Catherine focused her presentation on the emerging role of community networks as information service consultants. Many federal and state funded programs are being asked to reexamine the way they deliver services. A great deal of funding challenges exist for job training and employment agencies.
Following are some of Catherine's comments:
The concept we are adopting in Boulder, Colorado is the "one stop shopping concept," a concept that provides a single point of entry for those seeking information, and streamlines the client process.
Our information network represents 16 Boulder County job training and employment agencies. The 16 agencies started working together about a year ago to develop four committees: (1) connectivity, (2) agency content coordination, (3) business community content coordination, (4) end user client. One Stop Career Network (OSCN) was created in order to consolidate information for all agencies into one system and reduce repetition and paperwork. We implemented a "Distributed Information Processing protocol" for Intranet and public access content.
We utilize a software application called DIPP that functions as an information management tool. DIPP is the counter-part of something like Netscape. The program delivers documents from client to the server. DIPP performs conversion, uplinking, processing and takes five minutes rather than 20 hours. DIPP will soon be available in the public domain in the fall.