp. 244
Data milking machine: modem pool equipmentp. 247
Other modem detailsp. 248
The pros and cons of a modem poolp. 249
High-speed local deliveryp. 250
Local high-speed candidatesp. 251
Local high-speed structure: linked LANsp. 252
Local information superhighway: 10-Mbps Ethernet linksp. 255
Router and bandwidth planningp. 257
Other local high-speed possibilitiesp. 257
Serving the public: required and optional Internet serversp. 259
The most critical service on the Internetp. 260
Other services: the good, the bad, and the uglyp. 260
How much iron do you need?p. 262
The great O/S debatep. 263
Evolution of the Blacksburg town Internetp. 265
Local network access pointp. 267
Fiber on main street: new technology opportunitiesp. 269
What fiber can do, now and in the futurep. 269
Phase 1 Establishing the point of presencep. 270
Phase 2 Bridging to the first few sitesp. 270
Phase 3 Bridging to a group of sites at a distancep. 271
Phase 4 Central routing, more bridgingp. 271
Potential problems: right-of-way, IP address planning, security, non-IP protocolsp. 272
Technology planning summaryp. 274
Servicesp. 274
Providersp. 275
Where to put the equipmentp. 276
Procurement and installationp. 276
Recommended resourcesp. 278
Internet specificsp. 278
LAN technology specificsp. 278
Servers and server applicationsp. 278
General references, indexes, and search toolsp. 278
11 Managing Information in a Community Networkp. 281
Step 1 Focus on good servicep. 282
The BEV officep. 282
Technical supportp. 283
Step 2 Identify project championsp. 285
Step 3 Educate, educate, educatep. 288
Step 4 Foster a rich information spacep. 292
E-mailp. 293
Listservsp. 294
Newsletterp. 297
Usenet newsp. 298
The Webp. 299
Step 5 Deliver the message effectivelyp. 302
Helping contributors get their information onlinep. 304
Choosing the right vehiclep. 307
Step 6 Link the real and virtual communitiesp. 308
Checklist for managing information in a community networkp. 310
12 Building an Online History Databasep. 313
Overviewp. 313
What is history?p. 314
Historical databasesp. 315
System architecturep. 316
The BEV HistoryBasep. 316
Interfacep. 319
Views of the data spacep. 319
Interface walkthroughp. 320
Usagep. 327
Issuesp. 327
Implementationp. 327
Future workp. 331
13 Success Factors of the Blacksburg Electronic Villagep. 335
Education, not technologyp. 336
Show, don't tellp. 339
Find a project evangelistp. 343
The golden age of librariesp. 345
Breadth and depth of content drive usep. 347
Low-cost direct connectionsp. 350
Encourage public/private partnershipsp. 353
Community supportp. 355
Community, not technologyp. 356
14 The Future of Community Networksp. 357
The four key roles of community networksp. 357
Public space in cyberspacep. 358
Education and trainingp. 364
Economic developmentp. 365
Jobs creationp. 365
Internet-ready office spacep. 366
Business management training and developmentp. 367
Telecommunications infrastructure developmentp. 369
Fiberp. 369
Multimedia service access point (MSAP)p. 370
Wireless initiativesp. 371
Four biggest challengesp. 373
Educationp. 373
Infrastructurep. 373
Privacy, security, and contentp. 374
Fundingp. 375
Getting started: a two-page planp. 376
Getting started: a one-page planp. 377
Blacksburg Electronic Villagep. 379
Association for Community Networksp. 379
Communities of the Futurep. 379
The New Democracy Centerp. 379
About the Authorsp. 381
Indexp. 385