The Story So Far..[#drumbeat]

November 5th, 2010 § Leave a Comment

It is now Friday morning and the last full day of the Drumbeat Festival and I thought I’d jot down some general impressions so far.

It is certainly unlike any event I have ever been to before; part unconference, part hack day, some elements that feel like a proto-music festival or rave with just a touch of academic conference. If I’m honest it took me a little time to embrace the chaos but I’m glad I did.

The venue(s) set the scene – MACBA and FAD are not your usual venues and the public square between them has been invaded by marquees and buses (when they aren’t being towed by the policia).

The wifi is amazing – I’m hoping to speak to the guys who are managing that at some point as the connectivity at an event like this must be a nightmare to manage.

The ‘science fair’ on Wednesday evening was a great opportunity to meet friends old and new though the acoustics were a disaster so I couldn’t hear the great Joi Ito talk which was a shame.

I’ve blogged about sessions elsewhere and will also write a post about yesterdays closing talks which were great.

I’ve met people from Jordan, Australia, Norway, Germany, Canada, USA, Spain and Bristol :) so far and have been amazed by the commitment and talent of so many people (and the age – my god I feel old here).

I’m going to try and step out of my comfort zone a bit today and try some other sessions – I also have a hit list of people I still want to meet before tomorrow.

Right back to business…

Building an International School of Copyright and Creative Commons with P2PU

November 4th, 2010 § Leave a Comment

At the moment there is a P2PU course called Copyright for Educators running in the US, South Africa and Oz and this session was about identifying ways of taking that course to the wider community considering all the differences from one jurisdiction to another.

Currently the course is based around 3 case studies taken over 6 weeks with peer support and expert facilitation aiming to give people confidence in what they CAN do rather than worrying about what they CANNOT. The challenge is going to be creating a way that the use cases are generic enough to be reused from jurisdiction to jurisdiction to act as template with local specialist solutions to generic issues.

The group I was listening in on included the CC leads for Columbia and Catalan as well as an American living in Berlin, a law lecturer from the Us and a Norweigan so it was a group with an educated and interesting perspective.

Some of the recommendations that came out of the group were;

1. Partner with existing organizations – target library schools and courses that generate new content

2. Break the courses into modules that are a little more bite sized and also discreet. You should be able to pick whichever element you are interested in regardless of whether you have contributed to the previous aspects of the course.

3. Examine and explore the local attitudes and social norms around sharing. Don’t just assume they buy into the same concepts as you.

4. Two resources that could be very helpful are the CC Jurisdiction database – that allows you to compare and contrast licenses and see how they evolved and why changes were made.

5. Work on generic language in the case studies that can if need be be swapped out for local examples (i.e. BBC in UK could be CBC in Canada or PBS in the US maybe)

6. There needs to be an acknowledgment that producing the course and ‘teaching’ the course require different skills and it doesn’t need to be the same person.

I found it a very interesting conversation – during my work with JISC around OER issues about copyright and CC were constant and education in this area is vital – particularly for librarians I think. They are going to be vital in the open education arena I think but often seem to be hung up on incorrect ideas about copyright that leads to hugely risk averse decisions. I would be remiss if I didn’t point to 2 JISC resources here;

Open Discovery at the Open Content Studio [#drumbeat]

November 4th, 2010 § Leave a Comment

After the inspiring opening keynotes and a bit of shuffling around and organizing of rooms I found myself in the Open Content studio hidden away around the back of MACBA.

The advertised Open Textbook hacking didn’t really materialise – instead there was a conversation about OER/OCW findability with representatives of Creative Commons, OCWC, Connexions and both academics and developers.

This is a topic I’m pretty familiar with and e discussions had a familiar feel about them. The push for a more structured approach to metadata – essentially looking to the Linked Data movement for guidance (and the dreaded semantic web term was dropped..). This approach tends to fit more into the ‘big oer’ idea as Martin Weller talks about it and I do wonder if it is a realistic aim sometimes.

That said Clay from OCWC made a very interesting comment about in some ways getting people to technically mark up their open content more precisely with metadata was similar to the early days of convincing people of the need to write technically accessible code for screen readers and the like. In the end it wasn’t so much altruism that led to that becoming common but rather the acknowledgment of the side benefits like better Google ranking :) . If those sorts of benefits can be identified for OER metadata then it is more likely to gain currency.

There was also some discussion of the NCSL Learning Registry project in the US and the fact that they are looking at usage data to try and build intelligent recommender systems (as it happens this is the approach I am interested in..). This led to conversations about Amazon and the fact that while they have useful recommender systems they are also able to enforce detailed metadata per item which makes it a bit easier.

All in all it was another interesting conversation about a major issue facing OER – I’m not sure the answers are going to come out of this festival but we are creeping closer all the time..

[ORGCon] James Boyle: The Incredible Shrinking Public Domain

August 11th, 2010 § Leave a Comment

I have raved on about this talk a couple of times already on this blog – it is a full hour but more than worth taking the time. Have re-watched it I stand by my opinion that it is the best plenary talk I have attended.

A ‘Data Driven’ Bathcamp

March 23rd, 2010 § Leave a Comment

So I have volunteered (read been roped in by Mike) to curate the upcoming Bathcamp evening. For reasons I am not quite sure about given my own leanings away from the topic I decided to try and put on an evening based around the idea of a ‘Web of Data’.

Thankfully my Twitter stream has a number of experts in this area and a few of them are locals so I was able to get a couple of great speakers lined up quite quickly and am hoping to confirm at least one more in the near future. I’d really like to get someone from a more mash-up sensibility to come along – and would especially love someone from Bristol Streets to speak – I’ve emailed via the contact form but if anyone knows anyone involved give me a shout.

**Updated 24/3/2010 12:18 – Toby Lewis the guy behind Bristol Streets got in touch and has agreed to speak at the event. Really pleased.**

The following is my blurb to publicise the evening – I’m also going to take the opportunity to pimp the recent JISC Linked Data report that Paul Miller wrote and the JISC Expo call as well.


Back in 2006 (was it really that ago!) Tom Coates, ex of Up My Street, the BBC and more recently of Fire Eagle and Yahoo, gave a presentation at a handful of events called ‘Native to a Web of Data‘ that seemed to show a way to bridge the gap between the distinct worlds of the Social and Semantic Web(s).

Now in 2010 this is rapidly becoming the reality of the web and the rise of things like the open data movement in the public sector and the availability of location data due to ever ‘smarter’ phones is only fueling this change.

Tonight’s speakers are working to make this Web of Data a reality:

Leigh Dodds – Leigh was the CTO of Ingenta where he was responsible for the ongoing development of their publishing platform based on Semantic Web technologies. Leigh is now at Talis as Programme Manager for the Talis Platform.

Leigh has been developing with Java, XML, and Semantic Web technologies for a number of years and has released several small open source applications and APIs. He has also contributed code and documentation to several open source projects.

Libby Miller – Libby was co-creator of the FOAF project, and has worked on Semantic Web query languages, prototypes and data modelling. She helped build the Semantic Web and FOAF communities through formal and informal means, including via an EU project, which she co-wrote and co-ran.

Recently she worked for the online TV startup Joost and is now working on the pan-European project NoTube which is using semantic technologies, for personalised creation, distribution and consumption of TV content.

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