Welcome to Dickinson's Computer Network

Where to get help

  • If you have a computer question or problem, contact the Library and Information Services Help Desk (x1000) or send an email message to helpdesk@dickinson.edu.
  • Visit the LIS Technology Services home page for a good starting place.
  • Check out the current training schedule here and tutorials here.

Network Anatomy

Attempting to understand the network can be a somewhat confusing and daunting task for new employees, so we'll try to simplify it.  The network is not one physical thing located somewhere specific on campus.  Rather, it is a collection of things scattered at various placed across campus.  Just like our physical brain controls our nervous system and sends signals to other body parts, such as our legs, arms, eyes, ears and fingers, our campus network has a central control point called the backbone.  Without getting into too much tech-talk, the backbone consists of two major pieces of equipment -- a router and a switch. All network components ultimately tie into this backbone, or brain.  Ah, but there's much more!

Fiber optic cable extends underground to key places on campus so that outlying buildings and residence halls can connect to the network.  Now we have wireless which is a whole other topic.

One more thing.  The Internet is that marvelous entity which allows us to send email to each other and friends around the world, as well as browse the world-wide web.  Most people are familiar with the fact that if you want to get connected to the internet from home, you must pay for the service from companies like AOL, Earth Link or Cumberlink, to name a few.  Dickinson is no different.  We, too, have an internet service provider.

Dickinson's Network and You

So how do you fit into this network scheme?  Your desktop PC or Macintosh software has been made ready to utilize the network by configuring the appropriate software.  Sure enough, if you look behind your computer, you will find a cable, which is similar to a telephone cable, running from the CPU (Central Processing Unit) to the wall plate housing your network wiring.

Now, because you have this connection, you can access other machines and services on Dickinson's campus-wide network.  For instance, you can log in to a computer and read email, or you can share a laser printer with others in your office, or you can browse the world-wide web!

  • Electronic mail  (If you would like step-by-step instructions for learning this system, please click here
  • Web pages  All users are invited to set up and maintain a personal web page.  Using an authoring tool, such as the supported Dreamweaver program, you can create and update your web pages for the world to view.  (For more information on publishing web pages at Dickinson, click here.)
  • Contacting the Help Desk If you are experiencing a computer-related problem, you can contact the Library and Information Services Help Desk by email at helpdesk@dickinson.edu or call 717-245-1000.


Another major piece of the Dickinson campus-wide network is the Network, which is really a combination of many computers, servers, printers and cabling.  Every employee having access to a personal computer (Mac or PC) at their desk, has a network connection.  The network allows users to share computer files, such as Microsoft Word or Excel documents, with other colleagues around campus.  Another benefit of the NT network is the ability to share printers in an office or department.

Every user of the network has a network login and network password, which grants them access to use the network.  To avoid adding more confusion, your login name will always be the same for any account at Dickinson College. Normally, most users log into their network accounts when they start their computer at the beginning of each day, then logout of the network when the computer is shut down.

While many accounts utilize the same server, there is little need to be concerned about the confidentiality of your files.  The Dickinson server employs sophisticated security to make sure users are only granted access to those areas they need.  For instance, the ADMIN server contains a folder for each department which utilizes it.  Members of one department cannot get in and open the departmental folder of another.  When a person opens up their office folder, they will see individual folders for each alphabet. Find the letter that starts your username.  Again, while they can see the users in the list, the cannot actually get in and access the folders.  That type of permission is denied to them.  But each departmental folder contains a shared folder, which can be accessed by all within a given department, for the purposes of sharing necessary files.

Example of the Network folder structure at Dickinson College.

The Internet

The Internet is the vast collection of computers around the world which are connected together via some form of communications link (cable, wireless, etc.).  Each one of these computers has a unique internet domain name, or address. Whenever you send email to a colleague at another college or organization, in addition to the user's internet name, you must also supply the unique domain name of the computer where their account resides.  For instance, dickinson.edu is Dickinson's domain name. Using the various communications links between your computer here and their computer there, your email message bounces from computer to computer, taking a particular route to get from Point A to Point B.  If it helps, visualize the internet as a highway system which interconnects computers around the world.

World-Wide Web

Now that we have a vast connection of computers world-wide, how can we share information with one another most efficiently?  Some people use PCs, others use Macs computers.  Each of these platforms works independently of one another yet we can share files and communicate. This is one of the biggest strengths of the web.  Someone can create documents using a Mac, and someone using a PC can instantly read them.  The web breaks the incompatibility barrier! The World-Wide Web is one of the vehicles which travels on the highway system. In other words, it's a service of the internet. 

All employees with a network connection may access the World-Wide Web using browsing software like Microsoft Internet Explorer.  Each employee also has the ability to create their own personal web page. For an overview on creating web pages click here

Moodle - Course Management System

Library and Information Services (LIS) supports the secure learning management system which is Moodle. Click here for Faq's on Moodle at Dickinson.


Last updated on: Monday, November 18, 2013 10:43 AM
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