Community Learning Space

The infraNET Distinquished Speaker Seminar Series

The Next Generation of Community Networks

Don Cowan and Colin Mayfield

University of Waterloo

Thursday, February 26, 1998
2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Davis Centre, Room 1302
University of Waterloo


Community information covers a wide range of sources, and serves many users, encompassing government, health and public safety organizations, businesses of all types, service organizations, tourist attractions, historical societies, and the general public. Communities are repositories of large amounts of heterogeneous information, which need to be searched, read, explored, acted upon, updated, and which offer opportunities for collaboration and other forms of two-way and group communication. The World-Wide Web, in conjunction with interactive map interfaces and database systems, are suitable technologies for building a community network to exploit this information. We will describe prototype systems that have been created within local companies and the University of Waterloo to support community networks, including one in the Waterloo area.

Organizing information for a community has substantial impact on the way we create and manage the underlying databases. In order for the community network to prosper, community members and local businesses must be actively involved in the acquisition and maintenance of community information. We will explore this new model of community networking, describe our experience with community networking in the Waterloo area, and indicate potential new business opportunities.


Don Cowan is a Professor Emeritus, Computer Science, University of Waterloo. He is also the Director of the Computer Systems Group. Colin Mayfield is a Professor in the Biology Department at the University of Waterloo. As well, he is Assistant Director of Information Technology for the United Nations University.

For more information

Shirley Fenton
The infraNET Project
Computer Systems Group, University of Waterloo
(519) 888-4074