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Doilies and Networks? November 4, 2010

Filed under: Information Technology — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 4:05 am

What do a crocheted lace doily and a computer network have in common?  More than one would think.  Bradley uses this analogy to describe networking in a very unique way.  I’m a crocheter and know how each little hook and turn relates to the whole.  A little short cut here or there, can change the whole look of this work of art.  As she points out, each new loop is a computer being added to the network.  They are all connected together by the continual piece of yarn or thread, much like teletechnology connects computers together through wired and wireless networks.

Not only is the example of the crocheted lace doily used, but a visual variation is used to prove a different type of point.  When one works a circular crocheted doily, all the threads build off the initial 5 or 6 loops.  Then, there are patterns that are individual circles or squares, which end up being connected to another piece the same/like size.  (p. 75)

Again, I use my experience with work.  Up until a few years ago, my department was decentralized within the overall networking system of RPI.   We were networked within our own office, but not entirely networked with the main system.  We didn’t have the ability within the network to interact with another department.  Yet, overall, like the connections of the doilies, the networks were indirectly tied through an overall main system.  A few years ago, we became network centralized.  Now I can log in to any computer on campus and access my entire file system.  I can print from one computer to a printer that is located 8 blocks away.

Within our network, we have layers.  Our individual layers where documents can only be accessed by one individual.  There are departmental layers where information can be accessed by anyone within the department on shared drives.  There can also be inter-department shared drives where groups of people can access documents and data while within the network.


Bradley, Gunilla.  Social and Community Informatics  Humans on the Net.  New York:  Routledge


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