What is in this FAQ?

This document answers some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about how the Seattle Community Network's volunteer "Mentors" help our Information Providers.

What is a Mentor?

A Mentor is an SCN volunteer who helps local community groups put information on the Internet, on SCN's servers.

What is an Information Provider (IP)?

An IP is a representative of an organization that publishes material on the Internet via SCN.

How does an IP put material on an SCN Web page?

SCN gives each IP's user account expanded access to the SCN host. This lets the IP work with files in the UNIX shell. IPs who are unfamiliar with UNIX can use set of IP Menus that include a subset of UNIX commands. SCN can grant Information Provider access to an existing user account if necessary, but it's better to set up a new SCN account in the name of the organization.

Information Provider accounts can use FTP. This lets an Information Provider with a connection through a commercial Internet provider upload files from a PC directly to the IP's Web directory. This is much easier than using the IP Menus on SCN's system. Most people prefer to create and edit files offline, using familiar Windows or Mac tools, and then upload the finished files this way.

IPs without any other Web access can still create and edit Web files using SCN's IP Menus, but this is slower and more cumbersome than uploading files with FTP.

What else can an IP do, besides having a Web page?

An IP might want to start a mailing list (available to the entire Internet), or possibly a local SCN Usenet newsgroup. See SCN Mailing Lists and How to Publish Your Information on SCN.

Does every IP need a Mentor?

Not really. Some IPs are more knowledgeable about the Internet than the typical SCN Mentor. A number of IPs have created good Web sites with no, or only a little, initial assistance from SCN.

What does a Mentor need to know?

A Mentor needs to know SCN policies and procedures, HTML, how to use basic UNIX commands, and how to use the SCN IP Menus.

What are the SCN policies and procedures for mentoring an IP?

Mentors should be familiar with the SCN policy statement that is included with SCN's account registration package, the SCN Volunteer Agreement and the SCN Information Provider Agreement. Mentors should remain in close communication with SCN's IP Coordinator.

  1. Get a regular user account, and fill out and sign a (paper) form for the Volunteer Coordinator.
  2. Fill out the online Information Provider registration form to request Information Provider privileges and a Web directory on SCN.

What is HTML and how do I learn it?

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is not as intimidating as it may sound. HTML simply uses some words and abbreviations to identify which parts of the text should be presented in some special way (for example, as links to jump to another document). These instructions are called "tags" and are enclosed in brackets.

Here is an example:
This line contains <b>bold</b> and <i>italic</i> text.

The output as viewed in an HTML "browser" looks like:
This line contains bold and italic text.

This becomes a complete HTML document when you add a few other standard HTML tags for headings and paragraphs and so forth.

<title>Seattle Hula Hoop Museum</title>
<h2>Welcome to the Seattle Hula Hoop Museum</h2>
This line contains <b>bold</b> and <i>italic</i> text.
This is a new paragraph.
This is another paragraph.

Where can I learn more about HTML?

These sites contain information about using HTML:

For more help, tutorials and tools that you can use to create HTML files and check your HTML coding, see our Web Design & Reference page. You can also look for books about learning HTML at your local public library.

What are the SCN IP Menus, and what do I have to know about UNIX?

The IP Menus are like a command-line UNIX shell except that the user is offered limited menus of commands and is prompted for command parameters.

UNIXHelp for Users and UNIX Tutorial for Beginners are online introductions to UNIX.

Here is a sample IP menu:

                        <<< IP File Menu >>>

 Directories:                           Files:

 web     Go to IP Web directory         copy    Copy a file
 work    Go to work directory           move    Move or rename a file
                                        delete  Delete a file
 cd      Change to a different dir
 pwd     What is current directory?     copyweb Copy file to Web directory
                                        moveweb Move file to Web directory
 list    List files in current dir
 dir     Details of files in dir        show    Display a file
                                        diff    Show differences between files
 mkdir   Make a new directory           search  Find a phrase in files
 rmdir   Delete a directory             sort    Sort file lines alphabetically
 chmod   Change file/dir permissions
 chgrp   Change file/dir group owner    e       Edit a file

 menu2   IP File Menu 2                 lynx    Use Lynx browser to view files
 xfer    IP File Transfer Menu          html    Convert a text file to HTML

top=Main IP File Menu, p=previous menu, x=Exit IP File Menu
Select choice [or top, p, x]:
March 24th, 2003 -