The research team conducted a scoping study of open source communities which consisted of four case studies. The case studies were based on perspectives and experience of certain members from these communities.
In each of the chosen case studies for the project, a combination of computer programs, mobile applications, web-based platforms and text based instructions functioned as resources which were then employed for a variety of digital collaborative activities including both creative expression (writing and publishing cross-media content such as augmented reality books – Fake Press || Art is Open Source; doing a networked performance – UpStage || make-shift) as well as sharing of information and knowledge (documentation on using open source software – FLOSS Manuals, communication of farming practices in small-scale agricultural holdings – Sauti ya Wakulima) and allowed the the communities to continue producing new resources and content. The project used an expanded notion of “text” for the combination of such digital resources and their output and in engaging with this model of multi-authored publication, used the term ‘digital manual.’
This page provides details of the four communities that formed the basis of the case studies.
1. FakePress Publishing is an augmented reality publishing project that investigates, develops and creates new publishing models and editorial projects presented by new scenarios in technology, productivity and contemporary culture. FakePress Publishing observes the contemporary situation of current publishing models by producing hybrid media that detaches and rearticulates the traditional book form and explores new spaces for ubiquitous publishing.
2. UpStage is an open source, web-based, platform for cyberformance, enabling remote performers to manipulate digital media in real time for online audiences. Through a series of information toolkits and manuals, players (logged-in performers) can learn how to take part on the stage, create and manage digital media (avatars, backgrounds, audio, props and drawing tools) to devise and present live online performances. The concept for UpStage was developed by the globally dispersed cyberformance troupe Avatar Body Collision (Helen Varley Jamieson, Karla Ptacek, Leena Saarinen and Vicki Smith) and the platform was originally developed by programmer Douglas Bagnall in 2003. UpStage was born from the desire to reach a wider audience and to make it easier for audiences and performers alike to participate in live performance via the internet. Since 2004, more than 100 performances have been created using the UpStage platform.
make-shift is a networked performance about connectivity and consequences, devised and brokered by Helen Varley Jameison and Paula Crutchlow. This cyberformance is one example of how UpStage (in this case used in conjunction with an audio-visual streaming platform) can be used to create live events that are co-authored by participants in real-time.
3. FLOSS Manuals is a collection of manuals about free and open source software together with the tools used to create them and the community that uses those tools. These manuals explain how to install and use a range of free and open source software: how to do things (e.g. design or stay safe online) with open source software and manuals about free culture services that use or support free software and formats. FLOSS Manuals can be viewed as a collaborative publishing platform that enables fluent collaboration with local and remote writers.
4. Sauti ya Wakulima/ “The voice of the farmers” is a collaborative knowledge base created by farmers from the Chambezi region of the Bagamoyo District in Tanzania by gathering audiovisual evidence of their practices using smartphones to publish images and voice recordings on the Internet. The outcome is a networked and hyper-spatial text of the community involved or otherwise, a toolkit (manual) of sustainable local farming practices that can be shared by other similar communities across the world and used as a mutual learning platform.