Small businesses in Washington now have another way to get advice, make contacts and find reference materials: Ed-Link, a local computer bulletin board.

A joint venture of the Montgomery County High Technology Council and Montgomery College Small Business Development Center, the free bulletin board will list courses offered by colleges in Montgomery County and at small-business development centers in the Washington area.

The network also is set up for on-line discussions in 11 categories that include topics on women business owners, international trade, procurement, marketing, finance, human resource development, starting-up, high technology and general counseling. Users can read on-line discussions or participate by leaving their own messages.

So far, the program is set up in a bare-bones format, but on-line discussions have begun on the main and international trade menus.

Users can access the bulletin board with a personal computer and modem. To sign onto the bulletin board, use a modem to call 301-656-6786. (The modem settings should be 1200-N-8-1.) The bulletin board is similar to many others available to computer users, but it may seem complicated to a novice.

Fill out the brief questionnaire that appears when first signing on, then follow the directions to find the conference areas and where the small-business discussions take place through messages posted in each area. There also are directions for using the system posted in the bulletins area.