A network includes digital computers, resources such as disk drives, printers and modems or disk files, file records or tasks, and a communications channel permitting data transfer between each digital computer and the resources. The function of mediating conflicting demands for network resources is distributed among the digital computers. A file server or other storage device connected to the communications channel contains an access log. Each digital computer accesses a required resource by first recording an entry in the access log identifying the required resource and then scanning the access log to locate any conflicting entry identifying the same resource. The access procedure is terminated if the conflicting entry is located and the recorded entry is then deleted. The digital computer otherwise accesses the required resource and deletes the recorded entry once use of the resource has terminated. Access to resources is restricted according to priority levels assigned to the various computers and by a virtual use log within the access log. A system operator can create records in the virtual use log indicating a non-existent use of network resources. Depending upon its assigned priority, each computer may scan portions of the virtual use log and locate conflicting entries which effectively prohibit the computer from accessing the identified resource.